Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Is Arlen Specter finally growing a backbone?

I found this TPM story reporting that Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) is opposed to granting retroactive immunity to the telecoms over the illegal Bush spy program:

As the ACLU worries that Senate Democrats in the intelligence committee will give retroactive immunity to telephone companies for collaborating with the administration's warrantless surveillance program, the two senior members of the judiciary committee say they won't entertain that without knowing what the telecoms did.

Here is the YouTube video:

And here is Specter's quote:

I certainly would not give them immunity retroactively on programs that we don’t know what they are…. I think it’s unreasonable to ask us to give them immunity for things we don’t know what they did. If there was a need for it at the time, and if the telephone companies were good citizens and if they supplied information which was important, then I’d be prepared to look at it. But I’m not going to buy a pig in a poke, and commit to retroactive immunity when I don’t know what went on. They’ve kept that from us. That’s a big problem, Wolf.

While I'm happy that Specter has started growing a backbone against the Bush White House for their criminality, I wish he grew this backbone so much earlier. There is so much corruption and scandals in this administration, and Arlen Specter was a party to the scandals during the time he was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and refused to even investigate these scandals. Now all of the sudden, he opposes immunity for the telecoms? I seriously wonder if Arlen Specter is performing a legacy CYA of his own ass here. Specter may know that his complacency in performing congressional oversight against the Bush administration on the domestic spying program will not look good for history. So instead of actively criticizing this Bush administration on the spying program, Specter may be trying to make an end-run around by joining the criticism of refusing to give immunity to the telecoms for their involvement in the domestic spying program, while conveniently ignoring the Bush administration's central role in creating the program in the first place.

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