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It’s Called, 'Circular Accountability'

I’d be remiss if I neglected to mention this gem from Tuesday's WaPo. The Bush administration plans to leave oversight of its expanded foreign eave

I’d be remiss if I neglected to mention this gem from Tuesday's WaPo.

The Bush administration plans to leave oversight of its expanded foreign eavesdropping program to the same government officials who supervise the surveillance activities and to the intelligence personnel who carry them out, senior government officials said yesterday.

The law, which permits intercepting Americans’ calls and e-mails without a warrant if the communications involve overseas transmission, gives Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales responsibility for creating the broad procedures determining whose telephone calls and e-mails are collected. It also gives McConnell and Gonzales the role of assessing compliance with those procedures.

In the Bush administration, this is what passes for accountability. Gonzales and McConnell will have the responsibility for designing the surveillance system (determining who gets spied on) and the responsibility for determining whether they’re meeting their own criteria.

It’s a bit like writing the test, and then getting to grade it yourself.

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