Congressman John Conyers held a hearing yesterday into president Bush's warrantless domestic spy program. Sadly, not a word about the hearing was heard in the mainstream media. Granted, the hearing was relegated to the basement of the Rayburn building during a congressional recess when you'd think that plenty of hearing rooms would be available. However, that alone should have been provocative enough to get traction in the media because of the manner in which the hearing got its "unofficial" status.
Conyers is the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, the committee which is obligated to investigate when the executive ignores the law. As such, Conyers appealed to congressman James Sensenbrenner, the chairman of the committee, to initiate investigation of Bush's espionage program. Unfortunately, albeit not surprisingly, Sensenbrenner has not scheduled one.
Sensenbrenner is a Republican and, like the rest of his GOP cohort in the House, he protects the president from exposure to anything that brings his administration into question, regardless of what impeachable offenses the president commits. Just as when Sensenbrenner refused to call hearings to investigate whether the president deceived the nation to go to war in Iraq, even after the Downing Street Memo became public, Conyers was denied an official hearing room to conduct his investigations. And just as in those hearings, not a single Republican congressman showed up at yesterday's hearing.
They weren't the only no-shows. Conyers also invited attorney general Alberto Gonzales to the hearing but neither he nor anyone else from the administration attended. You would think that Bush supporters would want to attend the hearing. After all, if the accusations against him were truly spurious, as Bush would have you believe, they would be easy to expose as such. However, the truth is more likely that no Republicans attended because they have no ammunition with which to defend Bush. Consequently, the hearing will likely be dismissed as a partisan affair.
Nonetheless, you can still hear it thanks to C-Span. If you have RealPlayer installed on your PC, you can hear the entirety of yesterday's hearing at (the same URI as in the first hyperlink at the top of this post to the blog):