One Democratic Representative, Jane Harman, supported warrantless wiretapping for years and objected only when it turned out that the target was herself. Harman’s combination of self-interest and blase disregard for others is not an exception in the U.S. Congress. This weekend, Democrats in Congress are finally indicating an interest in investigating a secret spying program carried out by the CIA. Americans aren’t being told what this secret spying program involves, but congressional Democrats are publicly declaring that they’ve had enough. Now they’re going to open an investigation, maybe!
Congressional Democrats didn’t cry “Enough!” when it emerged that the U.S. Government has engaged in hundreds and possibly more acts of torture.
Congressional Democrats didn’t cry “Enough!” when it was revealed that the U.S. Government had engaged in massive warrantless wiretapping against people inside and outside the USA.
Congressional Democrats haven’t yet cried “Enough!” to the continuing war (with what aim?) in Iraq and the escalating war (with what aim?) in Afghanistan.
On the specific, solitary issue of this secret classified surveillance program by the CIA, Congressional Democrats are up in arms. Why? It’s not because people got hurt. It’s not because of the violation of Americans’ constitutional rights. Members of Congress are up in arms and crying “Investigation!” because members of Congress weren’t told about the program.
Don’t get me wrong; cross-branch communication is an important issue. But this pattern of action vs. inaction highlights the need for members of Congress who are as concerned about the well-being and civil liberites of their fellow human beings as they are about their personal prerogatives.