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What Congress Can Do About Bush's Domestic Spying

Philadelphia Daily News: (h/t Ari) After illegally spying on Americans without the required warrants for several years, the Bush administration is cl

Philadelphia Daily News: (h/t Ari)

After illegally spying on Americans without the required warrants for several years, the Bush administration is claiming a sudden change of heart.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales recently announced that the administration's domestic-spying program will stop bypassing judicial oversight. Instead, it will submit domestic surveillance to review by a federal intelligence court, as required by law.

But before anyone celebrates the "good news" of an attorney general saying he will stop breaking the law, Congress must confront the administration's record of illegal spying and ensure that surveillance is truly back within the rule of law.

This is a big challenge because the administration spent the last six years undermining the traditional tools Congress uses to supervise intelligence by ignoring the law, stalling court oversight and declaring that warrantless spying would continue.

For Congress, that means there is little point in passing another law to restate rules that the administration is openly defying. Public hearings would also be ineffective for reforming or exposing the classified program. So what can the new Congress do?

The only way to bring spying back under the rule of law is for Congress to strengthen the branch of government that makes the law work: the courts. Read on...


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