Weekend Watchdog Wrap-Up

Bill Scher

The Sunday shows strike out again for the Watchdog.

Not only did Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace fail to press Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell on the White House support for immunity for telecom companies that allegedly violated consumer privacy at the White House’s behest. But instead, seemed to help McConnell make the argument that the White House needs to be able to press companies break the law.

WALLACE: Isn’t the central issue here that you’ve lost your power to compel telecommunications companies to cooperate with you and also your ability to offer them legal immunity?

Again, the Democrats would say, “Look, if the cooperation is legal, they don’t need legal immunity.”

MCCONNELL: Exactly right. The issue now is there’s uncertainty because the law has expired and the law of August, the Protect America Act, allowed us to compel — compel — support from a private carrier. That’s now expired.

So we can make an argument to a court but, you see, that makes my point. If I’m in court arguing for an authorization, then I’m missing a dynamic situation.

WALLACE: So just to summarize this, how — would you say that the country is in great — greater danger now of terrorist attack because this law has expired?

MCCONNELL: Increased danger, and it will increase more and more as time goes on.

Note that there is evidence that the Bush White House was pressing companies to break the law months before 9/11, calling into question how much this wiretapping effort has to do with counter-terrorism.

Over on ABC’s This Week, Sen. John McCain was not asked how he can credibly attack others for not running on “sound and proven ideas” when he has no ideas about poverty on his campaign web site.

McCain did manage to say “hope” three times.

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