In my early morning news thread below I posted two stories breaking about the NSA and the domestic spying — “Security issue kills domestic spying inquiry” and “NSA has massive database of Americans’ phone calls.”
With this news today, John Kerry will be hitting hard on the nomination of General Hayden to head the CIA, in his speech at today at 1:00 at American University.
Here’s an excerpt from Kerry’s speech (full text is available here):
“America has always embraced the best traditions of civilized conduct toward combatants and non-combatants in war. But today our leaders hold themselves above the law—in the way they not only treat prisoners in Abu Ghraib, but assert unchecked power to spy on American citizens.
We witnessed the CIA being bullied by the Rumsfeld Pentagon and the Cheney White House into shredding its credibility with unfounded claims of “slam dunk” evidence for mythical weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Now that the President has tapped the chief defender of his warrantless wiretapping program to become CIA Director, we must demand a full and vigorous debate over the nomination of Michael Hayden to head this wayward agency.
Peter Hoekstra, Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee describes this nominee as “the wrong person, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.”
His words ring especially true on a day when we are reminded of the Administration’s determination to keep the extent of their illegal domestic spying program secret. Just today, the Department of Justice abruptly ended an investigation into the conduct of department lawyers who approved the program – not because the approving lawyers were cleared of wrongdoing but because investigators were denied the information to conduct the investigation. All this on a day when we learn the NSA isn’t just listening to international calls but is collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans who aren’t suspected of wrong-doing. How many times will government secrecy shield decision-makers from any kind of accountability?
Enough is enough. It is long overdue for this Congress to end the days of roll-over and rubber stamp and finally assert its power of advise and consent before General Hayden becomes Director Hayden and proves Chairman Hoekstra right by doing the job wrong.”
Related in the news: From the NY Times – “With Access Denied, Justice Department Drops Spying Investigation.”