Dems pulling back from NSA bashing?

AJ Strata thinks so, as does Stop the ACLU.

At the same time, the Republican chairmen of the Senate and House intelligence committees — Sen. Pat Roberts (Kan.) and Rep. Peter Hoekstra (Mich.), who attended secret National Security Agency briefings — said they supported Bush’s right to undertake the program without new congressional authorization. They added that Democrats briefed on the program, who included Harman and Daschle, could have taken steps if they believed the program was illegal. All four appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Roberts said he could not remember Democrats raising questions about the program during briefings that, beginning in 2002, were given to the “Gang of Eight.” That group was made up of the House speaker and minority leader, the majority and minority leaders of the Senate, and the chairmen and ranking Democrats of the House and Senate intelligence committees.

At the briefings, Roberts said, “Those that did the briefing would say, ‘Do you have questions? Do you have concerns?’ ” Hoekstra said if Democrats thought Bush was violating the law, “it was their responsibility to use every tool possible to get the president to stop it.”

So, the democrats had their chance to question this program, and failed to do so. Only after the information was leaked have they tried to turn it into a political issue.

Daschle said he wants the program to continue but maintained that the warrantless wiretapping of calls that came into the United States or calls made overseas, even those involving suspected terrorist sources, violate the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

Harman noted that the House and Senate intelligence committees were briefed last week on domestic wiretapping. “We’re only 36 members total that we’re talking about, and those members should decide whether this program fits within the law, and if it does, which I think it does, we should all declare victory. If it does not, then we should be changing the law or changing the program.”

I think the Democrats do not want to find themselves, ala Murtha, forced into a vote on the issue. It’s all sort of moot, anyway since, thanks to the NY Times, the program has been completely compromised, quite likely to our detriment. That investigation should be in full swing, btw. It SHOULD be.

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