Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) talked a big game about standing on principle and demanding a congressional investigation of Bush’s warrantless domestic surveillance.
Revelations that the U.S. government has conducted domestic electronic surveillance without express legal authority indeed warrants Congressional examination. I believe the Congress – as a coequal branch of government – must immediately and expeditiously review the use of this practice.
Hagel and four other members of the Intelligence Committee have called for a joint probe with the Senate Judiciary Committee to determine the extent of the domestic surveillance and whether the president had legal authority to order it without court approval…Asked about Vice President Dick Cheney’s warning that Bush’s critics could pay a heavy political price, Hagel said: “My oath is to the Constitution, not to a vice president, a president or a political party.”
Yesterday, when it counted, both Senators folded. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) introduced a motion to start an investigation. Snowe and Hagel, after an intense lobbying campaign by Vice President Cheney, sided with Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and voted to adjourn the committee without even considering Rockefeller’s motion. The motion to adjourn passed on a party-line vote.
Actions speak louder than words.