The Bush administration has been using the "state secrets" defense in order to have federal law suits challenging their illegal eavesdropping programs thrown out of court. So far, they have been successful; thanks, in most cases, to lazy or partisan judges who have given little or no scrutiny of the validity of their claims which, according to Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley on Tuesday's Countdown, are nothing more than unconstitutional attempts to cover up their own federal crimes.
Olbermann: "With or without this new law, suppose one of the anti-wiretapping civil lawsuits succeeds, what does that legal victory actually mean then in terms of stopping the government or punishing Alberto Gonzales or any other top officials who were responsible for this?"
Turley: "Well, it can mean a lot and that's one of the reasons there's a lot of people, both Democrats and Republicans, who don't want to see it happen. They don't want a court to say that the president did something that is a federal crime. That's why they're trying to get all these cases thrown out of court because it is rather clear that what the president ordered was a federal crime, clearly defined in federal law. But that causes a problem because many of the Democratic leaders and Republican leaders have promised each other that they would not start impeachment proceedings, but when a federal judge says the president committed a crime, it's pretty darn hard to ignore that."