This is the Archive site for Firedoglake. To go to the main site please click on the following link

Friday, February 17, 2006

Melting the Ice

There was a lot of frustration this week about the fact that a full-court press wasn't made to influence the Senate Intelligence Committee into investigating the illegal NSA wiretaps. Aside from the fact that all the oxygen got sucked out of every other story when the Veep shot a 78 year-old good friend acquaintance in the face, there wasn't anything that could have prevented what actually happened with the vote yesterday.

As Glenn Greenwald says:
First, nobody ever thought that a just resolution of this scandal was dependent upon an investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee, dominated, as it is, by the mewling, slavish and indescribably dishonest Pat Roberts. The notion that this scandal has come to an end all because Roberts blocked, for the moment, hearings that were to be held by that Committee is nonsensical. Thankfully, this scandal never depended upon the integrity of Pat Roberts, and hearings in front of that Committee were merely one of the many ways to compel a real investigation, but it was hardly the only or even primary way.

Moreover, the Committee did not vote against an investigation. Instead, Roberts merely invoked a procedural device as Chairman to prevent a vote, for now, from taking place. (Incidentally, what happened to the Republican mantra that procedural maneuvers ought not be used to block up-or-down votes? It seems that principle only applies to matters where they know they will prevail on the vote. Here, there were clearly Republican members of the Committee who did not want to go on record – and who may have been unwilling to go on record – voting to oppose an investigation. As a result, no vote was held).
Glenn goes on to provide some much needed context:
The reality is that the more the Administration fights to suppress investigations and conceal relevant facts, the more fuel is added to this fire. Every presidential scandal in history has been exacerbated by the cover-up component. Opponents of the Clinton Administration had some of their most compelling political P.R. victories when the Administration invoked precepts of "Executive privilege" in order to block interrogation and to avoid the disclosure of documents.

Rather than viewing each obstructionist step by the Administration as some sign of our inevitable defeat and doom, we ought to see it and use it as what it is -- a sign that, contrary to their bravado, the Administration is petrified of this scandal and is doing everything possible to prevent Americans -- through their Congress and the courts -- from discovering the truth.
The NSA scandal has been upon us for two months. Watergate took 2 1/2 years to come to a full boil. Abu Gonzales claims that he's not able to imagine what Comey and Ashcroft "add to the discussion," but clearly he can if they're claiming executive privilege. The White House is very, very frightened about what could be unearthed in this investigation, and that's a very good reason to keep digging -- no matter how long it takes.

(graphic by Dark Black)