Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Still more about Heather Wilson and the NSA

Here and here, I've posted about Congresswoman Heather Wilson (R-NM), her call for hearings into the NSA scandal, and the possible reasons for and ramifications of that announcement.

Today, Congresswoman Wilson issued a statement about the NSA surveillance program. It's not clear precisely where she falls now; parts of her statement are wonderful summaries of the principles our nation is founded on, including the separation of powers and the duty of Congress to exercise oversight even in times of war, but elsewhere she rationalizes Bush's decision to consult only a handful of legislators on security issues. Most significantly, but also most ambiguously, she also calls for amendment of FISA, which could be construed as an indictment (merely moral, not legal, unfortunately) of the current NSA program, but which also could serve as "cover" to avoid a more serious approach. In other words, amending FISA could allow Republicans to say, "no need to investigate further, we've fixed the problem" instead of maturely and seriously addressing the question of whether high crimes or misdemeanors were committed that justify articles of impeachment.

My impression is that she's trying to ride the wave of liberal and moderate approval of her interview a couple days ago and still mollify the White House and her conservative base. That's a real tightrope, and I think we need to do what we can to keep her from clambering back onto the fence. She's called for a full Congressional investigation, she's expressed concerns about the legality of the program, and we need to do what we can to ensure she doesn't back away from that clear message.

1 comment:

Christopher said...

Wilson writes:

"I believe the time has come to review and update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act."

Yeah, I wonder what she means too?

Already, the Senate Intelligence Committee lowered the bar for the government to obtain a court order to spy from 24 hours to 72 hours.

Just what is Rep. Wilson saying? Is she suggesting we do away completely with FISA?