What seems par for the course in America, after a serious trauma affects the nation such as the Kennedy assassination or 9/11 or now over revelations of government wrongdoing exposed by Edward Snowden's whistleblowing of the NSA's collection of electronic communications of just about everyone here and abroad, what usually happens is the president calls for a commission to investigate.
Call it something to soothe the public's anguish, (Kennedy and 9/11) or indignation over violation of people's privacy rights (NSA) but in reality these commissions are a sideshow, a diversionary tactic where the investigation isn't thorough and complete and the truth behind the wrongdoing is far from being discovered.
As to the latest commission, a presidential task force looking into the NSA's data mining operation, has recently concluded there is no evidence in any instance where the NSA's snooping operations prevented a terrorist attack. None!
But even so this task force's investigation was too limited in scope and wouldn't go near the question of whether the NSA's activities violated the Constitution's 4 th Amendment protection against the government's illegal search and seizure.
Yet now we're hearing many of Obama's closest advisors are embracing the idea that one of the NSA's data collection programs could have prevented the 9/11 attacks if the government at the time had the vast storage of telephone records it holds now. No surprise; when in a pinch always play the 9/11 terrorism card.
Though President Obama has yet to make his judgment known, need we guess what the final outcome will be? More on that a little later.
Looking back in time the closest example of a real investigation by government these old eyes have witnessed were the hearings held by then Senator Sam Irvin of North Carolina in 1972 and 73 over President Nixon's involvement in the Watergate scandal. Irvin's hearings and the likelihood of Nixon's impeachment in the House and conviction in the Senate forced him to resign.
Shortly thereafter, then Senator Frank Church of Idaho held hearings about the governments clandestine surveillance activities, (including the NSA) at the time and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the FISA Court was born in 1978 to oversee and approve specific requests to wiretap suspects with evidence presented justifying the government's actions. That was then.
Some 36 years later we now know the FISA Court has essentially become a rubber stamp for the government spooks to do as they please as almost all requests are approved without dissent and no oversight of the Court's decisions.
Then with Bush after 9/11, his mob decided to just bi-pass the FISA Court entirely and warrantless wiretapping became the norm.
Now the Snowden revelations about the NSA have shook the current administration to the core as trust in the U.S. government intentions from friend and foe alike is at an all time low.
So what else, there's a call for a presidential commission to investigate.
But really, there's never been a presidential commission that did a thorough, no holds barred investigation of every aspect, every possible witness whether it was the Warren Commission Report on the Kennedy assassination or the presidential commission investigating 9/11.
Both reports were dubious in their findings and left more questions than they answered.
From here, these commission type investigations were never intended to get to the bottom of what really happened and who were the real perpetrators.
And now we have the latest presidential commission looking into the NSA's massive secret data collecting operations.
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