[via MOCK, PAPER, SCISSOR]
GLENN GREENWALD: In his Press Conference yesterday, Commander-in-Chief George W. Bush candidly explained why he was so eager to have Congress grant amnesty to telecoms:
Allowing the lawsuits to proceed could aid our enemies, because the litigation process could lead to the disclosure of information about how we conduct surveillance.
The bit about Helping the Enemies is purely false, just standard Bush fear-mongering. Federal courts receive and rule on highly classified information with great regularity without any public “disclosure.” FISA (in 50 USC 1806(f)) specifically provides that secret information can be submitted to the Judge without even the other side having access to it. If — as the President suggested — courts can’t be trusted with national security secrets, then it would mean, just as he intends and just as much of the press has accepted, government officials are free to break the law in secret by claiming that national security concerns prevent courts from ruling on what they did.
In a Super Scary World, the need for secrecy outweighs all. But on a more important level, Bush is finally being candid about the real reason the administration is so desperate to have these surveillance lawsuits dismissed. It’s because those lawsuits are the absolute last hope for ever learning what the administration did when they spied on Americans for years in violation of the law. Dismissal via amnesty would ensure that their spying behavior stays permanently concealed, buried forever, and as importantly, that no court ever rules on the legality of what they did. Isn’t it striking how that implication of telecom amnesty is never discussed, and how little interest it generates among journalists — whose role, theoretically, is to uncover secret government actions? MORE