Friday, July 14, 2006

Is Arlen Specter an agent of Satan?

Yesterday the senior U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania announced a new "compromise" with the White House on domestic spying. What did Arlen Specter, that wily negotiator, get the White House to agree to? Well, the Executive branch agreed to submit requests to spy on Americans to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court when it felt like it. Make no mistake, the White House only agreed to this "compromise" because it included a provision for bypassing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court at the discretion of the National Security Agency.

Right now, we have a law on the books (the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [FISA]) that requires ANY AND ALL domestic spying to be approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. So what the esteemed senator from Pennsylvania has negotiated is legislation that amounts to a repeal of some the (admittedly piss-poor) protections in FISA, and he is describing this as something that improves the protection of our civil liberties.

I suppose that someone whose first great career milestone was serving as counsel to the Warren Commission should not have been expected to actually develop a conscience as he got older. And I am sure that Specter sees himself as a great compromiser. The truth is, however, that he is a great stooge.

You can read a realistic description of this legislation in The Guardian. I haven't seen much skepticism about this bill in the mainstream American media.

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