Saturday, March 31, 2007

Another C-SPAN Weekend

As I'm watching a repeat of Tuesday's FBI Senate Oversight Committee hearing, I'm struck by the lack of partisanship that was demonstrated by Senators Spector, Leahey, Hatch and Feinstein as they interrogated FBI Director Mueller about recent instances of the FBI overstepping boundaries of Civil Liberties.

The Senators were all very direct, concise, and professional, leaving very little room for personal opinions and disparaging innuendo of political opponents sitting on the committee. I could say there were no verbal shots fired between any of the committee members and I was very impressed. There were noted disagreements, but they were all within the range of proper debate procedural etiquette.

On the other hand, at the Congressional Oversight hearing of the General Services Administration (GSA), questions were partially directed to the witnesses, but the bulk of the hearing consisted of partisan criticism and insulting innuendo that basically soiled the overall reputation of the House of Representatives.

FBI Director Mueller was shockingly proactive and honest in his responses. Not only did he immediately accept responsibility for the actions of those for whom he is responsible, he noted directly where the missteps took place

Senator Grassley laid all his cards on the table. He brought up the fact that a conversation between a white supremacist group and a middle-eastern terror suspect was illegally recorded, and then later covered up the fact that they recorded it. He also brought up that a special agent blew the whistle on illegal activities in the bureau and was subsequently retaliated against.

In the end, though, Senator Grassley was courteous and respectful toward the Director. Director Mueller in the end said that all the information obtained by the FBI was legal, but that it was just the "vehicle" used to obtain the information that was questionable.
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