Pat Roberts on Civil Liberties: Drop Dead
During his opening comments in the CIA confirmation hearings of General Michael Hayden, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) returned to a favorite Republican sound bite in defense of illegal domestic surveiilance by the NSA. Roberts proclaimed:
"I am a strong supporter of the First Amendment, the Fourth Amendment and civil liberties. But you have no civil liberties if you are dead."
"You really don't have any civil liberties if you're dead."
But Roberts, who also authored a vitriolic 19-page letter defending the NSA domestic surveillance program, was merely following in the footsteps of Senator John Cornyn. Cornyn, a Texas Republican, said on December 20, 2005:
"None of your civil liberties matter much after you're dead."
During Senate testimony by Attorney General Gonzales in February, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions resorted to the now standard Republican defense of President Bush's illegal domestic spying program. Call it the "Give Me Death" strategy:
"Over 3,000 Americans have no civil rights because they are no longer with us."
Clearly, the Republican leadership is singing from the same Karl Rove fear-mongering hymnal to justify the President's lawbreaking.