Monday, March 6, 2006

Roots Project: NSA Surveillance Hearings Campaign Update

Originally posted: Monday March 6, 10:46 am PT. Last Updated: Tuesday March 7, 2:30 pm ET

UPDATE, MARCH 7, 2:30 PM ET: THAT'S IT - They're in their closed-door meeting now. Time to stop calling and start praying. I will post the outcome as soon as I know it from Sen. Rockefeller's communications director. Keep your fingers crossed and think good thoughts.

And remember: win, lose or draw, we've done something over the past few days that has never, ever been done before: directed national attention, and thousands of constituent communications, at a relatively "minor" and unpublicized event, a simple closed-door committee meeting. And we haven't even begun to fight...

Older updates:

The Intelligence Committee hearing will begin at 2:30 pm ET Tuesday March 7.

Here’s an update on how our NSA Surveillance/Senate Intelligence Committee campaign is doing:

It’s still unclear how Senator Snowe intends to vote tomorrow. Some readers have reported (and Glenn Greenwald has duly passed along their reports) that Snowe’s office says she will vote FOR hearings. But as of the time of this posting, her office has told me she has issued NO STATEMENT one way or the other. I don’t know whether this is a miscommunication within her office or whether she’s backsliding, but it’s not good news.

At this point, therefore, I’m continuing to list both Snowe and Hagel as UNDECIDED on the question of whether the Intelligence Committee should hold hearings into the NSA surveillance. I have left voice messages for both senators’ communications directors and will let you know as soon as I have updated information. Meanwhile, keep up the phone calls, emails and faxes.

In other news:

Rockefeller’s office forwarded a copy of Reid’s press release to me over the weekend, via Blackberry -- so they’re not only on top of the situation, but using newly-licensed proprietary technology to do it!

Glenn Greenwald has another excellent post on the topic.

Ethan Heitner at has picked up the battle cry, as has eriposte at The Left Coaster.

And the current calling campaign (with VichyDems riding Glenn’s coattails) even made the front page of Liberal Oasis today.

More updates as events warrant. Please keep working the Game Plan.

UPDATE, 11:40 AM PT: Thanks to Glenn Greenwald and his reader Ommzms, here's a link to a solid New York Times editorial today taking our side.

UPDATE, 12:12 PM PT: In case you don't think what we do makes a difference: in the last hour, this site has had visits from at least two people in Washington, D.C., one whose ISP is the U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms (the Senate ISP) and who surfed over from Glenn Greenwald's most recent post on Frist's machinations, and one whose ISP is the Library of Congress Information Technology Service and who surfed over from 2:38 pm: Make that three: someone in D.C. whose ISP is the Administrator of the U.S. Courts, who surfed here from Glenn's. Yeah, I know, probably a bored District Court law clerk, but I prefer to think it's Sam Alito, quavering in his boots about the prospect of the People rising up.

We have the attention of people in government. That makes a difference. So please keep working!!

UPDATE, 2:55 PM PT: Snowe's and Hagel's office still are keeping mum on their positions. My best bet? Frist is close to pulling off an upset, with major pork heading to Maine and Nebraska if Snowe and Hagel play ball, and they're keeping their cards close.

And Sen. Rockefeller's office doesn't seem to have any better info than we do at this point; here's word I just received from them:

Wish I had some insight for you, but it’s really unclear what’s going to happen. My best guess is Republicans will come up with some alternative proposal for a review and that they’ll try and get Hagel and Snowe to vote for that version. It’s really up in the air at the moment.

UPDATE, MON. MARCH 7, 8:00 AM PT: We're not alone; our friends at are mounting a similar campaign. Feel free to swing by there and give their tools a try -- but don't forget where home is!

UPDATE, MARCH 7, 9:24 AM PT: The Lawrence (KS) Journal-World finally has a piece up about this, focusing on what chairman Pat Roberts intends to do; Kansans, call Roberts' office and pile on! Our information from both media and sources on the Hill is that Roberts is very concerned about how he's looking in the Kansas media, so we need to twist the knife a little.

No one else in the national media (other than the single Knight-Ridder piece I reported on last night) has picked up on this story. So much for the Fourth Estate. Remember in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" how, when the big media sold out, the kids used their hand-cranked newsletter to deliver the real news? That's us bloggers: the Boy Rangers of the modern era. Now I'm waiting for the bad guys to try and run us off the road...



Anonymous said...

Great post. Great site. Thanks for the ping, which shall be recriprocal.

If the NSA investigation goes awry, i.e., dissipates into acquienscence, we'll all soon be carrying National ID Cards; those of us who haven't been arrested in the middle of the night and taken to undisclosed locations.

Eyes Wide Open said...

we'll all soon be carrying National ID Cards; those of us who haven't been arrested in the middle of the night and taken to undisclosed locations.

Guess they won't have to print up that many National ID Cards.

Welcome to Kafka. Punishment in search of a crime, this time driven by the Government of the United States of America. Who woulda thunk?

Thersites, you are really doing staggerinly good work. Thanks on the part of all who value their freedom.

Christopher said...

I have 40 co-workers in my office emailing Snowe.

While I'm not hopeful, nonetheless, my fingers are crossed and I'm tossing salt over my shoulder.

Via said...

Thersites, thank you again for your unflagging enthusiasm and optimism. Your organizational skills ain't bad, either.

I continue to be slack-jawed at the fact that, as lousy as the MSM is at their profession, someone hasn't covered this story.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all your hard work, gang! Via: it's not organizational skill (I forwarded your post to my wife for her amusement!); it's probably a mild kind of obsessive-compulsive disorder!

Gawd, I hope we win tomorrow, even though I'm getting more pessimistic as the day wears by. But even if we don't, we've got several battlegrounds left: Senate Judiciary, Senate Homeland Security, all 3 House committees. We can at least keep the issue alive until we're into the election cycle.

As I've said before: the Rs took 40 years, from Goldwater to Bush II. We can show that kind of stamina, too, even though I pray it doesn't take that long.

Anonymous said...

I try and I try and I try and I try and I still can't understand how a person could have so little self-esteem that she would disgrace herself in front of the entire country and reveal herself to be no better than a two bit whore as she trades off our civil liberties in exchange for some pork for her own state.

Could it be Frist has his finger more on the true pulse of depravity in government than we do?

In his world, it appears there is no person who will not sell out. It's just a question of price.

On the other hand, even in movies, bullies terrorize for only so long. Then they get their comeuppance. His downfall will be especially sweet.