When Congress returns in September the Intelligence committees and leaders in both parties will need to complete work on the comprehensive reforms requested by Director McConnell, including the important issue of providing meaningful liability protection to those who are alleged to have assisted our Nation following the attacks of September 11, 2001.Jack Balkin:
Note the key item on this wish list: legal immunity for having participated in the illegal NSA program.
I particularly love the phrase "alleged to have assisted our Nation." In his letter to Congress the other day Intelligence Director Michael McConnell spoke of "liability protection for those who are alleged to have helped the country stay safe after September 11, 2001." Apparently "allegedly helped us stay safe" is Bush Administration code for telecom companies and government officials who participated in a conspiracy to perform illegal surveillance. Because what they did is illegal, we do not admit that they actually did it, we only say that they are alleged to have done it. Or perhaps the Administration is suggesting that although such parties are alleged to have helped the country stay safe, there's no evidence that their repeated violations of federal law actually did much to promote our security. No, they couldn't mean that.