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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Friday, July 14, 2006

I've Got a Secret

It appears Arlen Specter is looking to go back to the '50s (at least in terms of game show mentality) with his unique "compromise" for determining the legality of the Bush administration's wiretap program.

Simply put: let a secret court decide and keep its ruling a secret.

No one is questioning the right of the American government to use covert methods to search for REAL enemies. That's what the FISA court exists for in the first place -- despite the administration's decision to sidestep it.

It is even reasonable to accept that its business remain secret. Telling is whether or not this or that warrant (you know, 4th Amendment stuff) is legal could hamper the business of tracking down REAL enemies.

I even buy the idea of allowing this court to determine the legality of the administration plan. But to allow it to keep its decision secret? Who is protected? Not the REAL enemy. And let's face it. A favorable ruling would be leaked in a heartbeat by an administration that views secrets as something only they can dole out like candy.

I'm a big enough person to take the bad news if the court were to rule everything Bush has done is illegal. Why isn't the administration big enough to handle a public chastising if it is wrong?

The proposal is pure Specter: he's a lot of strong talk who, in the end, caves to the bullies on the right.

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