Tuesday, July 31, 2012

oversight vs. fishing

I'm a strong advocate of vigorous congressional oversight of our military and intelligence operations. That's why I was pleased recently to read of the degree of oversight of our drone operations.

What's happening now, however, strikes me more as a fishing expedition, demanding highly classified internal documents in order to play lawyer games.  Republican Senators are pushing legislation to demand release of the Justice Department's legal memos on the constitutionality of the drone strikes. They have the eye-catching phrase of wanting to see "Obama;s license to kill." 

I wouldn't mind seeing it, too, but this is not the sword to fall on. Congress needs to watch the policy in practice, not the legal theory behind it.  As we've learned from  John Roberts, skilled lawyers canmake the Constitution say almost anything.

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