Senator Chris Dodd is up now in the Senate talking about telecom immunity. He's on fire!
He is outraged at Mike McConnell's statement that we cannot allow the telecoms to be subject to suits because it might bankrupt the telecoms.
DODD: "This is one of the massive violations against our privacy ever. Massive scale abuse and why no corporation can be above the law."
I do not know how long he will be talking here. I missed the opening.
He is going to "spend a few minutes" here reviewing failures.
First Argument. Whether or not the president can grant immunity.
Dodd: It's for the courts to decide, not the president. This is basic 101 government.
What will happen in the future if we allow the president to get his way? What conclusion will future congresses think of what we have done? That we agree with the president.
Nothing is as important as this, that we allow the courts to decide.
Not a small vote tomorrow. It's as important as anything we can ever do here.
Don't forget the administration said we want total immunity for everybody, the administration, the Justice Department, the telecoms, everyone! But the intelligence community refused. What more do you need to know what the motives are?
This is not a minor matter. They wanted to immunize themselves. Self-preservation.
Third Argument: that it is only foreign communications.
Authenticated information contradicts that claim. Every communication foreign and domestic for an over five year period.
Third or Fourth Argument: Lack of immunity would jeapardize compliance by telecoms with the government.
Dodd: they would not have the choice. They would be compelled with a court order. No such luxury to refuse. They have no law suits anyhow, by law, with compliance by warrant.
This therefore has no basis in fact. Only five were rejected out of 18,000 orders over 30 years.
Seventh Argument: Security clearances.
DODD: We have already had extensive-- 40 cases-- litigation, and no sensitive information has been leaked.
It is a red herring, this argument. A phoney argument.
Eighth Argument: That the telecoms will suffer a reputational damage.
Dodd: No evidence that it has reduced the customer base of the telecoms.
They should be embarrassed to make such an argument. There is no damage if they have done nothing wrong. If they have the courts will determine that.
Ninth Argument: That the telecoms will be bankrupt.
Dodd: That suits can only go forward if damages would bankrupt them, this is a ridiculous argument because it would put corporations above the law.
This is the most serious invasion of privacy inour country's history ever.
Reject immunity or allow lawlessness.
Leave it up to the courts to decide guilt or innocence.
We cannot close the case in Congress, without a decision by the courts. My trust is in the courts. Judge and juries are our pride, not our embarrassment.
Our answer to lawlessness is the American Way of Justice.
I'm full of hope on this dark evening here.
He reads quote about RULE OF LAW that inspired his passion on this issue. (Nuremberg reference, Robert Jackson.)
A handful of people said, no summary executions. The Nuremberg individuals will have their day in court. From that we gained our moral high ground. A day in court. I just can't believe that this country at this hour would walk away from the rule of law.
To watch this country stepping away from the rule of law when for so many years we championed it. Today, in this body, walking away.....it's a dark hour. My hope is that tomorrow reason will prevail. We should reject this. Law should rule. The idea is that the Constitution is not yet suspended. We would be walking in the footprints of the enemy we despise. We will have to answer for it if we allow this to happen.
My daughters are growing up now....someday soon I will hear that question: What did you do? That is coming to every single one of us. Someday they will read the story of a great nation....the virtues...and then they will read how that nation may have lost its way. We cannot unspeak Gonzoles's disgraceful statements, we cannot block things out...
But we can start. The U.S. Senate can say: "Enough is enough."