Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Hagel Says "Investigate," Votes Against Investigation

This is the text of a letter I wrote to the editor of the World Herald today. Since it probably won't make it in, here it is...

As a Nebraskan, I’ve been proud that one of our Senators was willing to fulfill his role as a legislator and act, as the Founders envisioned, as a check on the power of the executive branch. When it was discovered that the President had ordered surveillance that plainly violated federal law, Senator Hagel even wrote a letter to the President stating that “it is critical that Congress determine, as quickly as possible, exactly what collection activities were authorized… how many names and numbers were involved over what period, and what was the asserted legal authority for such activities. In sum, we must determine the facts.” However, while Senator Hagel’s words made it appear as if he was concerned about “the facts,” yesterday he voted against investigating the warrantless eavesdropping program. In short, while Hagel said he wanted to “determine the facts” he voted against investigating them, even when his vote would have tilted the Senate Intelligence Committee’s 8-7 vote in favor of an investigation. Whatever your political party is, a President’s violation of a federal law is a serious matter if our government is to remain one “of laws and not of men” as Lincoln so eloquently stated. Just as the “facts” need to “be determined” about the extent of the Bush Administration’s domestic surveillance program, Senator Hagel needs to explain why he says investigation is essential and then votes against authorizing it. In short, Senator Hagel was for the investigation before he was against it and an opportunity for him to demonstrate leadership was buried, along with the “facts” about whether you are being illegally spied on as part of the “war on terror.”

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