FISA: Deja Vu All Over Again

As I wrote, I am not at all optimistic about the FISA bill coming out of Congress. Pontificator thinks some of us are too negative:

The House FISA bill, introduced today, . . . is a strong bill that protects civil liberties and provides for oversight.  What the NYT article suggests is that certain Democrats believe that they will ultimately have to give up on that bill because Bush will demand capitulation.  This is worrisome, but we are not there yet.

Interestingly, pontificator wrote the same type of comments to me last March when I railed about the Iraq Supplemental. Unlike pontificator,  Chris Bowers has learned from the Iraq Supplemental experience in March:

This pre-legislative negotiation “compromise” is a real habit for Democrats. We have seen it on immigration reform, Iraq, FISA, the minimum wage, health care, and a whole host of other issues. Democrats present compromised legislation, and then after actual legislative negotiations occur, those compromises are watered down even further. By the end of the process, the proposed legislation typically ends up weighted far more toward the conservative end of the spectrum on the issue than the progressive side. While I don’t doubt that Clinton, Edwards and Obama would all like to see their proposed legislation enacted as it is proposed, it strikes me that in order to achieve their proposed legislation, they should start out by asking for even more than they want.

I’ll go even further. I think the House Democrats should, like Bush does, draw lines in the sand. This far and no further. Like Iraq, FISA extension requires action by the Congress. Doing nothing is very much an option. But since the Democratic leadership does not perceive it as such, come the inevitable Senate “compromise” or Bush veto, the House Dems, based on the history we have seen, will capitulate. Let them prove us wrong. The important thing is to protest, not protect the poor ears of the Democratic leadership.

[UPDATE] ACLU unhappy with House proposal.

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  1. This administration will cheerfully leak Bin Ladin tapes to Faux Noise compromising sources, methods, and National Security.

    The Democratic Congrssional Leadership is a pack of spineless fools.

  2. diary was seriously depressing. Apparently the problem is not congress but us of so little faith. Reality my ass. 

  3. Except by telling everyone there is a new FISA court it defuncts the purpose of the court immediately.

    The true magic of the old FISA court, was no one knew about it, except people on the executive level of NSA,FBI,CIA,Justice Department and Executive Branch.

    Now since any terrorists (or in the olden days, Mafia, gun runners and big hefes de drogas) know that FISA exists, they will account for it.

    Since before Bush leaked the existence of FISA into the public realm, now they know there is a secondary level of once secret snooping. Instead of just accounting for the usual gumshoes, now they account for our intelligence branches that use to use FISA. So since they know FISA exists now, it is pointless.

    And this bill is a pointless exercise because a secret court has to be fucking secret.

    How this is lost on everyone is beyond me.

    • robodd on October 9, 2007 at 6:34 pm

    but I think the phrase “if experience teaches us anything . . . ” may have some application in this situation.

  4. the Scoop [UPDATE] formatting command doesn’t work on soapblox. That’s a little annoying.

    • GoRight on October 9, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    Again, I could have written this myself.  I 100% agree that the Democrats have been lying to their base about doing anything substantive to change the course of the Republican juggernaut.

    You should continue to push them to support your positions.  You elected them so now they should follow-through on their promises … out of principle if nothing else.  Like you, I doubt that they will rise to the occasion, but only you, their base, can hold them to those promises.

    Please proceed.

  5. The draft is not awful, but can be used as a vehicle to fix gaps in the Communications Privacy regime which preceded the summer’s FISA capitulation, notably, setting a warrant standard for the locacation data colected by cell providers since “E-911.”

    Some hope I can convince Representative Baldwin to take the lead here, she’s previously expressed interest in the location data issue, and sits on 2 of the Committees with jurisdiction, Judiciary and Commerce. Awaiting callback from her Judiciary staffer in the AM.

  6. Statement of U.S. Senator Russ Feinogld
    On Efforts to Amend the Protect America Act

    October 9, 2007

    “Congress’s hurried consideration of the Protect America Act was legislating at its worst. Congress must fix the fundamental flaws of that legislation – the utter failure to protect the privacy of Americans at home and abroad, and the complete lack of meaningful judicial, congressional and administrative oversight. Congress must act responsibly and not be intimidated into giving the administration unnecessary powers it could too easily abuse. We can aggressively go after suspected terrorists and other foreign intelligence targets while still protecting the privacy of law-abiding Americans.

    “The House Democratic leadership is right to refuse to grant immunity for alleged cooperation with the President’s warrantless wiretapping program — it would be irresponsible to grant immunity when the Administration still refuses to provide Congress with its legal opinions justifying that program. But any legislation to amend FISA also must protect the privacy of Americans in the U.S. making international communications. Americans are communicating with people overseas more than ever before. If an American businessperson wants to contact a foreign customer, or a student wants to email a friend she met while studying abroad, or a journalist wants to call a foreign source, they should not have to give up the protections granted to them by our Constitution.”

    (emphasis mine)

      • Armando on October 9, 2007 at 6:29 pm
        Author
    • oculus on October 10, 2007 at 7:34 am

    overhaul: NYT

    AT&T has been the second largest donor to candidates since 1989.

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