It is becoming increasingly clear the new Atty. Gen. is what we used to call "A Company Man". In his first OpEd Mukasey shows his true colors, removing any doubts whose boy he is. The rank dishonesty that shows through is appalling. He ignores many of the facts in his claims for the need immunity.
Second, it would provide protections from lawsuits for telecommunications companies that have been sued simply because they are believed to have assisted our intelligence agencies after the 9/11 attacks. The bill does not, as some have suggested, provide blanket immunity for those companies. Instead, a lawsuit would be dismissed only in cases in which the attorney general certified to the court either that a company did not provide assistance to the government or that a company had received a written request indicating that the activity was authorized by the president and determined to be lawful.
A FISA fix
The bold sentence shows just how dishonest Mukasey is willing to be. The Telecoms are not being sued "simply because they are believed to have assisted our intelligence agencies after the 9/11 attacks", not by a long shot. They are being sued because they broke the law, something the US Atty. Gen. is charged with prosecuting. Instead here he is misrepresenting the facts right out the gate. Back in Sept. Glenn Greenwald wrote in depth about how wrong this kind of perspective is. Here is his first major objection.
First, retroactive immunity turns the "rule of law" into an even greater mockery than it has been for the last six years. The central premise in granting immunity is that telecom companies did nothing wrong -- even if they violated the law -- because they cooperated with warrantless spying at the behest of the President.
But we don't actually live in a country where private actors are permitted to commit crimes and violate laws provided that the President tells them that they should. The President has no greater power to authorize others to break the law than he does to break the law himself. Quite the contrary, Article II of the Constitution imposes the opposite obligation: "he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." Lawbreaking is still illegal even if George Bush says it should be done.
Sadly, that principle has escaped many in Congress, both Right and Left. They actually seem to totally ignore that principle if they sit on the Sen. Intel. Comm., whose bill give the Bush admin., and the Telecoms everything they want. The bill they voted out at 13 to 2 gives away the farm and the Bill of Rights. Our Chairman Rockefeller, and Dianne Fienstein, two elitists that have done nothing to rein Bushs abuses, voted for the Immunity. Surprised ? Me neither even tho "Judge Anna Diggs Taylor (ruled) that Bush's warrantless eavesdropping activities violated both federal criminal law and the U.S. Constitution. Shameless.
AG Mukasey goes even further in his sellout when he asserts it is just plain "unfair" to make the Telecoms accountable for the Laws they broke, and the Civil Rights they violated. If this wasn't so serious it would be laughable.
It is unfair to force such companies to face the possibility of massive judgments and litigation costs, and allowing these lawsuits to proceed also risks disclosure of our country's intelligence capabilities to our enemies. Moreover, in the future we will need the full-hearted help of private companies in our intelligence activities; we cannot expect such cooperation to be forthcoming if we do not support companies that have helped us in the past.
This paragraph is so misleading coming from someone who sat on the Bench, it should give us all pause. If this is the type of reasoning Mukasey has employed in the past when passing judgement, he should never of been made AG. To claim the Telecoms could, and would refuse to help their country or that they would refuse to follow a legal Court Order, ordering that they help is disingenuous at best, a total lie at worse. Glenn's third point about why the Immunity should not be allowed may be the most important one. Since he says it better than I could, here it is.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, a Congressional grant of immunity for past lawbreaking would amount to a bipartisan endorsement of Bush's illegal eavesdropping program. To remove consequences for illegal behavior is, by definition, to approve of that behavior. Laws with no consequences for violations are meaningless. And those who seek to shield lawbreakers from accountability are endorsing the lawbreaking. http://www.salon.com/...
Back in Oct. FireDogLake posted this video on UTUBE, where Glenn lays out the beginnings of some actions the ACLU, Moveon, WorkingAssets, and others are taking. These different Bills and amendments are coming up for a vote very very soon, and it's time to really swing into action. Please take the 3 mins., and watch the video.
Mukasey barely touchs the blanket warrants he and Bush want that will allow them to scoop up the calls, and emails of Americans overseas without having to go to court. There as already been tons written about this issue, but Glenn has written what I think is the clearest so I encourage you to click on the Salon link and read everything he has written on the subject. It is coming down to the wire on this, and we simply cannot allow ourselves to be railroaded into accepting and condoning the giving away of our civil rights, and the lawbreaking of this Admin. The time is now, will you join in the actions needed or will you allow our party's leaders to bendover one more time ? I've made my choice, have you ?
Postscript: You don't think the timing of this OpEd could be to distract us from the current Missing Waterboarding Tapes do you ? Nahhh, they would never do something like that.