Arlen Specter has been one of the few sane voices in the GOP regarding the NSA spying program. He was one of the first to call for hearings and someone that I think has been a strong ally to the Democrats. I personally feel like he didn’t do nearly enough to get to the bottom of this, but he has finally taken the first step in preventing it from happening again
The Senate Parliamentarian last week gave Specter jurisdiction over two different bills that would provide more checks on the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance program.
One bill, written by Specter, would require a secretive federal intelligence court to conduct regular reviews of the program's constitutionality. A rival approach — drafted by Ohio Sen. Mike DeWine and three other Republicans — would allow the government to conduct warrantless surveillance for up to 45 days before seeking court or congressional approval.
Specter said the House and Senate intelligence committees could have had authority over the program under the 1947 National Security Act, which lays out when the spy agencies must tell Congress about intelligence activities.
But, Specter said, the committees haven't gotten full briefings on the program, instead choosing to create small subcommittees for the work.
"The intelligence committees ought to exercise their statutory authority on oversight, but they aren't," Specter said. "The Judiciary Committee has acted. We brought in the attorney general. We had a second hearing with a series of experts, and we are deeply involved in it."
I think these bills are an excellent idea. All the American people wish to have is oversight to make sure that the President is not breaking the law. America was formed with an entire system to ensure no one branch could have power without the others signing off. I think that we should hold to our history and make sure that this continues.
Tags:GOP Arlen Specter Wiretapping Spying Bush