Monday, July 01, 2013
Do the politically powerful have special license to break the law?
by Larry Geller
In Hawaii, we have our politically powerful senators who (among others, no doubt) appear to escape penalties that might be applied to less-powerful others. On the national scene, we are watching politicians lie and get away with it as the NSA spy scandal unfolds. Not that we needed to wait for this particular moment to reflect on American injustice, just that it nicely illustrates the point: the politically powerful often seem to have an immunity of some kind from laws that should apply to all of us.
“James Clapper Is Still Lying”: That would be a more honest headline for yesterday’s big Washington Post article about the director of national intelligence’s letter to the U.S. Senate.
Clapper, you may recall, unequivocally said “no, sir” in response to Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., asking him: “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” Clapper’s response was shown to be a lie by Snowden’s disclosures, as well as by reports from the Guardian, the Washington Post, the Associated Press and Bloomberg News (among others). This is particularly significant, considering lying before Congress prevents the legislative branch from performing oversight and is therefore a felony.
[Slate, James Clapper is still lying to America, 7/1/2013]
It’s worth reading the entire article, but the question it places on the table clearly is whether Clapper will be prosecuted or will be given a pass?
We know the probable answer. Let’s face it, presidents lie all the time. Kissinger, Cheney, Bush—and others—still have not been prosecuted for war crimes.
Out of all people, [Obama] has to understand that equal protection under the law means treating Clapper (and Alexander, who also lied to Congress) exactly the same way his administration treated pitcher Roger Clemens. Otherwise, the message from the government would be that lying to Congress about baseball is more of a felony than lying to Congress about Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights.
President Obama should be concerned. According to NSA whisleblower Russell Tice the NSA was directed in 2006 to check emails and phones calls on then U.S. Senator Barack Obama by none other than Dick Cheney. This was on the Peter B. Collins free podcast dated 6/20/13.