Anonymous Liberal "If what the President is doing is legal and proper, why is he so afraid to allow his own Justice Department to investigate? What does he have to hide?"
This story hasn't been receiving much press, but it's very big. I have all the Specter/OPR documents and letters pertaining to this matter that nobody else has. The DOJ gave immediate clearances for an investigation of the NY Times, but stonewalled the OPR on the NSA program. H. Marshall Jarrett, OPR's lead counsel said that:
...while OPR was denied security clearances to conduct its inquiry, requests from prosecutors and FBI agents tasked with investigating who first leaked details of the NSA surveillance program to the New York Times were "promptly granted."
That says a lot. Just think about it. Since the NY Times is an easy target of this administration, the DOJ gives carte blanche to go after them. Also of note is that a civilian group that are Bush supporters and would be a huge security risk were able to review the NSA warrantless program:
that while he and his attorneys were denied the clearances, five "private individuals" who serve on the president's "Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board have been briefed on the NSA program and have been granted authorization to receive the clearances in question." Private citizens -- especially those who serve only part-time on governmental panels -- have traditionally been considered higher security risks than full-time government employees, who can lose their jobs or even be prosecuted for leaking to the press.
Here's some info on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board
It consists of five members appointed by and serving at the pleasure of the President. The Chairman and Vice Chairman are confirmed by the Senate. Board members are selected from among trustworthy and distinguished citizens outside the Federal Government who are qualified on the basis of achievement, experience, and independence. The Board is part of the White House Office within the Executive Office of the President and supported by an Executive Director and staff.
Wired News a great article about them.
Civil liberties advocates blasted the board, comparing it to the proverbial "fox guarding the hen house," and questioned how it could be effective without outside appointees and independent investigative powers.
The Anonymous Liberal has a great post up also and says:
Imagine for a moment that Bill Clinton had pulled something like this. The Republicans would have gone absolutely batshit crazy. Every single conservative pundit and politician would have jumped all over this, and the shrieking would have been deafening---So repeat after me: "If what the President is doing is legal and proper, why is he so afraid to allow his own Justice Department to investigate? What does he have to hide?"...read on
Rep. Maurice Hinchey, Democrat of New York is leading the charge to get OPR the clearances. Here's a profile of him in the NY Sun.