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Roberts: Investigate leakers, not wiretappers

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Sen. Pat Roberts on Thursday struck a deal for Congress to have more oversight over the Bush Administration's warrantless wiretapping program - but headed off a potential investigation into the matter. And in the meantime, he wants to put stops to the types of leaks that made the program public.[The New York Times][1] reports: _Meanwhile, in the Senate, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas, said the White House had agreed in principle to negotiate on legislation that would give Congress authority to oversee the eavesdropping.Mr. Roberts used the deal to push off a vote on a plan by Democrats to conduct a full-scale investigation of the program. The senior Democrat on the panel, Senator John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, emerged from a closed-door committee meeting fuming and accused Republicans of caving to White House pressure.In a sign of the bitter partisan split the potential inquiry has engendered, the Senate panel met behind closed doors for nearly two hours before voting, along party lines, simply to adjourn. Mr. Roberts said that if there was no detailed agreement with the White House by the time of the next committee meeting, on March 7, the panel could take up the issue of an inquiry then."The administration is now committed to legislation and has agreed to brief more Intelligence Committee members on the nature of the surveillance program," Mr. Roberts said, adding that "the administration has come a long way in the last month."Mr. Roberts and other Republicans say they are wary of an investigation into the secret program because providing information to Congress might result in leaks. But Democrats say there is no way to pass legislation involving the program until they have more information about it._This wouldn't be creating headlines, of course, if the New York Times hadn't revealed the program. Roberts is working to ensure that doesn't happen again.[The Washington Post][2] reports: _The chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence said yesterday that he may add language to the fiscal 2007 intelligence authorization bill to criminalize the leaking of a wider range of classified information than is now covered by law. He indicated the new measure would be similar to legislation vetoed by President Bill Clinton more than five years ago.The statement by Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) comes as Bush administration is campaigning against leaks and focusing on the people who receive and distribute them, including journalists."I've often said a leak is not a leak in Washington until somebody gets wet, but we're all in the swimming pool," Roberts said. Recalling the legislation Clinton vetoed, Roberts said, "Whether it's a reporter or just any individual or somebody by the water cooler who's upset or somebody who has just a very strong difference of opinion knowingly reveals classified information, that would be a felony."_Other links today:Sam Brownback links[(PBS NewsHour) Calls Fort Action in Darfur:][3] SEN. SAM BROWNBACK: It means people are dying. It means the genocide continues. It means that there's been inadequate international force in place to be able to stop the people from being slaughtered by the Janjaweed, by militia being supported by the government in Sudan. It means that we have got a bad situation and it has not stabilized and we need to do more to be able to stop the carnage from taking place.[(UPI) Experts: China, Russia won't help on Iran:][4] As the U.S. pushes the issue of Iranian nuclear capabilities to the U.N. Security Council, the chance of obtaining meaningful resolutions has grown increasingly reliant on the actions of Russia and China. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., framed the international debate over Iran's nuclear program as a "defense of freedom" in which China and Russia were sending the wrong signals. Brownback said Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent meeting with leaders of Hamas, coupled with China's "economic outreach without concern for human rights," were reasons for U.S. concern. He said it was important the U.S. remain "clear-eyed" when facing the world's "disturbing reincarnations of dictatorships, socialism and nationalism."How to contact As always, you can find information to contact members of the Kansas congressional delegation [here.][5] [1]: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/17/politics/17nsa.html?_r=1&oref=slogin [2]: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/16/AR2006021602186.html [3]: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/africa/jan-june06/darfur_2-16.html [4]: http://www.upi.com/InternationalIntelligence/view.php?StoryID=20060216-043033-8406r [5]: http://ljworld.com/extra/where_to_write.html#fed

Comments

Jamesaust 8 years, 10 months ago

The White House was able to persuade (threaten?) wayward Senate GOP Intelligence Committee members with a promise to consult more widely in the future and an effort "to fix" (a/k/a, legalize the illegality)

Meanwhile, the House Intelligence Committee agreed to begin their own hearings but already Republicans are fighting among themselves. The subcommitte chairwoman that oversees the NSA part of intelligence wants wider hearings while the committee chairman wants limited hearings.

That these Intelligence Committees have decended into partisan voting is a worrisome sign. Traditionally, members have been selected in part on their ability to work with others. That may change, however, based on four scenarios: (a) GOP leaders find themselves unsatisfied with the promise of wider consultation, (b) an attempt to legalize the NSA wiretaps via amendment to FISA is made without Congressional oversight - something that would be virtually guaranteed a Democrat filibuster in the Senate, (c) Democrats capture either house of Congress this November, (d) further revelations about "the other" spying program that the Attorney General cryptically went to some pains to distinguish from the one leaked.

Kookamooka 8 years, 10 months ago

Are they CRAZY?! Kill the messenger and let the criminals go free! FIGURES!

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