Some U.S. senators are being briefed today (Thursday) on the Bush administration’s efforts to monitor certain phone calls and e-mails involving suspected terrorists. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat, is -not- part of the initial briefings and says the White House’s move is too little, too late. Harkin says “More disclosure of information to policyholders like us here is always a step in the right direction but the fact is that it’s clear, incontrovertible, that this president broke the law.” He says liberties are being abused under the auspices it’s fighting terrorism — and it’s illegal.
Harkin says “The Ford Intelligence Surveillance Act is quite clear. The fourth Amendment to the Constitution is quite clear. I would go a step farther. Not only did the president break the law, he violated the Constitution of the United States and we’ve gotta’ do whatever we can to bring that to light.”
The White House has been under pressure from Congress to release more details on the secret, warrantless program which the administration defends as necessary to smoke out terrorists. Harkin disagrees. Harkin says it wouldn’t do any good to pass a new law on the issue because “What good does it do to pass a law if the president just ignores it? This is really leading almost to a crisis in our government, a constitutional crisis, when you have a president who says he doesn’t even have to abide by the Constitution.”