Sunday, January 01, 2006
Chuck Schumer Gets It (As Did James Comey)
Karl Rove obviously figured that they could get away with their plan to shoot the messenger with regard to the NYT's extremely belated reportage on BushCo's illegal wiretapping programs. He didn't realize that some leading Democrats out there have both spines and brains:
The investigation into leaks about a domestic spying program should determine whether the motivation was damaging security or revealing a potentially illegal activity, a Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee said Sunday. "There are differences between felons and whistleblowers, and we ought to wait 'til the investigation occurs to decide what happened," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. [...] Schumer, while supporting a leak investigation, questioned shifting the focus from the administration policy to the person who revealed the information to the press. "To simply divert this whole thing to just looking at the leaker and saying everything else is just fine is typical of this administration," he said. Schumer sent a letter Sunday to Specter asking that he call to testify current and former administration officials, including Comey, Ashcroft, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and White House chief of state Andrew Card. He asked that Specter join him in requesting the administration to waive any executive privilege in connection with their testimony.Now, Schumer's use of the term "whistleblower" has certain legal implications. As the fine folks at Whistleblowers.org will tell you, whistleblowers are entitled to certain rights and protections under US law. Oh, and get this:
The Times reported Sunday that a top Justice Department official objected in 2004 to aspects of the NSA program and would not sign off on its continued use as required by the administration. James B. Comey, a top deputy to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, was concerned with the program's legality and oversight, the Times reported. Administration officials then went to Ashcroft, who had been hospitalized for gallbladder surgery, to gain his approval, according to the newspaper, but it was unclear whether Ashcroft gave his approval."Unclear", I suspect, translates as "Ashcroft didn't give his approval, but BushCo wanted to take advantage of the post-surgery, post anesthetic haziness of Ashcroft's mind to claim that he did."
As for the Spinal Thing, Schumer is saying "Go ahead, have hearings -- but we're going to make sure that they get dragged out long enough for it to be crystal-clear that a) BUSH is the criminal here, and b) that BUSH should face criminal prosecution."
The Republicans won't want those kinds of hearings.
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