Russ Feingold Pushes the Bolton Button

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At the beginning of the battle to stop John Bolton’s confirmation as US Ambassador to the United Nations, Senators Russ Feingold and Barack Obama were both inclined to support his nomination. They both serve on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Feingold in particular believes that the President of the United States should get the team he or she wants with minimal interference from the Senate.
Both Senators came around — particularly after meeting some of the people that various NGOs assembled to outline their serious concerns about the damage Bolton might do to America’s global credibility. This blogger is pleased that both Obama and Feingold became the fervent opponents of Bolton’s nomination that they became.
There was a point in the battle, however, after Bolton’s confirmation got kicked out of committee on a neutral basis to the Senate floor, the strategy changed — and it involved demonstrating how John Bolton manipulated the intelligence process for political ends. Part of this story was his inquiry into the names of “American” citizens whose names had been redacted from various National Security Agency intercepts.
The Executive Branch refused to share these names and the basic intelligence intercepts with the Congress — and thus the Senate refused to allow his nomination to proceed. Even Senators Joseph Lieberman and Dianne Feinstein voted against cloture and would not allow the vote to take place until the administration yielded.
This affair — which stretched 21 months — became one of the first significant political losses for George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Karl Rove, Scooter Libby and Co. in the foreign policy arena.
Emptywheel now reminds us tonight that Senator Feingold was not only moved to oppose Bolton but is now continuing to invoke his name as an example of the kind of government abuse of authority and intelligence that all Americans should worry about.
Here is a clip of Feingold outlining his views that we need to protect Americans from future John Boltons:

I respect Russ Feingold’s principled views about the balance of power between the Executive Branch and the Congress as well as their mutual responsibilities — and we also respect him when he makes that tough decision to withdraw Senate consent from the Executive’s decision when called for.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

12 comments on “Russ Feingold Pushes the Bolton Button

  1. DonS says:

    Emptywheel follows up on the FISA debate, particularly Jay Rockefeller’s attempt to counter the privacy arguments outlined by Feingold. The thread of argument requires some effort to follow — perhaps why this important debate needs to be translated into words that the average American can understand — but it becomes clear that Rockefeller has a big stake in facilitating virtually unfettered executive branch access to information, regardless of the negative consequences for the privacy of American citizens.
    http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2008/02/05/jello-jay-advocates-illegal-spying-on-americans/
    This penchant of Rockefeller’s to rubber stamp the administration’s insatiable appetite for private citizen information continues to mirror his half-hearted excuses for knuckling under to the governments spying via telephone intercepts that the NY Times exposed several years ago.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4534488.stm
    The Bolton example highlights one form of abuse of improperly gathered information. How many others are possible?
    Fear mongering continues to drive the erosion of constitutionally protected rights. Rockefeller serves up a disingenous logic ignores which turns a blind eye to the fact that pending final court rulings, improperly collected data could be used for any and all purposes; and that a series of never ending appeals could keep “protected” periods of use running together forever. No harm, no penalty. Feingold counters Rockefeller’s misrepresentations and generalizations supporting unfettered use and access. Simply, without a Feingold-like amendment, procedural loopholes render any check on improper (per a FISA court finding) data gathering and use meaningless.
    Could this possibly be something the media might understand, interpret and report on?

    Reply

  2. DonS says:

    Emptywheel follows up on the FISA debate, particularly Jay Rockefeller’s attempt to counter the privacy arguments outlined by Feingold. The thread of argument requires some effort to follow — perhaps why this important debate needs to be translated into words that the average American can understand — but it becomes clear that Rockefeller has a big stake in facilitating virtually unfettered executive branch access to information, regardless of the negative consequences for the privacy of American citizens.
    http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2008/02/05/jello-jay-advocates-illegal-spying-on-americans/
    This penchant of Rockefeller’s to rubber stamp the administration’s insatiable appetite for private citizen information continues to mirror his half-hearted excuses for knuckling under to the governments spying via telephone intercepts that the NY Times exposed several years ago.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/16/politics/16program.html?pagewanted=print
    The Bolton example highlights one form of abuse of improperly gathered information. How many others are possible?
    Fear mongering continues to drive the erosion of constitutionally protected rights. Rockefeller serves up a disingenous logic ignores which turns a blind eye to the fact that pending final court rulings, improperly collected data could be used for any and all purposes; and that a series of never ending appeals could keep “protected” periods of use running together forever. No harm, no penalty. Feingold counters Rockefeller’s misrepresentations and generalizations supporting unfettered use and access. Simply, without a Feingold-like amendment, procedural loopholes render any check on improper (per a FISA court finding) data gathering and use meaningless.
    Could this possibly be something the media might understand, interpret and report on?

    Reply

  3. DonS says:

    Emptywheel follows up on the FISA debate, particularly Jay Rockefeller’s attempt to counter the privacy arguments outlined by Feingold. The thread of argument requires some effort to follow — perhaps why this important debate needs to be translated into words that the average American can understand — but it becomes clear that Rockefeller has a big stake in facilitating virtually unfettered executive branch access to information, regardless of the negative consequences for the privacy of American citizens.
    http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2008/02/05/jello-jay-advocates-illegal-spying-on-americans/
    This penchant of Rockefeller’s to rubber stamp the administration’s insatiable appetite for private citizen information continues to mirror his half-hearted excuses for knuckling under to the government’s spying via telephone intercepts that the NY Times exposed several years ago.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/16/politics/16program.html?pagewanted=print
    The Bolton example highlights one form of abuse of improperly gathered information. How many others are possible?
    Fear mongering continues to drive the erosion of constitutionally protected rights. Rockefeller serves up a disingenous logic which turns a blind eye to the fact that, pending final court rulings, improperly collected data could be used for any and all purposes; and that a series of never ending appeals could keep “protected” periods of use running together forever. No harm, no penalty. Feingold counters Rockefeller’s misrepresentations and generalizations supporting unfettered use and access. Simply, without a Feingold-like amendment, procedural loopholes render any check on improper (per a FISA court finding) data gathering and use meaningless.
    Could this possibly be something the media might understand, interpret and report on?

    Reply

  4. Sandy says:

    Hmm. What would have been wrong with showing the picture that is actually ON the cover of the book….if it was really the BOOK you wanted to recommend?
    It’s your blog and you can do anything you want, of course. I found it pretty surprising…..and telling, that’s all.

    Reply

  5. DonS says:

    Emptywheel follows up on the FISA debate, particularly Jay Rockefeller’s attempt to counter the privacy arguments outlined by Feingold. The thread of argument requires some effort to follow — perhaps why this important debate needs to be translated into words that the average American can understand — but it becomes clear that Rockefeller has a big stake in facilitating virtually unfettered executive branch access to information, regardless of the negative consequences for the privacy of American citizens.
    http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2008/02/05/jello-jay-advocates-illegal-spying-on-americans/
    This penchant of Rockefeller’s to rubber stamp the administration’s insatiable appetite for private citizen information continues to mirror his half-hearted excuses for knuckling under to the governments spying via telephone intercepts that the NY Times exposed several years ago.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/16/politics/16program.html?pagewanted=print
    The Bolton example highlights one form of abuse of improperly gathered information. How many others are possible?
    Fear mongering continues to drive the erosion of constitutionally protected rights. Rockefeller serves up a disingenous logic ignores which turns a blind eye to the fact that pending final court rulings, improperly collected data could be used for any and all purposes; and that a series of never ending appeals could keep “protected” periods of use running together forever. No harm, no penalty. Feingold counters Rockefeller’s misrepresentations and generalizations supporting unfettered use and access. Simply, without a Feingold-like amendment, procedural loopholes render any check on improper (per a FISA court finding) data gathering and use meaningless.
    Could this possibly be something the media might understand, interpret and report on?

    Reply

  6. DonS says:

    Emptywheel follows up on the FISA debate, particularly Jay Rockefeller’s attempt to counter the privacy arguments outlined by Feingold. The thread of argument requires some effort to follow — perhaps why this important debate needs to be translated into words that the average American can understand — but it becomes clear that Rockefeller has a big stake in facilitating virtually unfettered executive branch access to information, regardless of the negative consequences for the privacy of American citizens.
    http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2008/02/05/jello-jay-advocates-illegal-spying-on-americans/
    This penchant of Rockefeller’s to rubber stamp the administration’s insatiable appetite for private citizen information continues to mirror his half-hearted excuses for knuckling under to the governments spying via telephone intercepts that the NY Times exposed several years ago.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/16/politics/16program.html?pagewanted=print
    The Bolton example highlights one form of abuse of improperly gathered information. How many others are possible?
    Fear mongering continues to drive the erosion of constitutionally protected rights. Feingold counters Rockefeller’s misrepresentations and generalizations supporting unfettered use and access. Simply, without a Feingold-like amendment, procedural loopholes render any check on improper (per a FISA court finding) data gathering and use meaningless.
    Could this possibly be something the media might understand, interpret and report on?

    Reply

  7. rich says:

    Russ! bumped into him at a State St. coffee shop just prior to his first Senate win. His politics align well with Wisconsinites all across the political spectrum.
    Steve, thanks for the tip re Kaplan’s RAND book.
    Don’t hesitate to offer more recommendations. There’s only so many areas one reader can be expert in, so a good tip from the right source is invaluable.

    Reply

  8. Steve Clemons says:

    Sandy — I don’t pay a lot of attention to advertisers, but imagine my amusement that on a near daily basis I’m taunted by some by being either an Obama shill or a Hillary shill. Today, i guess we’ve gone back that I somehow must have it in for Hillary. I’m not upset about this — just laughing.
    But in any case, I don’t know is the best answer I have to your question. Read up on Fred Kaplan. He’s one of the best military/national security writers out there — and a brilliant analyst. I’m proud to have any of his books advertised on my site as I’m in near total agreement with most of his analyses.
    He wrote the book that really got me hooked into this business, Wizards of Armageddon, which was his profile of the story of RAND. Just a stunningly good chronicle of the egos that built America’s first national security think tank.
    I think that Hillary might be on the ad because it’s making a reference to her vote of the Iraq War Resolution — and her confidence that the Executive Branch was listening to her rationale for the vote. But I’m speculating.
    I don’t like people nitpicking me on the pics I use — and I won’t nitpick this one (though I have to admit I did once because one ad on my sit disparaged someone by calling them a fox — it was a great looking fox and the person being insulted didn’t deserve it)
    Thanks though — and hope this moves us forward.
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  9. Sandy says:

    I am mystified. What is an advertisement for the book Daydream Believers — about the failed Bush policies — doing with a photograph of Hillary Clinton?
    It is NOT the cover of the book itself.
    Does The Washington Note help the Swift-boaters do a number on Hillary right before tomorrow’s elections?
    Who is the “advertiser” and what is their agenda?

    Reply

  10. JohnH says:

    I’m still mystified that Republiscum are eagerly voting for a bill that would allow Hillary or Obama to spy on them next year. Maybe they’ll even get to spy on Jeb…

    Reply

  11. Dennis says:

    I wish Russ Feingold was a Georgia senator. We’re stuck with Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Iskason. Chambliss is on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and it is embarassing to see him twisting and turning the facts to defend the retro active immunity for the telecoms.
    And John D. Rockerfeller is a sellout, too.
    You don’t have to be a blind conservative not to see it, just an ignorant one to deny it.

    Reply

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