Via Athenae at First Draft, here’s an excerpt from Chris Dodd’s floor speech today in opposition to the Intelligence Committee bill that explains clearly why he – and everyone who cares about the rule of law – should oppose the legislation.
Mr. President, I oppose the Intelligence bill on these five counts for the same reason I oppose retroactive immunity: because where the president’s power is strongest, the rule of law should be strongest, as well. The Intelligence Committee’s bill means more power—and less law.
It reduces court oversight nearly to the point of symbolism; it could allow the targeting of Americans on false pretences; it opens us up to new, twisted rationales for warrantless wiretapping, the very thing it ought to prevent; it could allow bulk collection, as soon as an administration has the wherewithal to build such an enormous dragnet; and it sets all of these deeply flawed provisions in stone for six years.
In sum, Mr. President, the Intelligence version is entirely too trusting a bill. With its immunity, and with its wiretapping provisions, it has a simple answer to George Bush’s “trust me”: an all-too-eager “yes!”
I leave my colleagues with a simple question: Has that trust been earned?
Keep this in mind as we fight against Republican obstructionism. The GOP has blocked efforts to make the Intel bill better. They want to keep it just as it is, expanding power for President Bush and gifting retroactive immunity to big telecom companies, in order to protect the Administration from the discovery phases of the dozens of cases against companies like AT&T and Verizon. They’d rather let the current law lapse through their obstruction than force the President to veto a bill that isn’t just so with his wishes for power and protection.
Join tens of thousands of CREDO activists and tell your senators to oppose retroactive immunity and warrantless wiretapping. Your help today can ensure that we keep moving towards good legislation on Monday.
Cross posted at the CREDO Blog.