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Which Congressional Leaders Speak Against Illegal FBI Spying?

The story broke yesterday morning: The FBI acknowledges that for years, it spied on Americans’ telephone calls within the USA, based upon stories about impending terrorist attacks that were completely fabricated by the bureau. Among those the FBI spied upon were many journalists. These actions constitute an illegal abuse of power, and violate the first and fourth amendments to the Constitution to boot.

So, what’s Congress doing about it? We identified the 7 committee chairs in Congress who have some plausible authority to hold hearings and launch investigations of the illegal FBI spying.

Representative Jerrold Nadler, Chair of the House Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, acted first. He promised to hold hearings, and referred to the FBI’s actions as displaying an “unconstitutional disregard for civil liberties”.

This morning, upon reading the FBI’s report on its homeland hoaxes, Senator Patrick Leahy, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, promised to hold accountable those involved. He also contradicted the FBI’s excuses for its activities, saying, “This was not a matter of technical violation.”

Senator Russ Feingold, Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, voiced a strong protest directly to about what he called the “rampant illegalities” by the FBI, speaking directly to FBI Director Robert Mueller at the same Senate hearing on unrelated security matters where Senator Leahy spoke.

Senator Benjamin Cardin, Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security, when given the opportunity to question Mueller at that same hearing, didn’t say a single thing about the FBI’s spreading of hoaxed evidence of terrorist threats.

John Conyers, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, has not taken action. Ed Towns, Chair of the House Oversight Committee, has neither done nor said anything on the issue – at least not in public. Senator Dick Durbin, Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, has been silent.

It appears that if we are going to get a serious inquiry into the FBI’s invention of terrorist conspiracy stories in order to spy against Americans, we’re most likely to get that inquiry started by Representative Nadler, Senator Leahy or Senator Feingold. The remaining congressional Democratic leaders don’t seem to care enough about the integrity of Americans’ constitutional freedoms to raise a peep of opposition to the FBI abuses.

2 comments to Which Congressional Leaders Speak Against Illegal FBI Spying?

  • Tom

    “It appears that if we are going to get a serious inquiry into the FBI’s invention of terrorist conspiracy stories in order to spy against Americans, we’re most likely to get that inquiry started by Representative Nadler, Senator Leahy or Senator Feingold. The remaining congressional Democratic leaders don’t seem to care enough about the integrity of Americans’ constitutional freedoms to raise a peep of opposition to the FBI abuses.”

    Looking over the Bush years, these same congresspeople condoned and rubber-stamped this stuff into existence. i don’t think we’ll see any investigations, particularly after Obama failed to prosecute ANYONE in the Bush administration for their complete disregard for the Constitution, of which Obama is a supposed scholar. He may be a scholar but he’s a timid one. This country and the world needs leaders with real convictions, ones who would preserve and defend the Constitution (as in their OATH OF OFFICE). This is not what we’re seeing.

  • ramone

    i’ve said this time and time again , this is so much more about the drug war than it is about the war on terror. if someone would take a serious look at the correlation between these wars it would topple a lot of moralistic atttitudes about both drugs and war.
    so, while i commend the two senators and the congressman,i wonder,are they addressing the real issue? the use of unwarranted searches and gathering evidence of crimes not related to the investigation that the illegal searches were originally conducted for (terror threats?) is a major concern. but,the real concern is what happens to the information gleaned from these illegal wiretaps, etc. when this info is used to launch more drug prosecutions and more DEA abuse of an otherwise well mannered citizenry, then we should really take a long hard look at who is benefiting from the war on drugs. who is being protected and who is being abused? where is the corruption and where is the moral high ground?
    blanket wiretapping is unconstitutional, the the first and fourth amendments are definitely in violation, but, look at the eighteenth and the twenty-first amendments. this country had a years long battle to make alcohol illegal. it was legislated in several states prior to the constituional amendment. we needed an amendment before any federal laws could be implemented. we needed another amendment to right the wrongs exasperated by prohibition.
    look back at that era’s process for separating state and federal boundries and you see how we overstepped in declaring the drug war and creating the DEA as our enforcer. that brings the tenth amendment into question. do federal authorities have any constitutional grounds for conducting a war on it’s own citizenry by labeling it a “war on drugs”. now we have the DEA(a federal agency)using illegal wiretaps to enforce federal laws that should require a constitutional amendment to be valid in the first place.
    i should go on at length on how afganistan has had a thousand year history in the drug trade and that our involment there is tied, in some way, to the poppy trade and the huge profits generated there. i should, but i won’t. someone has all the facts about how this all ties together, i don’t. but, i’m as sure about this stinking convoluted mess as i am about the smell of death in haiti this very day.

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