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April 22, 2009

Whistle-blower law for congress?

Do we need a whistle-blower law for congress?

In the last few days, following the torture memos release, we have had Senate reports released that provide further insight in the depth of illegality surrounding the decision and implementation of torture by the US.  Some Senators have called for the impeachment of Bybee, one of the memo authors.  And some had voted against Bybee's nomination to be a federal judge.  And they had seen some of those memos in the past as part of the classified intelligence briefings.  And presumably voted against Bybee because of them, but couldn't say so because they were classified materials.

One of the troubling elements in all this is some Senators and Representatives have known about these for quite some time.  Believed them to be unconstitutional, illegal, and in violation of treaties, but could not do anything about them.  To reveal them would be to disclose highly (if improperly) classified materials and subject themselves to legal action.  They would not be able to defend themselves because the materials are classified and the US would assert State Secrets and prevent their disclosure.  And you'd have a lone Senator fighting the entire administration and Department of Justice as well as the harpies of the right-wing in the Senate.

In this situation, our representatives seem to have no real choice for justice except to out-wait events, which is what they did, but which doesn't bring the events to an end, other circumstances did.  The election of Obams.  But if McCain had been elected president, the memos would still be hidden and classified.  And we'd still not know how bad it was.

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