NSA leak/Jefferson/Congress, Whaaa?

Okay, this is just getting too interesting…or too confusing, I can’t decide which.

Here’s Mac’s Mind, this morning:

(Quoting CNN) The FBI wants to interview top members of Congress from both parties about the leak to The New York Times concerning the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance program, sources told CNN.

The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call first reported that the FBI wanted to question federal legislators as part of its probe. The sources do not know if any members have been interviewed yet.

And here is AJ Strata:

In a rare instance of using Raw Story as a source, we get some possible details beyond CNN’s reporting:

Those being targeted for interviews include GOP and Democratic leaders, as well as the chairmen and ranking member of the Intelligence committee. Altogether, 15 senior Members and Senators were briefed about the existence of the NSA program before the Times first disclosed it in a Dec. 16 article, according to briefing records released last week by John Negroponte, director of the Office of National Intelligence.


Interesting information. The domain of possible leakers is 15 people across the House and Senate. Interesting this information came from Negroponte briefs.

Continues AJ: The desire to interview, and then possibly later seize records and documents, is why Hastert is on the wrong side of this issue. And it explains why Bush is giving Hastert and company 45 days to think this through. Congressional leadership must know, if the leakers are in Congress, there will be precendent set in terms of bringing Senators and Representatives to justice for these leaks. The question is will they circle the imperial wagons are do what is right for the nation. The Jefferson situation is simple and obvious. The subject of NSA leaks is not so clear and clean (because accidental leaks do occur).[...]As I read further it is obvious the Jefferson issue became wrapped up in the NSA investigation:

A House Intelligence Committee official said discussions are going on between congressional officials and the Justice Department and FBI about the interviews.

“The full scope of this is still being negotiated between all sides,” the official said. “There are a broad range of issues to consider. There are constitutional separation of power issues that have to be resolved.”

The real issue is stopping the law breakers, not whether Congess has unique rights above other Americans under the 4th Amendment.

Wheels within wheels?

I don’t think the president would take the action he has were it not necessary. I know, I know, the right is doing the pop-eyed, crazed screech right now, but I think a wait-and-see approach might be best. Dennis Hastert made a stupid move yesterday, but maybe an important one…if a lids are about to start flying from congressional, intelligence and media cans, then Bush may be making a prudent move.

I still want Hastert and Jefferson out, though! :-) Meanwhile, Ed Morrissey is somewhat flabbergasted at how feckless congress really is. So am I. Flabbergasted, I mean…not feckless.

Never mind! :-)

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Sigmund Carl and Alfred

    There is an argument that can be made for the seperation of powers, for better otr worse (that said, I think AJ is right).

    Nevertheless, a COngressman caught in a criminal act, should be afforded no such protections.

    In fact, as representatives of the people and paid by the people, the loaws governing behavior in Congress ought to be more strict.

    When a loaded Kennedy is able to invoke a priviledge that precludes him from being arrested because ‘he was on the way to a vote,’ there is a problem on more than ome level.

    Firstly, my representative better not be drinking of he has a vote to attend to. In fact, intoxication on the floor of the House ought to be an impeachable offense. A second infraction should mean automatic dismissal. THE NATIONS BUSINESS IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN A LIQUID LUNCH.

    Secondly, if my represenatative commits a crime on the way to a vote, I WANT him arrested!

    The rules pertaining to not impedeing a house member on his way to a vote was written so that various militia would not preclude him from casting a ballot. The Founding Fathers would no doubt be displeased with a memeber claiming immunity on his way back from committing a CRIME.