Sunday, March 11, 2007
The Emperor's New WhiteWash
It's all over the news that the FBI abused its authority under the PATRIOT Act. Lost in all these revelations about our top law enforcers breaking the law was this item of criminal cover-up:
Privacy Board Clears U.S. Spy Programs
Remember when the President of the United States started illegally spying on Americans in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act way back in 2001? Well, this same criminal administration decided it needed to police itself, so it set up a five-member Privacy and Civil Liberties Board in 2005. Last week, the board issued its report. Surprise, surprise, the illegal spying program got a clean bill of health.
Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, called it absurd that the White House board effectively gave the eavesdropping program its stamp of approval even before the administration was forced to backtrack and submit it to court oversight.
"I have no confidence in the current board in its ability to provide meaningful evaluation of important programs such as the no-fly lists, based on its work on the domestic surveillance program," he said. "It is critical that Congress make the civil liberties board independent of the executive branch."
The board does not have subpoena power, and the White House can change its annual reports before they go to Congress. The members serve at the pleasure of Bush, and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has final say over whether officials must comply with the board's recommendations.
How does the Emperor continue to get away with whitewashing his impeachable crimes? He appoints his good buddies to investigate him ...
Bush appointed [Carol] Dinkins, a Republican, to chair the board. A longtime friend of the Bush family, she was treasurer of Bush's first campaign for governor of Texas, and she is a longtime partner in the law firm of Vinson & Elkins, where Gonzales was once a partner.... and, hey presto, no criminal activity here!