Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis: FISA vote today...A President with a 29% approval rating is calling the shots?

Friday, June 20, 2008

FISA vote today...A President with a 29% approval rating is calling the shots?

Olbermann's discussion of FISA from last night's "Countdown":

per the AP:
The House was expected to pass the bill Friday, potentially ending a monthslong standoff about the rules for government wiretapping inside the United States.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland said the bill "balances the needs of our intelligence community with Americans' civil liberties and provides critical new oversight and accountability requirements."

The issue of legal protection for telecommunications companies that participated in warrantless wiretapping has been the largest sticking point. The Senate passed a bill that immunized them from lawsuits, but the House bill was silent on the matter.

The White House had threatened to veto any bill that did not shield the companies, which tapped lines at the behest of the president and attorney general but without permission from a special court established for that purpose, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. On Thursday, White House spokesman Tony Fratto said the bill met the standards sought by Bush and that the president supported it.

Warrantless wiretapping went on for almost six years until it was revealed by The New York Times. Some 40 lawsuits have been filed against the companies by people and groups who think the government illegally eavesdropped on them.

The compromise bill would have a federal district court review certifications from the attorney general saying the telecommunications companies received presidential orders telling them wiretaps were needed to detect or prevent a terrorist attack. If the paperwork were in order, the judge would dismiss the lawsuit.

So what do the Dems get in return?
Under the compromise, the district judge would for the first time be allowed to read the top-secret letters from Bush administration officials — usually the attorney general — to the companies requesting domestic wiretaps without court orders, according to Democratic aides. Each company got around 40 such letters, they said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Someone explain to me how that even matters if we're not going to do anything about it?
The compromise bill would also require the inspectors general of the Justice Department, Pentagon and intelligence agencies to investigate the wiretapping program to determine both its scope and legality. The report is due in a year.

A year...the report would be due in a year. After the Bush Administration is long gone.

Those two provisions, immunity and investigation, are meant to balance two competing concerns. Advocates for telecom protection say the companies acted in good faith and that the wiretaps were necessary to avert another terrorist attack. Opponents to immunity say civil lawsuits are the best way to determine whether the Bush administration illegally spied on Americans.

So, Steny Hoyer has compromised us into paralysis.

Per Joe at Americablog:
It's a total cave in to George Bush. We thought the days of cowering before Bush were over. Unfortunately, that's not the case. Bush's approval rating is 29%. Yes, 29%. But, somehow, he's managed to roll the Democratic Majority Leader.


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