I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and am now a journalist. I am the author of three New York Times bestselling books -- "How Would a Patriot Act" (a critique of Bush executive power theories), "Tragic Legacy" (documenting the Bush legacy), and With Liberty and Justice for Some (critiquing America's two-tiered justice system and the collapse of the rule of law for its political and financial elites). My fifth book - No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State - will be released on April 29, 2014 by Holt/Metropolitan.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Arlen Specter - resolute maverick or compliant pet?

I can't put my finger on exactly why this is the case, but there is something about this photograph -- showing Arlen Specter standing and grinning at George Bush's side yesterday at the White House ceremony when Bush signed the renewed Patriot Act into law -- that speaks volumes about whether it is rational to place one's hopes for a meaningful Congressional investigation into the NSA scandal on the shoulders of Arlen Specter:

As usual, the Leader is adorned with glorious Orwellian imagery - the "Protecting the Homeland" slogan embedded into the American flag. But the true revelation in the photograph, for me at least, is Specter. While we ought to press ahead with as much pressure and encouragement as possible directed towards Specter to follow through on his commitments to have the Judiciary Committee investigate the NSA scandal further, there's just something about this photograph that seems significant to me, and less than encouraging.


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