Also via Avedon, Jay Rockefeller, Democratic Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman, lies to try to get the Get Out of Jail Free Act passed for the telecom companies who helped the Bush administration illegally spy on Americans without warrants, from its beginning (it turns out that the Bush administration – and this is true, I am not making this up – actually began on some date before September 11th, 2001*).
Anyway, Glenn Greenwald** has some thoughts on the matter:
And that really brings us to the heart of the matter. Rockefeller, Hiatt and their friends plainly see themselves — along with the telecom executives and lobbyists who flatter and feast them and are their peers and colleagues and friends — as our elite vanguard. They know best, and when they break the law, it is for our own good. “Laws” are for the masses, to keep social order, to ensure that the Rockefellers and Hiatts can rule in peace and telecom executives can develop their extremely profitable relationships with government agencies without being bothered by “unfair” disruptions, such as court proceedings when they break the law.
“Punishment” for lawbreaking is not for them. Rockefeller — with his wise and genetically implanted noblesse oblige — has looked at everything in Secret and knows that there was nothing wrong here. And that’s all we need to know. We should place faith in his Judgment that there need be no further examination of what his telecom contributors did. No court proceedings or judges need look at any of this because Jay Rockefeller has adjudged, in secret with Dick Cheney, that telecoms should be protected. Just marvel at these self-loving, patronizing assurances:
Over the past year, the Senate intelligence committee has examined this issue, along with the need to bring the warrantless surveillance program within the law. We closely studied the facts, the documents and the alternatives to liability for the companies. Ultimately, we concluded that if we subject companies to lawsuits when doing so is patently unfair, we will forfeit industry as a crucial tool in our national defense. . . .
Unfortunately, immunity for communications companies has become a cause celebre for opponents of the surveillance program as a whole, and that has led to widespread confusion.
The growing anger over efforts to protect lawbreaking telecoms is nothing more than a “cause celebre.” We’re just “confused,” misdirecting our unbridled, unsophisticated rage to the poor, innocent telecoms. It is up to the Serious Rulers — Rockefeller and Hiatt and Cheney and Jamie Gorelick — to protect these executives from the wild masses who are starting to become restless with their childish, confused ideas about how telecoms shouldn’t be given license to break what we used to call “the law.”
Now why would a legislator, of all people, argue in favor of selective disregard of the law? I can’t think of any reason.
*Although it has not yet been disproved that 9/11/01 is the date that Rudy Giuliani sprang like Athena, fully-formed, from the end of a policeman’s baton.
**Humming to myself, “Oh, no! There goes NRO! Go, go Glennzilla!”