Via Glenn Greenwald
, we learn that once again, when Republicans can't follow the rules, they change them:
Frist specifically threatened that if the Committee holds NSA hearings, he will fundamentally change the 30-year-old structure and operation of the Senate Intelligence Committee so as to make it like every other Committee, i.e., controlled and dominated by Republicans to advance and rubber-stamp the White House's agenda rather than exercise meaningful and nonpartisan oversight.
I mentioned in an earlier post that it looks like Rockefeller has enough votes to pass a motion to investigate the illegal domestic spying. The vote is scheduled for March 7th. Harry Reid wrote Frist a letter to warn him that he wouldn't tolerate any stonewalling in the committee. Apparently, Frist doesn't like being told to follow the rules. From Frist's letter (pdf) :
I am increasingly concerned that the Senate Intelligence Committee is unable to its critically important oversight and threat assessment responsibilities due to stifling partisanship that is exhibited by repeated calls by Democrats on the Committee to conduct politically-motivated investigations. . . .
I would propose that we meet with Senators Roberts and Rockefeller as soon as possible. The Committee was established and structured to reflect the Senate's desire for bipartisanship, and to the maximum extent possible, nonpartisan oversight of our nation's intelligence activities. If attempts to use the committee's charter for political purposes exist, we may have to simply acknowledge that nonpartisan oversight, while a worthy aspiration, is simply not possible. If we are unable to reach agreement, I believe we must consider other options to improve the Committee's oversight capabilities, to include restructuring the Committee so that it is organized and operated like most Senate Committees.
"Operate like most Senate Committees" is code for "controlled by rubber-stamp Republicans and no minority rights." Frist is threatening that if the Democrats demand the President be held accountable for breaking the law, then he'll just change the law to silence them. Typical Republican maneuver, to be sure, but the frequency of the tactic doesn't diminish its repulsiveness.
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