Friday, February 17, 2006

"Pat Roberts no longer serves Kansas"

Sen. Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, got beaten up pretty good today by The New York Times editorial page.
Is there any aspect of President Bush's miserable record on intelligence that Senator Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is not willing to excuse and help to cover up?

Mr. Roberts is trying to stop an investigation into Mr. Bush's decision to allow the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans without getting the warrants required by a 27-year-old federal law enacted to stop that sort of abuse.

Mr. Roberts had promised to hold a committee vote yesterday on whether to investigate. But he canceled the vote, and then made two astonishing
announcements. He said he was working with the White House on amending the 1978 law, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, to permit warrantless spying.
And then he suggested that such a change would eliminate the need for an inquiry.
Taking a licking from a moderate (some say liberal) New York newspaper shouldn’t be surprising for the Kansas Republican. But what is a shock – and what should worry the heck out of the once-popular senator – is that some of his own constituents are hopping mad about his latest antics as a Bush apologist.

The Hutchinson News, published in a conservative town of about 41,000, today editorialized about its fury at Roberts. The Hutch News called Roberts “nothing but a cheerleader for the Bush White House.”
Sen. Pat Roberts no longer serves Kansas. He represents the president. Roberts said Sunday that as commander in chief, the president possesses constitutional authority that "rises above any law passed by the Congress."…

Roberts shortchanged his Kansas constituents. If no one else asked about the president's authority to secretly wiretap Americans, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee had an obligation to clarify the issue.

But he didn't. He simply accepted the president's position without question.

[P]rotecting civil liberties and preserving a balance of power among the three branches of government do not matter to Roberts. Nor, in the end, do his constituents.

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