Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Time to Call Bush before Senate Judiciary Committee

If Senator Arlen Specter has any cohones as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the next person he will call to testify is the President of the United States. In testimony earlier today U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said President Bush personally blocked Justice Department lawyers from pursuing an internal probe of the warrantless eavesdropping program that monitors Americans' international calls and e-mails when terrorism is suspected.

The Judiciary Committee is exploring the legal justification of this program and specifically wanted the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility to weigh in on the matter. President Bush put an end to that effort when he ordered OPR lawyers not be given the necessary security clearance to do their job.

This means the President can avoid a review of one of his signature strategies by not giving security clearances to inspectors. His act is at least twisted and a major conflict of interest at the worst. It qualifies as an ethical breach when the President gave numerous clearances for those tracking down the “leakers” who revealed the program’s existence.

Bush should be made to answer before Congress for his acts. Congress does not serve at the pleasure of the President. The Executive Branch is accountable to Congress on many fronts. It is time to send reinforce that message loud and clear. Call him to explain his actions, but don’t serve any buttered rolls and have the microphone on tape delay so any curse words can be edited out. It wouldn’t do for C-SPAN to get one of the first indecency fines!

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