Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I told you so, Chapter Five

On February 25, Obama's Justice Department defended the constitutionality of the law providing retroactive immunity to the telcoms that engaged in illegal wiretapping in conjunction with the Bush administration. It comes in response to a suit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation arguing the telcom immunity law passed by Congress was unconstitutional.

The language used by the Obama team in its filing was chillingly familiar:
"Electronic communication service providers play an important role in assisting intelligence officials in national security activities. Indeed, the intelligence community cannot obtain the intelligence it needs without assistance from these companies," the Administration's 18-page brief says.

"The committee was concerned that, without retroactive immunity, the private sector might be unwilling to cooperate with lawful government requests in the future without unnecessary court involvement and protracted litigation," it adds.

It continues: "The possible reduction in intelligence that might result from this delay is simply unacceptable for the safety of our nation," directly citing the 2008 findings of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report.
Those are precisely the same arguments, almost even the same words, that the Shrub gang used in trying to get the suit dismissed in order to cover up its criminality, a cover-up the Obama administration seems more than ready to continue.

There are also a couple of arguments that should leave people with common sense just blinking in disbelief:
The constitutionality of the law is defended on the grounds that the attorney general is only carrying out powers specifically given to him by Congress.
So it's okay to actively seek to conceal government criminality if Congress says to? What?
"Congress provided the Attorney General an intelligible principle by enumerating specific and narrow circumstances in Section 802 [of the Patriot Act] that control whether and when he may make a certification," it continues. "The Act permits the Attorney General to certify facts to the court only when there is a pending civil action in which a person is alleged to have 'provid[ed] assistance to an element of the intelligence community.'"
Which means, if it means anything, that the law covers those occasions the law is intended to cover and does not cover those occasions it is not intended to cover - and that very "narrowness" makes it valid. I can only assume that if Congress passed a law giving the AttGen power to imprison people without trial but limited it to people who had publicly protested US foreign policy it would also be regarded as passing Constitutional muster by this crowd.

This case, like the Al-Haramain one, is being heard by District Court Judge Vaughn Walker.

No comments:

// I Support The Occupy Movement : banner and script by @jeffcouturer / (v1.2) document.write('
I support the OCCUPY movement
');function occupySwap(whichState){if(whichState==1){document.getElementById('occupyimg').src=""}else{document.getElementById('occupyimg').src=""}} document.write('');