Saturday, February 23, 2008

White House spins itself silly on FISA

By Libby

The WaPo and Newsweek are both promoting the latest White House propaganda on the expiration of the FISA 'fix.' DNI Mike McConnell and Attorney General Michael Mukasey are browbeating Congress and bleating about how the Democrats irresponsibly let the current temporary 'fix' lapse without rubberstamping the administration's preferred criminal cover-up, otherwise known as telecom immunity. They sent a handwringing letter crying over the telecoms reluctance to continue cooperating with the program. Of course, by the time the letter reached the press, the telecoms agreed to keep playing for pay. I don't want to think about what the White House promised them in return.

In terms of silly spin, this is the top ten. Maybe they forgot the reason the atrocious 'fix' expired in the first place was the work of Bush and GOP for purely political reasons. Glenn Greenwald reminds them.
McConnell acknowledged last week that the White House's refusal to extend the wiretapping law was meant to pressure Congress to pass the Senate bill.
So much for putting national security ahead of CYA politics. Even more amusing, since the White House spin has been that the telecoms did nothing illegal and they're just trying to protect the hapless corporations from bankruptcy via frivolous lawsuits, is this admission from the letter.
You imply that the emergency authorization process under FISA is an adequate substitute for the legislative authorities that have elapsed. This assertion reflects a basic misunderstanding about FISA's emergency authorization provisions. Specifically, you assert that the National Security Agency (NSA) or Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) "may begin surveillance immediately" in an emergency situation. FISA requires far more, and it would be illegal to proceed as you suggest.
Sounds like a defacto confession of guilt to me. Which makes the lawsuits pretty damn relevant in uncovering the White House's criminality. I guess doublespeak even makes its best practitioners dizzy after a while. I don't know how it can get much sillier than this latest salvo.

On the plus side, it provides great fodder for creative YouTubes encouraging the Democrats to stand their ground and save the constitution. Meanwhile, if you lack the time and equipment to say it with pictures, here's this week's 30 second point and click activism. Sign the latest petition to stop telecom immunity.

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