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The GOP's "Give Me Death" Defense on Domestic Spying

February 6, 2006

During a break in the Senate testimony by Attorney General Gonzales this morning, 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.
During brief comments to the press, Sessions referring to the rightness of Bush's domestic spying after 9/11 declared melodramatically:

"Over 3,000 Americans have no civil rights because they are no longer with us."

The Republican leadership is singing from the same Karl Rove fear-mongering hymnal to justify the President's lawbreaking. On February 3rd, Kansas Senator Pat Roberts, who has stonewalled the Phase II investigation into the misuses of pre-Iraq war intelligence, similarly claimed:

"You really don't have any civil liberties if you're dead."

Roberts, who also authored a vitriolic 19-page letter defending the NSA domestic surveillance program, merely followed 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."

Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold responded with Patrick Henry's clarion call, "Give me liberty of give me death." But for Republicans, there are apparently now three certainties in life: death, taxes and domestic spying. Taxes, of course, the GOP is worried about. Domestic spying? Not so much.


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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