"Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) is introducing a measure that would force a House vote on whether or not to require the Bush administration to release controversial secret reports by the intelligence community on Iraq and terrorism.
The measure would call for the release of both the secret April 2006 report, known as a National Intelligence Estimate, that is said to conclude the Iraq war has increased the danger of terrorism, as well as a separate classified report on the state of Iraq first mentioned by Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) in comments this morning."
"Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., recognizes how profoundly dangerous and -- as he rightly says -- "un-American" are the powers of indefinite detention to be bestowed on President Bush by the pending interrogation legislation. His whole statement (via Corrente), made before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, ought to be read in its entirety, but here is one of the critical excerpts:"Today we are belatedly addressing the single most consequential provision of this much-discussed bill, a provision that can be found buried on page 81 of the proposed bill. This provision would perpetuate the indefinite detention of hundreds of individuals against whom the government has brought no charges and presented no evidence, without any recourse to justice whatsoever. That is un-American, and it is contrary to American interests.I doubt there is any bill enacted in recent history that explicitly vests such tyrannical powers in the president."
"Going forward, the bill departs even more radically from our most fundamental values. It would permit the president to detain indefinitely -- even for life -- any alien, whether in the United States or abroad, whether a foreign resident or a lawful permanent resident, without any meaningful opportunity for the alien to challenge his detention. The administration would not even need to assert, much less prove, that the alien was an enemy combatant; it would suffice that the alien was "awaiting [a] determination" on that issue. In other words, the bill would tell the millions of legal immigrants living in America, participating in American families, working for American businesses, and paying American taxes, that our government may at any minute pick them up and detain them indefinitely without charge, and without any access to the courts or even to military tribunals, unless and until the government determines that they are not enemy combatants."
"If large and important parts of the NIE can be safely declassified and known by the American public, why were they classified in the first place? And why have they been kept classified since April? Obviously, the NIE is being declassified now only because the White House needs a political defense to the New York Times article reporting that the NIE concluded that the war in Iraq worsened the terrorist threat. But it is really amazing just how transparent the White House is being about the fact that it routinely conceals information as "classified" not because it is secret but because it is politically damaging. What other explanation even theoretically accounts for this behavior?"
"I mean, the United States is a peculiarly insular society in which the reference points are very much internal. If a Republican senator or congressman isn't saying something, then it's very difficult to say it and have it be heard"
"Another thing I thought about is how much things have changed with how national tragedies are handled. If Lincoln were assassinated today, guys in suits would swear everyone in the theater to secrecy, burn down the theater, blame it on a foreign enemy and start a war. Back then, everyone knew who did it and why, and the perpetrators met swift justice. Story over."
* whatever happened to Leopold's scoop that was sposed to appear a couple of weeks ago?