Retroactive amnesty seems like a strange gift for an administration that has successfully stonewalled every attempt to investigate it:
[T]he Specter bill would grant blanket amnesty to anyone who authorized warrantless surveillance under presidential authority, a provision that seems to ensure that no one would be held criminally liable if the current program is found illegal under present law.
The proposed bill also contains what is now, sadly, only the second-most-ridiculous thing I have ever heard a “respectable” member of Congress propose. Glenn Greenwald explains:
A law which makes it “an option” — rather than a requirement — for the Government to obtain a warrant before eavesdropping is about as meaningless of a law as can be imagined.
Read the whole post at Greenwald’s. If you’re from PA consider calling Arlen Specter’s DC office at (202) 224-4254 to find out what the hell he’s been smoking, or you can find his local offices here. Keep in mind that he is not seeking reelection so very likely the only voter he cares about is the guy who chooses whether he keeps his committee chair – Bill Frist.
From the WaPo article, the crux of the whole story:
Specter’s bill, introduced yesterday at a committee meeting, was a compromise worked out with Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and designed to gather enough Republican support so it can be taken to the floor for a vote.
Specter’s stated goal has always been to find a way to get the President to follow the law. Apparently the idea of making the law harder to break proved such an insurmountable obstacle in today’s Republican caucus that Specter had to change course. Instead of bringing the president to the law, just bring the law to the president! In a jaded sort of way that makes sense – if you write into law the old Nixonian adage that whatever the president does (or in this case, did) is by definition legal, then you have practically guaranteed that the president will follow the law. How can he not?
Way to go, Arlen.