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Chris Dodd on FISA (Updated)

Update: This Netroots community is quickly organizing to fight this FISA legislation. The House slipped the bill passed us too quickly for us to mount an adequate response. Below is more information from some of the guys who are writing some great stuff on this issue.

Senator Chris Dodd took to the Senate floor last night. (I’ll get the video as soon as it is available) Thankfully, he will oppose the FISA legislation. here’s a portion of what he said:

But, as the Intelligence Committee has already made clear, we already KNOW that this happened.

We already KNOW that the companies received some form of documentation, with some sort of legal determination.

But that’s not the question. The question is not whether these companies received a “document” from the White House. The question is, “were their actions legal?” It’s rather straightforward—surprisingly uncomplicated.

Either the companies were presented with a warrant, or they weren’t. Either the companies and the President acted outside of the rule of law, or they followed it. Either the underlying program was legal or it wasn’t.

Because of this legislation, none of the questions will be answered, Mr. President. Because of this so-called “compromise,” the judge’s hands will be tied, and the outcome of these cases will be predetermined. Because of this compromise, retroactive immunity will be granted and that, as they say, will be that. Case closed.

No court will rule on the legality of the telecommunications companies activities in participating in the president’s warrantless wiretapping program.

None of our fellow Americans will have their day in court.

What they will have is a government that has sanctioned lawlessness.

Well, I refuse to accept that, Mr. President. I refuse to accept the argument that because this situation is just too delicate, too complicated, that this body is simply going to go ahead and sanction lawlessness.

We are better than that.

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Glenn Greenwald continues to stay on this issue. Today he posted this

Chris Dodd went to the Senate floor last night to speak against the FISA bill and delivered one of the most compelling and inspired speeches by a prominent politician that I’ve heard in quite some time. He tied the core corruption of the FISA bill’s telecom amnesty and warrantless eavesdropping provisions into the whole litany of the Bush administration’s lawless and destructive behavior over the last seven years — from torture and rendition to the abuse of secrecy instruments and Guantanamo mock trials — with a focus on the way in which telecom amnesty further demolishes the rule of law among our political class. That speech signals that the small minority in the Senate devoted to stopping this bill have made this a priority. Small, vocal, passionate minorities in the Senate — backed up by vocal, passionate and engaged citizens — can do much to prevent a bill’s quick and painless passage. Dodd’s speech can be seen and/or read here. I highly recommend it, and if I had one wish this week, it would be that any journalist who will ever write or utter the words “FISA,” “telecom immunity” or “Terrorism” would be forced to watch this speech from start to finish without distraction.

Kargo X added: It was an odd choice to schedule FISA for consideration before the supplemental. Nobody wants to go home for July 4th parades without passing the GI Bill, and a fair number of Senators feel the same way about the housing bill, the war funding and/or the unemployment benefits extension. Putting FISA — a contentious bill that was sure to produce extended debate — before the supplemental virtually guaranteed either a delayed adjournment or serious discomfort among the membership.

What an… interesting decision that was. Let’s see how that plays out tomorrow, when debate resumes on the housing bill, and the cloture vote on the motion to proceed to the FISA bill coming due in the afternoon.

Nice post at FDL on this also.

By |2008-06-25T11:44:12-04:00June 25th, 2008|Bush Administration, Domestic Spying|Comments Off on Chris Dodd on FISA (Updated)

Joint statement Dodd, Feingold – FISA

Senators Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) released the following statement today in response to the announcement that the Senate this week will consider the compromise legislation that would reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) this week.

“This is a deeply flawed bill, which does nothing more than offer retroactive immunity by another name. We strongly urge our colleagues to reject this so-called ‘compromise’ legislation and oppose any efforts to consider this bill in its current form. We will oppose efforts to end debate on this bill as long as it provides retroactive immunity for the telecommunications companies that may have participated in the President’s warrantless wiretapping program, and as long as it fails to protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans.

“If the Senate does proceed to this legislation, our immediate response will be to offer an amendment that strips the retroactive immunity provision out of the bill. We hope our colleagues will join us in supporting Americans’ civil liberties by opposing retroactive immunity and rejecting this so-called ‘compromise’ legislation.”

By |2008-06-25T10:48:02-04:00June 25th, 2008|Bush Administration, Civil Liberty, Domestic Spying|Comments Off on Joint statement Dodd, Feingold – FISA

House passes surveillence bill

Thank you sir (ma’am), may I have another.

Don’t tell me that there is a ton of difference between Republicans and Democrats when stuff like this happens. The FISA bill is a large piece of corporate lovin’. The Democratic leadership in the House planned this. They crafted this so that they would vote on Friday and that the blow back would happen over a weekend. They were hoping that everything would be almost back to normal by Monday. …And they are looking out for who? The American people not being served by Steny Hoyer and Nancy Pelosi, today. This is a terrible day for the democratic party. BTW, where is Barack Obama?

Donate NOW to help stop this craziness. I have given, I hope that you will give also because this has to stop.

Update: I thought that TCR would have some good information and I was right:

Looking over the final roll call, most House Dems voted against the measure, while House Republicans were nearly unanimous in their support. Specifically, among Dems, 128 voted against it, while 105 voted for it. Among Republicans, 188 voted for it, and just one (Illinois’ Tim Johnson, whose work I’m not especially familiar with, was the lone GOP lawmaker to break ranks.)

Plenty of Dems spoke out forcefully against the bill, but the one quote that stands out most for me came before the debate began. Sen. Chris Bond (R-Mo.), who negotiated with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on the legislation, told the NYT, “I think the White House got a better deal than they even they had hoped to get.”

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From WaPo:

The House today overwhelmingly approved a sweeping new surveillance law that effectively would shield telecommunications companies from privacy lawsuits for cooperating with the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program.

Ending a year-long battle with President Bush, the House approved, 293 to 129, a re-write of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that extends the government’s ability to eavesdrop on espionage and terrorism suspects while providing a legal escape hatch for AT&T, Verizon Communications and other telecommunication firms. The companies face more than 40 lawsuits that allege they violated customers’ privacy rights by helping the government conduct a warrantless spying program after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Before the vote, President Bush today lauded Congress for reaching agreement on the legislation, saying it was vital to help thwart new terrorist attacks. (more…)

By |2008-06-20T13:57:37-04:00June 20th, 2008|Domestic Spying|1 Comment
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