Last week the House voted on H.R. 6304, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008. It passed by wide margin. Here is the roll call so you can see how your Representative voted. Paul Hodes and Carol Shea-Porter voted Nay: thank you!
As FISA has been coming up in the Senate, there’s been a ton of writing on it. I use this blog in part as an “outboard brain” to help me organize information so I can find it easily later. So, here’s the roundup of Senate FISA news as it has come my way:
Dow Jones News reports on the nature of the compromise FISA bill and the significant differences from the bill earlier this year (Thu., June 19):
As a result of the deal, legislation will come forward Friday in the House and as soon as next week in the Senate to reauthorize the government’s surveillance program. The legislation will, in effect, replace the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a law established in the 1970s to permit the government to engage in surveillance.
Democrats have insisted the judicial review included in the agreement is better than nothing, and does not equate to automatic legal immunity for the phone companies.
After House passage, the eminently reputable blog Crooks and Liars asks for Obama to speak out and speculates on his silence (Fri., June 20). Salon’s Glenn Greenwald indicates Obama’s support for the compromise House bill (Sat., June 21):
What really rubbed me the wrong way was how Obama in his statement says essentially trust me with these powers, I’ll use them responsibly.
This week, Senator Russ Feingold was interviewed by Democracy Now (Tue., June 24). He describes his intent to resis the bill and then goes beyond this to expressing desire to censure the president. One site points to MAPLight’s information linking Verizon, Sprint and AT&T contributions to congressional Democrats who changed their votes.
Warrantless spying threatens to undermine our democratic society, unless legislation brings it under control. In other words, the power to invade privacy must be used sparingly, guarded jealously, and shared equally between the branches of government.
Last but not least, Wired Magazine carries a blog entry that alleges the Senate FISA bill as redefining the term “Weapon of Mass Destruction.” Apparently the new definition adds incendiary devices to the list, as well as being loose on the meaning of “a significant number of people.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is working against the compromise FISA bill (June 24).
Barack Obama is caught on video saying that serving justice to the illegal actions of telephone companies is less important than security needs. It’s all for your protection. The above Huffington Post link reports he has a nuanced position, as he “has expressed reservations with the compromise (and supports an amendment stripping immunity from its language), he nevertheless said he would support the bill.”
Blue Hampshire conjectures that fighting FISA can help restrain the administration and thus prevent war in Iran (Fri., June 27).
The original AT&T whistleblower has some things to say about FISA in this Wired article. He has good points buried in rhetorical language on coups and Nuremberg, but it’s good none the less.