Saturday, July 08, 2006

What else is Bush hiding from the American people?

And from their representatives in Congress. It seems that even Republican Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a defender of both the NSA's domestic surveillance program and the Treasury Department's financial tracking program, has some concerns:

In a sharply worded letter to President Bush in May, an important Congressional ally charged that the administration might have violated the law by failing to inform Congress of some secret intelligence programs and risked losing Republican support on national security matters.

The letter from Representative Peter Hoekstra of Michigan... did not specify the intelligence activities that he believed had been hidden from Congress.

But Mr. Hoekstra... clearly was referring to programs that have not been publicly revealed.

(Emphasis added.)

Here's more from the letter: "I have learned of some alleged intelligence community activities about which our committee has not been briefed. If these allegations are true, they may represent a breach of responsibility by the administration, a violation of the law, and, just as importantly, a direct affront to me and the members of this committee who have so ardently supported efforts to collect information on our enemies."

And: "The U.S. Congress simply should not have to play Twenty Questions to get the information that it deserves under our Constitution."

No, it shouldn't. But that, we know, is not how the Bush Administration operates. It evidently wants to conduct the war on terror -- broadly defined, both at home and abroad -- without Congressional or judicial oversight. The Supreme Court recently pushed back, determining that enough is enough at least with respect to the treatment of Gitmo detainees, but the attack on the free press continues.

Obviously, the American people shouldn't know every last detail of the war on terror, but isn't it a problem for any free society when the press is threatened for reporting the truth and the people's representatives are kept in the dark by an executive that seeks to rule with an authoritarian hand? Indeed, isn't it the case that a society without a free press and without effective democratic representation isn't really free at all?

When even Peter Hoekstra has some concerns, you know something must be seriously wrong with what Bush is doing, and how he's doing it.

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