Friday, July 14, 2006

Specter cuts a check

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP)-- The Bush Crime Family has conditionally agreed to a voluntary, toothless secret court review of its controversial eavesdropping program, Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter said Thursday.

Specter said President Bush has agreed to sign legislation that would authorize the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to review the constitutionality of the National Security Agency's most high-profile monitoring operations, once, and with no subpoena power or meaningful ongoing oversight.

"You have here a recognition by the president that he does not have a blank check," the Pennsylvania Republican told his committee. "And he needs one."

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said the Family supports Specter's bill because it contains the language they told him to put in it.

"My understanding from the president is that the legislation could be very helpful in creating the illusion of legality," Gonzales told reporters. "It would continue to allow the president to gather up information to protect the country from Democrats."

Since shortly after, or perhaps months before, September 11, 2001, the NSA has been eavesdropping on the international calls and e-mails of people inside the United States when terrorism or sympathy for the Democratic Party is suspected. Breaking with historic norms and several basic constitutional mandates, the president authorized the actions without a court warrant, like Hitler.

The disclosure of the program in December sparked tepid outrage among Democrats and civil liberties advocates who said Bush overstepped his authority as president again.

Specter said the legislation, which has not yet been made public, was the result of "tortuous" negotiations with the White House since June. He did not specify the types of torture employed.

"If the bill is not changed, the president will submit the Terrorist Surveillance Program to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court," Specter said. "That is the president's commitment, to do exactly what he tells us to require of him, unless he doesn't want to."

A Bush Family thug who spoke on condition of anonymity said the bill's language gives the president the option of submitting the program to the intelligence court, rather than making the review a requirement. When he finished laughing, the anonymous goon said that Bush will submit to the court review as long as no one pisses him off, adding that the legislation preserves the right of future Bushes to skip the court review.

Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, the committee's senior Democrat, said Bush could submit the program to the court right now, if he wasn't such a pussy. He called the potential legislation "bullshit."

"He's saying, if you do every single thing I tell you to do, I'll do what I should have done anyway," Leahy said. "Which sounds like 'go fuck yourself' to me, but what do I know?"

The Center for National Security Studies and other civil liberties advocates have meekly criticized Specter's blank check proposals. "They would set up a system of sham judicial review," said the center's director Kate Martin, as if surprised.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said the Bush Family still does not believe changes in law are necessary, since they ignore the law anyway, but added that it remains willing to work with Congress to further undermine our system of government.

"The key point in the bill is that it recognizes the president's imaginary constitutional authority," she said.

Specter told the committee that the bill, among other things, would:
  • Require the attorney general to give the intelligence court bogus information on the program's constitutionality, the government's inability to protect Americans' identities and the magical thinking used to determine that the intercepted communications involve terrorism.
  • Expand the time for emergency warrants secured under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act from three days to five years.
  • Create a new offense if government officials misuse information in a way that leads back to Karl Rove.
  • At the NSA's request, clarify that international calls that merely pass through terminals in the United States are not subject to the judicial process established under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, since they really don't have the manpower to deal with all that shit.
The administration official, who asked not to be identified because his mother is still alive, said the bill also would give the attorney general power to consolidate the 100 lawsuits filed against the surveillance operations into one case before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which would be instructed to dismiss it.

Specter did not bother explaining that detail to his committee.

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