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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/11/08

John Dean: Congress is "a bunch of wusses"

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When John Dean, author and former White House Counsel to President Richard Nixon, appeared Wednesday on Rob Kall's radio show (mp3), he seemed willing to go further in his condemnations of current government than he has when appearing on Olberman or any of the mainstream shows on which he is a regular guest.

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In fact, Rob's very first question about Dean's take on Congress immunizing telecoms with the passage of FISA amendments drew a refreshingly, honestly coarse answer from Dean, who bluntly said, "Well, it looks like we have a bunch of wusses up there on Capitol Hill, not much interested in civil liberties and very interested in C.Y.A." 

Dean contends that the immunity given to telecoms by the bill is "merely civil immunity" which does not immunize anyone from criminal prosecution, including telecoms. But he says, "Whether a Democratic administration would have the guts to ever prosecute anybody for any of this is another story."

Mr. Dean said he also questions whether Congress' immunization of telecoms for past crimes is even Constitutionally permissable. He says, "It's possible that a court could rule that Congress doesn't have the power, in the middle of a case that's being litigated to take away jurisdiction from the federal courts." Which makes a lot of sense. I can envision a judge having some objection to Congress changing the rules in the middle of the game and telling him that the judicial branch has no say in a case that he is currently hearing. That just might piss a federal judge plum off.

When Rob Kall asked about Dean's thoughts on law professor Johnathan Turley's statement on Olberman that President Bush has committed felonies 30 times by reauthorizing the illegal surveillance programs, Dean said he hadn't heard of Turley's remarks, but he made it very clear where he stands on Turley's judgement compared to George W. Bush's:

"If he says that Bush has violated the law 30 times, I'd put my money on Turley."

Rob then asked a question that I had suggested for Mr. Dean: What about the illegal wiretapping that occured before 9/11? Dean said he didn't know whether there was evidence of that. "Who knows if we'll ever know what they were doing?" Dean asked rhetorically.

But there is evidence. And lots of it.

Since the spineless Congress has decided to betray everything that was ever held sacred to American justice by waving its hand and making the felonies of criminal telecoms after 9/11 disappear, we now have to concentrate on what everyone already knows but hasn't talked much about.

A January 2006 article on Truthout, Bush Authorized Domestic Spying Before 9/11, states:

The National Security Agency advised President Bush in early 2001 that it had been eavesdropping on Americans during the course of its work monitoring suspected terrorists and foreigners believed to have ties to terrorist groups, according to a declassified document.

The NSA's vast data-mining activities began shortly after Bush was sworn in as president and the document contradicts his assertion that the 9/11 attacks prompted him to take the unprecedented step of signing a secret executive order authorizing the NSA to monitor a select number of American citizens thought to have ties to terrorist groups.

The document says that in its 2001 report entitled "Transition 2001," the NSA said, ""Make no mistake, NSA can and will perform its missions consistent with the Fourth Amendment and all applicable laws."

Then adds that "senior leadership must understand that the NSA's mission will demand a 'powerful, permanent presence' on global telecommunications networks that host both 'protected' communications of Americans and the communications of adversaries the agency wants to target."

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JC Garrett is a freelance writer and Constitutional scholar from the piney-woods of East Texas. Mr. Garrett owns and operates an independent recording studio, plays several instruments, writes, sings, and produces music. His stories have (more...)
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