Monday, October 22, 2007

just say "no [WAY!]" to retroactive telecom-immunity in FISA-reform bills. . .

both senators leahy, and specter
are saying "no" -- especially given the
underhanded way it was pitched by white house
spokesperson donna perino, today -- she said that
the white house would comply with four months'
old subpoenas, and honor a written obligation
made by fred fielding (for delivery, today),
only after retroactive wiretap and surveillance
immunity for the telecoms had been assured.

where i come from that is called welshing.

and i don't like it. nor do leahy and specter.

full-text of their letter here:

October 22, 2007

Mr. Fred Fielding
Counsel to the President
Office of the Counsel to the President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20530

Dear Mr. Fielding:

Since the existence of the President’s secret wiretapping program became public in December 2005, the Judiciary Committee has been seeking information on the legal justifications for conducting such surveillance outside the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. We have done so through oral and written requests and by conducting oversight hearings. Former Attorney General Gonzales was asked about these matters. The lack of satisfaction with his responses led to further investigations, including the ongoing probe by the Justice Department’s Inspector General. In light of the Administration’s failure to respond fully, the Committee was prepared in November 2006 to consider subpoenas to telecommunication companies. Those subpoenas were not issued at that time, however.

After our repeated requests did not yield the information the Committee requested, the Committee proceeded in June to authorize subpoenas for documents related to the legal justification for the Administration’s warrantless wiretapping program and to serve those subpoenas upon the Administration.

You have now had more than ample time to collect and process the relevant documents. Responsive information to those subpoenas is long overdue. You have made commitments to provide responsive information over the last several months and even recently, but no such information has yet been provided.

Instead, we read that a White House spokesperson has now conditioned the production of information on prior Senate agreement to provide retroactive immunity from liability for communications carriers. That is unacceptable and would turn the legislative process upside down. If the Administration wants our support for immunity, it should comply with the subpoenas, provide the information, and justify its request. As we have both said, it is wrongheaded to ask Senators to consider immunity without their being informed about the legal justifications purportedly excusing the conduct being immunized. Although the two of us have been briefed on certain aspects of the President’s program, this cannot substitute for access to the documents and legal analysis needed to inform the legislative decisions of the Committee as a whole.

By letter dated October 5, 2007, your office committed to assembling the documents responsive to our subpoenas by today’s date. We expect the commitments of your office to take priority over any White House comments to the media. Accordingly, we urge your compliance with the Committee subpoenas and other information requests without further delay. We can discuss precise arrangements for the production of and access to the documents, but they should be provided in a manner that permits them to be reviewed and considered by all Members of the Committee and appropriate Committee staff.



Liberality said...

so why would they turn over those documents? they are not going to be in any trouble for not doing so. they have not been jailed or fined or anything. they expose our system for what it is: BROKEN BEYOND REPAIR!

if they won't produce the documents (and so far it sure looks like they haven't) and there are no REAL consequences for not following the law, why should they care that these two senators send them a nasty gram? they probably laughed at it and threw it in the trash. face it, our system is broke! we need to do what the founding fathers suggested we do when and if they government no longer follows the will of the people being governed. you know what these founders recommended right?

nolo said...

i do, indeed, lib.

and i think, before we start
a revolution, we should use
every alternative under applic-
able law -- i think that is why
leahy is working so hard to bend
mukasey toward the rule of law.

when confirmed and sitting,
i suspect mukasey WILL file
criminal contempt of congress
charges -- in the d.c. district
court -- if the white house does
not deliver these documents.

he seems to be a "real" conservative.

and that matters, now.

i cannot advocate overthrow.

i advocate all lawful means -- but
i plainly share your frustration.

[great set of 13 answers, btw!]

p e a c e