Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Bipartisan Group Slams NSA Wiretaps

By Cernig

Here's something that's sure to set the cat among the pigeons. A bipartisan group including several prominent conservatives has issued a report calling Bush's warrantless surveillance program illegal.

The Liberty and Security Committee of the Constitution Project said in a statement that the U.S. Congress should finish its probe into the warrantless surveillance program before it heeds the urging of the Bush administration to beef up laws on electronic surveillance.

Those signing the statement included: David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union; Walter Cronkite, former managing editor of CBS Evening News; former Rep. Mickey Edwards, R-Okla., the [former] chairman of the Republican Party Policy Committee; Harold Koh, dean of Yale Law School; and William S. Sessions, former FBI director under Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton.

"The NSA's warrantless surveillance program has stood for too long as an affront to America's rule of law," said Keene, a co-chair of the Constitution Project's Liberty and Security Committee. "The American people deserve to know why and to what extent the NSA has been tapping Americans' phones without a warrant."

The committee said the administration's surveillance program "upends separate, balanced powers by thwarting the will of Congress and preventing any opportunity for judicial review.

"Congress should be applauded for taking steps to uncover the truth about the spying program," said Sharon Bradford Franklin, senior counsel at the Constitution Project. "Congress must complete its investigation before considering any changes to the law governing electronic surveillance."
That's one impressive set of Republican credentials speaking out against the NSA program. I wonder if the 26%ers will now decry them all as "defeatocrats" who want to make America less safe - or whether they'll finally wake up and smell the loss of freedom.

If so, they're going to have difficulty. Cronkite and Sessions' records speak for themselves. But Mickey Edwards is no beginner and no wet RINO. He was one of the founders of the neoconservative Heritage Foundation among many other achievements. David Keene, among his other positions, is a director of the National Rifle association.