The National Security Agency broke the law. According to the attorney general, the NSA illegally spied on American citizens, including trying to wiretap without a warrant at least one member of Congress ("Scale of U.S. Eavesdropping Exceeded Law, Officials Say," April 16). This is a crime.
In a country with a rule of law, crimes, once identified, are publicly prosecuted. Individuals involved are questioned in open court, and those who broke the law are sent to jail, or at least fired. This has not happened.
According to Attorney General Eric Holder, the problem has been fixed, but he will not say how, nor will he say how widespread it really was.
Congress has apparently held some closed-door meetings on the subject but offered no comments other than a vague promise to "get to the bottom."
All we have been told is, in effect: "This should not have happened and it won't happen again." That is unacceptable. Absent public investigations, we have no reason to believe that promise and no means to verify it.
This is not an isolated act. Last week the Obama administration claimed "sovereign immunity" from all prosecutions related to illegal wiretapping, making it above the law. It has made similar claims in at least two other court cases and the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. This treaty has been declared a state secret allowing the administration to draft and potentially sign agreements with foreign nations without our view or consent.
This is not democracy. If Congress has a spine it will force these things into public light, not allow the Department of Justice to cover it up.