Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Congress failing in constitutional responsibility of oversight...
Lawmakers refused to provide oversight of controversial program nine years ago
Paul Joseph Watson
Congress insisted it be kept in the dark on the NSA surveillance programs recently revealed by Edward Snowden, according to Dick Cheney, who approached lawmakers with an invitation for them to provide more oversight back in 2004 but was told, “absolutely not”.
Speaking at a Washington think tank on U.S.-Korean affairs, the former Vice-President bragged about his involvement in setting up NSA programs shortly after 9/11 that snooped on email and phone records.
Cheney also revealed that when he approached Congressional leaders about whether they wished to provide oversight for the program three years after it began, they were “unanimous” that it should continue.
“I said, ‘Do you think we ought to come back to the Congress in order to get more formal authorization?’ and they said, ‘Absolutely not.’ Everybody, Republican and Democrat, said, ‘Don’t come back up here, it will leak’,” Cheney said.
Cheney’s claim that Snowden’s revelations have caused significant damage to US national security has been rejected by other top security experts, who assert that terrorists already assume their communications are under surveillance and are therefore unaffected by the information released by the whistleblower.
“The argument that this sweeping search must be kept secret from the terrorists is laughable. Terrorists already assume this sort of thing is being done. Only law-abiding American citizens were blissfully ignorant of what their government was doing,” said top counter-terrorism czar under Presidents Clinton and Bush – Richard Clarke.
The former head of the NSA’s global digital data gathering program, William Binney, also highlighted how mass NSA surveillance did nothing to prevent terrorism.
In addition, the claim that the program prevented terror attacks on targets such as Wall Street and the New York subway has also been debunked.
Cheney’s revelation that Congress was completely uninterested in learning about the PRISM program and other NSA snooping initiatives nine years before they caused a global scandal underscores how lawmakers are continually willing to give the federal government a blank check to abuse Constitutional rights.
Given the fact that Congress is not only failing to perform its duty of acting as a check and balance in providing oversight of federal government activity, but actually demanding its role be the opposite – a green light for unrestrained spying – is it any wonder that the Congressional job approval has been on a continual slide since 9/11?
A recent Rasmussen Reports survey found that just one percent of Americans think Congress is doing an excellent job and 5 percent think it’s doing a good job, figures that are well deserved given that lawmakers, besides a notable few, have completely abrogated their responsibility to keep the executive branch under scrutiny.