Thursday, May 18, 2006

brief encounter

The White House and its Puppet Senator, Pat Roberts (R-KS), are making a big show of their sudden decision to brief all members of both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees (something they have always been required to do by law, but who’s going to let a silly little thing like a law gum-up the works?) on the NSA phone and data surveillance program that, of course, they can’t confirm or deny (though blabbermouth traitors like President Bush and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) have confirmed it).

Woohoo! Break out the bubbly. In order to insure a smooth confirmation for Michael Hayden, the administration caves to bipartisan congressional pressure, right?

Wrong. It occurred to me the minute I heard about this, and after surfing through a few reports, I have found complete confirmation of my suspicions:

Republican lawmakers cited ancillary benefits to the expanded briefings. The White House had previously expressed concerns that details of the program might leak out if more lawmakers were briefed on it. But senior congressional aides said that because of the rules of handling classified information, members who are briefed will likely have to be more circumspect in their public discussions of it, blunting their ability to criticize it. The aides spoke on condition of anonymity, citing a lack of authority to address the press.

"When they know about it, they are obligated to be quiet," said one senior Republican Senate aide.

I can’t put it any more simply—thank you “Republican Senate aide.”

It will smooth confirmation, all right, but not by encouraging Senate-White House cooperation. The administration is out to silence critics and thwart oversight. . . again.

Though, I must admit, I don’t know why the White House goes to so much trouble trying to avoid coming forward with the truth. Why not just make it legal to lie? Oh, they already did.


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