The Talking Dog

June 28, 2007, Trust but verify under oath

"Trust us" has long been the Bush Administration's official mantra, on everything from its miserable failures associated with national security on and before September 11th, to its (entirely bogus) contentions of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction and links to al Qaeda, to its contention that the National Security Agency's outrageously illegal and unconstitutional wire-tapping and other electronic eavesdropoping of innocent American citizens was somehow "only involving terrorists". One of the reasons so many people like me got off our duffs to give money and provide whatever support was necessary to put Democrats in the majority was to finally get some Congressional oversight over an Executive that clearly did not give a crap about the truth, democracy, the Constitution, checks and balances, or much else besides tax cuts for the super-rich and advancing its own aims for dictatorial power.

Hence, it is refreshing to see that the Senate Judiciary Committe led by the fearless Pat Leahy of Vermont has issued subpoenas for various officials concerning the NSA wire-tap program, including subpoenas directed to the White House and the Vice-President's office (whichever branch of government... or of the time-space continuum... it happens to occupy). After months (if not years) of stonewalling on this, and after the dramatic testimony of James Comey concerning the great hospital room scene in which Ashcroft refused to sign off on aspects of the program... the Committe, including three Republicans, voted to issue the subpoenas.

The White House is expected to continue to stonewall, and we'll see what happens. The usual cries (as in by an infant) of the White House of "partisanship" have been raised:

The White House, the vice president’s office and the Justice Department declined Wednesday to say how they would respond to the subpoenas.

“We’re aware of the committee’s action and will respond appropriately,” said Tony Fratto, White House deputy press secretary.

“It’s unfortunate that Congressional Democrats continue to choose the route of confrontation,” Mr. Fratto added.

Let's just say that this sort of kvetching by an Administration with approval ratings approaching those of the Atlanta TB guy... just won't resonate with anyone other than whorish Washington press corps members. As usual... that may be enough... we will see, we will see.

For today at least, while it seems a little disturbing that we have to give kudos to the Senate Judiciary Committee for doing its damned job, Senator Leahy deserves to know that we have his back. Crazy times, boys and girls. But once again, it seems, 9-11 changed everything, and we do mean everything.