I hear that Sens. Rockefeller and Roberts are now in an escalating press release over the NSA intercept story.
Roberts says that contrary to what Rockefeller says in his letter released yesterday, there were many things he could have done if he didn’t think the NSA program was appropriate or legal. But he didn’t do any of them. Roberts even says that Rockefeller expressed support for the program in subsequent classified briefings.
As readers of this site know, Roberts has a pretty good history of fibbing when the White House requires it. But we also have no brief for Sen. Rockefeller. For years he was far too passive on the Iraq WMD front, though he’s been getting action of late on the Niger business — about which we’ll say more later.
So let me toss out of a few questions. Exactly who else got the briefing that Rockefeller did? I assume it was limited to the leaders of each body and the chair and ranking members of the intel committees. How much ability did Rockefeller have to get the rest of the senate intel committee to take the matter up? Who else was he legally permitted to communicate with about this?
Let’s get the specifics on the table. Let the chips fall where they may. Whatever you think of this program, oversight is essential in such a case. Let’s get the details.