Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Newsflash! F. Jim Attempts Oversight

Late last week Attorney General Alberto Gonzales testified before the House Judiciary Committee. During that testimony Gonzales suggested that the administration could decide it was legal to listen in on a domestic call without supervision if it were related to al-Qaeda. Previously they were only spying on calls coming from outside of the country to someone in the US.

Needless to say, many members of the Judiciary Committee were disturbed by Gonzales comments and tried to ask more detailed questions of him. Gonzales refused to answer several questions about how the program was authorized, which angered several committee members. What shocked me was F. Jim Sensenbrenner's comments to the Attorney General. This from the Washington Post story on the hearing:

The criticism from both parties continued yesterday. At one point during Gonzales's testimony, Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (Wis.), the committee's Republican chairman, accused the attorney general of "stonewalling" for refusing to discuss how the NSA program was authorized.

"I think that saying that how the review was done and who did the review is classified is stonewalling," Sensenbrenner said. "And if we're properly to determine whether or not the program was legal and funded -- because that's Congress's responsibility -- we need to have answers, and we're not getting them."
Wow, could this actually be F. Jim attempting to conduct some oversight of this administration? It seems that F. Jim has not been willing to do this in previous Bush years. What has finally inspired him to do his job? Election year? Falling poll numbers? Crisis of conscience? I don't know, but let's hope that this was not just a freak thing that happened. Let's hope it is a sign of things to come.

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