Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Madrid: Wilson Call for Wire-Tap Hearings Too Little, Too Late
As you probably know by now, Rep. Heather Wilson has suddenly become concerned about our constitutional rights and is criticizing the NSA illegal domestic wiretapping program. Click for the New York Times story. Wilson's newfound conscience may well be emerging because a new poll puts her in a dead heat with her Democratic opponent, Attorney General Patricia Madrid, in the 2006 CD1 congressional race.
This from the Madrid Camp: AG Patricia Madrid today called Rep. Heather Wilson’s rhetoric on wire-tap hearings too little too late and said that Wilson, as a member of the House Intelligence Committee, should have acted sooner instead of supporting the policies of President Bush and Vice President Cheney.
“Rep. Wilson could have stood up to this illegal program sooner,” Madrid said. “As Chairwoman of House Intelligence Subcommittee on Technical and Tactical Intelligence, Wilson had direct oversight of this program and she did nothing. She could have – and should have – taken action sooner.”
Madrid also criticized Wilson’s rhetoric as an election-year effort to separate herself from President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Further, despite Wilson’s election-year rhetoric of concern about wire tapping, she voted in 2003 to allow random “sneak and peek” searches on American Citizens as part of the Patriot Act.
“Rep. Wilson is now and has always been a rubber stamp for the policies of the Bush-Cheney Administration,” Madrid said. “Having served seven years as New Mexico’s Attorney General, I believe that the Bush-Cheney domestic wire-tapping scheme is illegal and unacceptable. I support a full, open, independent investigation in which the investigators have full subpoena power and in which the witnesses will be placed under oath. Americans have to have confidence that this is an open and thorough investigation.”
Madrid, an attorney and two-term New Mexico Attorney General, is running against Wilson in the race to represent New Mexico’s First Congressional District.
“New Mexicans are ready for a change,” Madrid said. “We don’t need someone who talks about independence, we need real leadership that is independent. While I’ve been enforcing the law in New Mexico, Rep. Wilson has been sitting on the House Intelligence Committee apparently ignoring abuses of the law until nine months before an election.”
Not only too little, too late but with a voting record that supported indicted former House Majority leader DeLay 87% of the time, her call for a full Congressional inquiry into the Bu$h administration's domestic eavesdropping program rings a little hollow. Where is the level of outrage she exibited over Janet Jacksons breast exposure at Super Bowl???
Posted by: VP | Feb 8, 2006 11:02:01 PM
Surprise surprise - I got an automated call from Heather W yesterday volunteering to help me if I'm having trouble figuring out the new Medicare options. If she had only shown some concern about health care coverage when the bill was in Congress we wouldn’t' have this mess. Needless to say her call is not motivated by an interest in my health care coverage - it's just campaigning.
Let's hope Patsy has a response to some of these campaign shenanigans.
Posted by: suz | Feb 9, 2006 8:50:14 AM
In today's Journal Heather is now claiming the Bush admin will "allow" a briefing of the House Intelligence Committee due solely to her inquiries about the program. Just think, Bush takes her opinion more seriously than those of Senators, law scholars and many others with a helluva lot more clout than Heather has!
She's a piece of work all right.
Posted by: I Vote | Feb 9, 2006 9:20:10 AM
Both Madrid and Wilson have alot explaining to do. Wilson has Delay and Iraq War to explain and Madrid has to explain about her Role in the "Kick Back Sandal" in 1999. According to New Mexico Law Enforcement, Madrid called the Sandal to Political.
Posted by: Eli Chavez | Feb 9, 2006 4:25:31 PM
Pretending that Heather hasn't scored some serious political points on this issue and her recent budget vote may be comforting now, but won't help in November. At the moment, Wilson's position on the NSA lawbreaking is (unfortunately) the mainstream Congressional Democratic position. (I say unfortunately, because I'd like to expect more from Dems, who also knew about this issue for a couple of years and failed to do or say anything, and who even today can't bring themselves to say the "I" word.)
I think it might be best for Madrid to wait and see what develops from Wilson's call for more NSA briefings and, if the result is a predictable "we got the president to tell us what he was doing, and now we support him even more in the war on terrorism," Madrid can go back on the attack on this issue later in the year.
In the meantime, Madrid would be best to emphasize other areas -- e.g., energy and the environment -- where she can better distinguish herself from Wilson.
Posted by: Jason Marks | Feb 10, 2006 9:50:30 AM
I agree with most of what you say, and certainly with your disappointment that the mainstream Dem position isn't much better than Wilson's and is almost as complicit in some cases. Rep. Harmon and Jay Rockefeller come to mind.
However, I don't think Heather gained many points that will make much difference later on. As the Bush fiasco further unravels, her late and meek questioning of the administration on this one issue will look minor, indeed. She is, after all, a strong supporter of the President and his shenanigans in most aspects.
Posted by: Old Dem | Feb 10, 2006 4:14:06 PM
Jason and old dem something you don't seem to understand about this domestic spying program is that whatever the Dems knew about the NSA activities, it was considered secret and they couldn't by law say anything even if they wanted to. That's why Bu$hCo want's to investigate who leaked, but that is another Bu$h embarrassment for some other post. However I do agree that in general the Dem leadership has shown themselve to be spineless which has allowed the circumstances we see today. There is no better example than the Alito debacle.
Posted by: VP | Feb 11, 2006 8:30:20 AM
Tim McGivern over at New Mexico Politics: Cutting Through the Clutter has some questions for Wilson:
Posted by: barb | Feb 13, 2006 10:30:06 AM