Lanny Davis is not my kind of Democrat. He was a huge supporter of Joe Lieberman over Ned Lamont, he constantly goes on FOX News to yuck it up with the likes of Sean Hannity, and he is good friends with G. Gordon Liddy. Lanny Davis is the kind of Democrat only Republicans can love. And George W. Bush did love him. He appointed him to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board. This panel was set up on the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission. Their job is to monitor counterterrorism measures and to make sure that a proper balance is struck so that people’s civil liberties are protected. Evidently, the board is so in the pocket of the Bush administration that even a Liebercrat and NSA snooping apologist like Lanny Davis can’t stand for it. He resigned.
Davis’s frustration reached a peak last month when White House lawyers engaged in what he described in his letter as “substantial” edits of the board’s annual report to Congress. Davis charged that a majority of the board sought to remove an extensive discussion of recent findings by the Justice Department’s inspector general of FBI abuses in the uses of so-called “national security letters” to obtain personal data on U.S. citizens without a court order. He also charged that the White House counsel’s office wanted to strike language stating that the panel planned to investigate complaints from civil liberties groups that the Justice Department had improperly used a “material witness statute” to lock up terror suspects for lengthy periods of time without charging them with any crimes.
And why did the administration want to edit the report to Congress?
When Davis protested the attempted deletions, he said the board was told that the White House lawyers feared that because the material witness law was used by U.S. attorneys, a new probe of that issue would become a part of the larger controversy over the firing of U.S. attorneys.
In other words, they thought the report would be unhelpful to the Attorney General’s cause.
The news that Lanny Davis has resigned as a matter of principle could almost tempt me to respect him. Except for this damn memory I have:
Board members said that they were impressed by the safeguards the government has built into the NSA’s monitoring of phone calls and computer transmissions, and that they wished the administration could tell the public more about them to ease distrust.
“If the American public, especially civil libertarians like myself, could be more informed about how careful the government is to protect our privacy while still protecting us from attacks, we’d be more reassured,” said Lanny Davis, a former Clinton White House lawyer who is the board’s lone liberal Democrat.
What does it say that a Liebercrat, Fox News, Bush-flunkie like Lanny Davis can no longer pretend our civil liberties are being protected and will not serve as a dupe on a fictitious board that is ostensibly meant to protect our rights?