Yesterday, the White House once again flouted Congress' authority and failed to comply with Senate subpoenas regarding the NSA's illegal domestic spying. In response, Senator Patrick Leahy threatened contempt proceedings, and stated that the compliance deadline, which was already delayed twice, would not be pushed back again.
That's certainly welcome news, but Congress can't let this turn into yet another set of empty threats. Tough talk is not enough -- after all, Congress has already made numerous requests for critical information about the spying program and let the President dodge them again and again. Instead of forcing his hand, it practically rewarded his evasiveness by capitulating to the Administration's outrageous demands and radically expanding domestic spying powers earlier this month.
Congress cannot allow itself to be pushed around any longer. It needs to make good on its threats and pry the truth out of the Administration using all available means, including by holding it in contempt.
And that must only be a first step towards the ultimate goal of stopping the President's abuse of power. Truth and accountability for the warrantless wiretapping of Americans should have come before any legislative changes were given even the slightest consideration. Now Congress needs to undo its mistake, starting with a repeal of the so-called "Protect America Act," the Administration's FISA "modernization" power grab.