We're workin' our jobs, collect our pay
Believe we're gliding down the highway, when in fact we're slip sliding away
- Paul Simon, Slip Sliding Away
Paul Simon wasn’t singing about our liberty in his song, but the words apply to what’s happening in the Senate and to our Constitution.
While President Obama was poorly reading cue cards between two ferns for a comedy website, a battle was brewing in the Senate. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., accused the Central Intelligence Agency “of secretly removing documents, searching computers used by the committee and attempting to intimidate congressional investigators by requesting an FBI inquiry of their conduct.”
If true, it is a dangerous turn of events. But Feinstein wasn’t done. The Washington Post reported, “Feinstein described the escalating conflict as a ‘defining moment’ for Congress’s role in overseeing the nation’s intelligence agencies and cited ‘grave concerns’ that the CIA had ‘violated the separation-of-powers principles embodied in the United States Constitution.’”
These are serious charges, or at least they seem like they are. But are they really?
Missing from Sen. Feinstein’s criticisms was any mention of the person in charge of the branch of government in which the CIA resides – the president of the United States.
What Feinstein is charging is that the executive branch of government is spying on and interfering with the co-equal legislative branch in an attempt to hinder the legislative branch’s explicit power of oversight. In other words, a direct violation of the Constitution of the United States.
But Feinstein, like every other Democrat critical of administration abuses, can’t bring herself to direct that criticism where it should reside – the Oval Office. Americans are outraged at the National Security Agency for spying on us and creating a database of all our electronic communications, but none of this makes is way to the NSA’s ultimate boss. For all of Feinstein’s bluster over the CIA spying on her staff, she defended the NSA’s spying and directed none of her remarks to the president. It’s as if the CIA is its own branch of government.