With a Nixonesque sense of paranoia and vendetta, the Bush dominatrixes never seem to worry about the nefarious activity itself - from shoplifting to gathering data on all Americans' phone records. They just resent it when the nefarious activity is revealed.
There's the naked truth: W's administration in a nutshell. Even though we're still very far from having the previous illegal wiretapping surveillance allegations explained and justified (and indeed, the administration stonewalling seems to have succeeded in waiting out the public outrage, thus avoiding criminal trials), it now appears that, if anything, the whistle blowers were grossly understating the violation of the body politic. The heat of the threatened investigations apparently didn't amount to shit to this administration, as they've tempered themselves exactly not at all in the face of stern public criticism and concern. Once again we are treated to assurances that sound at this stage like outright lies, because most of them in the past have been--how "very targeted, very specific," in NSA chief Michael V. Hayden's term, can the collection of data about tens of millions of domestic calls and emails be?
I don't doubt now that heads will roll--not for illegal activity, but for somebody in the smoke-filled room letting the cat out of the bag. Someone's about to lose their tee time and preferred parking spot.
And again to those who are happy to wave W's "national security" white flag in the face of their retreating civil liberties, I suggest that the program and its scope should, like everything else in a government with a balance of powers, be under SOMEONE'S scrutiny, someone other than the one-person rule of our current autarch. A responsible government would have looked into the legality and public perception of a groundbreaking public surveillance program and sought to change the laws if necessary. This is how the public governs itself. At the very least, there should have been independent Justice Department approval (to the extent that any piece of the apparatus remains independent amid the epidemic of corruption and cronyism that is sweeping our government), if not a congressional discussion--behind closed doors, if necessary--about exactly how deeply into our private lives the government tentacles should be allowed to penetrate.
So, how about such a Justice Department investigation?
From the NYT:
WASHINGTON, May 10 — An investigation by the Justice Department ethics office into the conduct of department lawyers who approved the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program has been closed because investigators were denied security clearances, according to a letter sent to Congress on Wednesday.
The head of the department's Office of Professional Responsibility, H. Marshall Jarrett, wrote in the letter to Representative Maurice D. Hinchey, Democrat of New York, that "we have been unable to make meaningful progress in our investigation because O.P.R. has been denied security clearances for access to information about the N.S.A. program."
Mr. Jarrett said his office had requested clearances since January, when it began an investigation, and was told on Tuesday that they had been denied. "Without these clearances, we cannot investigate this matter and therefore have closed our investigation," the letter said.
Mr. Hinchey said the denial of clearances was "hard to believe" and compounded what he called a violation of the law by the program itself, which eavesdrops without court warrants on people in the United States suspected of ties to Al Qaeda.
Brian Roehrkasse, a Justice Department spokesman, said that the N.S.A. program was "highly classified and exceptionally sensitive" and that "only those involved in national security with a specific need to know are provided details about this classified program." He said the legality of the eavesdropping program had been reviewed by other Justice Department offices and by the N.S.A. inspector general.
Are we really to believe that no one in the Justice Department can handle information about national security? In our own Justice Department?