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.
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.