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Yesterday, Senator Arlen Specter (R, PA) appeared at a news conference to tell the world that New England Patriots' coach Bill Belichick had been "illegally"

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Profiles in Courage: Arlen Specter

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Yesterday, Senator Arlen Specter (R, PA) appeared at a news conference to tell the world that New England Patriots' coach Bill Belichick had been "illegally" videotaping other teams' signal communications since 2000.

"We have a right to have honest football games," said Specter.

On Tuesday, that same Senator Specter had a chance to vote for an amendment to the amended Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The Amendment would strip the Act's provision of immunity to telecom companies that allowed the National Security Agency to monitor customers' electronic communications without a warrant. One of these companies is already being sued. Senator Specter voted against the Amendment, but neglected to call a press conference to discuss it. (An avowed opponent of waterboarding, Senator Specter also voted yesterday against a measure that would prohibit waterboarding.)

If you're wondering why Senator Specter voted against the immunity-stripping Amendment, you can have a look at the statute under which the companies might be liable here; the statute that some (wrongly) say justifies the wiretaps here; and the amendment itself (along with a handy roll call) here. You can find something called the Fourth Amendment here. And you can read about his proposed blame-the-taxpayers compromise here.

As for the rules that Specter alleges Belichick broke for seven years, they're in the NFL's "Game Operations Manual." You know, the one they taught you about in your high school civics class. As far as I can tell, you can't find it online. I wonder why.

 
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