There is an interesting first amendment attorney in town, Glenn Greenwald, who has been working hard to make sure that Senate Judiciary Committee Members pose the most important lines of questions to Attorney General Gonzales.
I have been out of the office most of the day and will have to watch the hearings later, but I want to highlight two pieces of his. The first is a short op-ed that appeared today on Alternet and the second is a set of “10 questions” that should be posed in today’s hearings.
In his op-ed today, Greenwald points out that the debates over FISA, the rush to modify FISA rules, and all that FISA hullaballoo was simply subterfuge for the fact that the White House had gone monarchial — uncontestedly monarchial.
From his piece:
The theories embraced by the Bush Administration are both radical and unprecedented. These theories hold that, with regard to responses to the threat of terrorism both abroad and within the U.S., decisions are “for the President alone to make” and neither the Congress nor the courts can limit the president in any way.
Thus, the question faced by the Congress is whether it will continue to stand by and allow the administration to claim unchecked power and relegate the Congress to an impotent, useless appendage.
The first chance the Congress has to answer that question will be on February 6 when it questions Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and it is not hyperbole to say that what is at stake are the founding and most fundamental principles for how our government operates.
And here are the ten questions that Greenwald poses, which I find useful in framing this debate:
I don’t know if Glenn Greenwald has made a dent in the hearings today, but I will listen in later to find out, and some of you may already know.
Here are some other resources, however,
First, National Journal‘s Intelligence & Homeland Security Correspondent Shane Harris has a fantastic article titled “Spying 101: A Legal Primer” on these hearings regardling wireless wiretaps and what we should be looking for and trying to understand in these debates.
(Sorry it was not up earlier but should be a good resource for those watching re-runs)
Here is the pdf of Shane Harris’s piece, which I am posting with permission.
Secondly, here are a number of links recently posted by Think Progress, all quite useful. Just scroll down and read them as there are too many to list individually. One of the most interesting to me was Lindsey Graham’s comment that by Gonzales’s definition, there seemed to be no “natural boundary” to Executive authority.
— Steve Clemons