Obama Supports Telecom Immunity
Well, I'll say one thing for Obama: he's making it easy for someone in the party to run at him from his left in 2012. Eric Holder and Leon Panetta are doing little if anything to show any change in direction from Bush on domestic surveillance and executive privilege, nor does the administration show any interest in holding people accountable for past illegalities.
And now in office, they sanction telecom immunity.
The Justice Department is defending a provision in a 2008 surveillance law that provides legal immunity to telecommunications companies that cooperated with the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance program.
The department was expected to defend the provision. But its stance in a brief filed today in a California federal court underscores the surprising degree to which the Obama administration -- at least in court -- is determined to shield President Bush's controversial counter-terrorism policies from legal challenge or even public scrutiny.
Progressives will have to accept that Obama plans to allow no room to his right when it comes to national security, even if it means disappointing progressives and pissing on the Constitution. Pat Leahy will hold his first Senate Judiciary Committee hearing next week on his "Truth Commission" proposal, a bad idea that provides little accountability for past crimes, a concept I think Obama supports. Now that he has the job, his people want the same ability to have secrets and screw Congress that Bush had, but with high-minded rhetoric as a distraction.
Nancy Pelosi has different ideas. She told Rachel Maddow today that she has no intention of allowing Leahy or anyone else to grant immunity to Bush officials as part of a commission concept, and expects to act upon the findings of a special FISA Inspector General this July, if that report indicates illegalities took place. This would require the Democratic leadership to force through referrals for prosecution to the Department of Justice, helmed by an AG who supports telecom immunity and keeping the public in the dark about domestic surveillance activities that violated the Constitution.
Based on how the Obama administration seems to be walking the same path as the Bush administration on these issues, we may be looking down the road this fall to a confrontation, not between Democrats and Republicans, but between congressional Democrats and Imperial Democrats.