Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Bush Wins FISA Battle against Democratic Congress, Jonathan Turley Gives Warning

According to the NY Times, The Senate gave final approval, 69 to 28, to broadening the government’s spy powers and providing legal immunity for the phone companies that took part in the wiretapping program.

I thought this was interesting: Senator Hillary Clinton voted against the bill. Obama supported it.

Senator Russell Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, said in closing arguments “I urge my colleagues to stand up for the rule of law and defeat this bill.”.

But Senator Christopher Bond, the Missouri Republican who is vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said there was nothing to fear in the bill “unless you have Al Qaeda on your speed dial.”

Voting for the bill were 47 Republicans, 21 Democrats and an independent, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut.

More than 40 lawsuits charging AT&T, Verizon and other major carriers with breaking the law and violating their customers’ privacy by agreeing to the White House’s requests to conduct wiretaps without a valid court order, effectively end. It includes a narrow review by a district court to determine whether in fact the companies being sued received formal requests or directives from the administration to take part in the program. The administration has already acknowledged that those directives exist.

An amendment sponsored by Mr. Dodd to strip the immunity provision from the bill was defeated, 66 to 32. Two other amendments were also rejected. One, offered by Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, would have required that a district court judge assess the legality of warrantless wiretapping before granting immunity. It lost by 61 to 37. The other, which would have postponed immunity for a year pending a federal investigation, was offered by Senator Jeff Bingaman, Democrat of New Mexico. It was defeated by 56 to 42.

Despite the passage, and as a final word on all of this as we all try to control our building anger, here's Jonathan Turley's warning to America as we slide slowly into irrelevance.

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