Senate Passes FISA Bill, Gives Telecoms Immunity

D

Defensor

#1
Senate Passes FISA Bill, Gives Telecoms Immunity

Bowing to President Bush's demands, the Senate sent the White House a bill Wednesday overhauling bitterly disputed rules on secret government eavesdropping and shielding telecommunications companies from lawsuits complaining they helped the U.S. spy on Americans.

The relatively one-sided vote, 69-28, came only after a lengthy and heated debate that pitted privacy and civil liberties concerns against the desire to prevent terrorist attacks. It ended almost a year of wrangling over surveillance rules and the president's warrantless wiretapping program that was initiated after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.


The House passed the same bill last month, and Bush said he would sign it soon.

Opponents assailed the eavesdropping program, asserting that it imperiled citizens' rights of privacy from government intrusion. But Bush said the legislation protects those rights as well as Americans' security.

"This bill will help our intelligence professionals learn who the terrorists are talking to, what they're saying and what they're planing," he said in a brief White House appearance after the Senate vote.


Sen. Barack Obama voted for the compromise
while Sen. Hillary Clinton voted against it.
Here's the full list of the traitors.

I thought people rejected Clinton as the neocon in favor of the "change" of Obama? :rolleyes:
 
D

Defensor

#2
Apparently even Hillary Clinton has more principles than Barack Obama. :jawdrop:

Clinton: Why I Voted No On FISA



One of the great challenges before us as a nation is remaining steadfast in our fight against terrorism while preserving our commitment to the rule of law and individual liberty. As a senator from New York on September 11, I understand the importance of taking any and all necessary steps to protect our nation from those who would do us harm. I believe strongly that we must modernize our surveillance laws in order to provide intelligence professionals the tools needed to fight terrorism and make our country more secure. However, any surveillance program must contain safeguards to protect the rights of Americans against abuse, and to preserve clear lines of oversight and accountability over this administration. I applaud the efforts of my colleagues who negotiated this legislation, and I respect my colleagues who reached a different conclusion on today's vote. I do so because this is a difficult issue. Nonetheless, I could not vote for the legislation in its current form.

The legislation would overhaul the law that governs the administration's surveillance activities. Some of the legislation's provisions place guidelines and restrictions on the operational details of the surveillance activities, others increase judicial and legislative oversight of those activities, and still others relate to immunity for telecommunications companies that participated in the administration's surveillance activities.

While this legislation does strengthen oversight of the administration's surveillance activities over previous drafts, in many respects, the oversight in the bill continues to come up short. For instance, while the bill nominally calls for increased oversight by the FISA Court, its ability to serve as a meaningful check on the President's power is debatable. The clearest example of this is the limited power given to the FISA Court to review the government's targeting and minimization procedures.

But the legislation has other significant shortcomings. The legislation also makes no meaningful change to the immunity provisions. There is little disagreement that the legislation effectively grants retroactive immunity to the telecommunications companies. In my judgment, immunity under these circumstances has the practical effect of shutting down a critical avenue for holding the administration accountable for its conduct. It is precisely why I have supported efforts in the Senate to strip the bill of these provisions, both today and during previous debates on this subject. Unfortunately, these efforts have been unsuccessful.

What is more, even as we considered this legislation, the administration refused to allow the overwhelming majority of Senators to examine the warrantless wiretapping program. This made it exceedingly difficult for those Senators who are not on the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees to assess the need for the operational details of the legislation, and whether greater protections are necessary. The same can be said for an assessment of the telecom immunity provisions. On an issue of such tremendous importance to our citizens - and in particular to New Yorkers - all Senators should have been entitled to receive briefings that would have enabled them to make an informed decision about the merits of this legislation. I cannot support this legislation when we know neither the nature of the surveillance activities authorized nor the role played by telecommunications companies granted immunity.

Congress must vigorously check and balance the president even in the face of dangerous enemies and at a time of war. That is what sets us apart. And that is what is vital to ensuring that any tool designed to protect us is used - and used within the law - for that purpose and that purpose alone. I believe my responsibility requires that I vote against this compromise, and I will continue to pursue reforms that will improve our ability to collect intelligence in our efforts to combat terror and to oversee that authority in Congress.
 
B

Blueneck

#3
Sen. Barack Obama voted for the compromise while Sen. Hillary Clinton voted against it.
I thought people rejected Clinton as the neocon in favor of the "change" of Obama? :rolleyes:
My guess is, had she been the nominee and he not, the votes would have been reversed. He's running to the right, trying to get elected.

She on the other hand, isn't going to have to listen to "you voted to let the terrorists win" in future debates, because she won't be participating.

Unfortunate, but that's politics. His vote wouldn't have been a tiebreaker anyway.

I would love candidates to stand on principle. But when you are running against a POW hawk, you have to appear to be tough on terror, especially when the right wing noise machine keeps whispering that you're secretly a communist Muslim who won't wear a flag pin.
 
D

Defensor

#4
My guess is, had she been the nominee and he not, the votes would have been reversed. He's running to the right, trying to get elected.

She on the other hand, isn't going to have to listen to "you voted to let the terrorists win" in future debates, because she won't be participating.

Unfortunate, but that's politics. His vote wouldn't have been a tiebreaker anyway.

I would love candidates to stand on principle. But when you are running against a POW hawk, you have to appear to be tough on terror, especially when the right wing noise machine keeps whispering that you're secretly a communist Muslim who won't wear a flag pin.
Obama flip-flopped on the flag pin too.

 
U

uncommonman

#5
First of all, the whole flag pin thing was stupid. I am willing to take a bet. I am sure that most will not be willing to take me up on it. My bet is that if you took that flag pin from his lapel (or from McCain's for that matter) and flipped it over, it would say, "Made in China." Any takers?

As far as the bill goes, it was the right thing to do but for the wrong reason. The telecoms should not be punished for what the gov't requires them to do. It is the gov't that is out of control, not the telecoms.

Recently, even Google has given in to gov't pressure to release your records of where you go on the net. They were your last line of defense. Now they have betrayed you too.

In the name of Homeland Security, this very message may be monitored. If I were to tell you that I just kicked my dog (I don't have a dog), I could be federally prosecuted for animal abuse. What in the hell does that have to do with Homeland Security?

FISA serves a useful purpose. I will not deny that. I am glad that the gov't would protect us from foreign terror. If you have ever read the Patriot Act, you would know that it goes far beyond its original intent. With only the slightest claim of your being involved in terror, you can be prosecuted for ANY action you are alledged to have undertaken. It could be bank robbery, murder, child pornography, lewd acts, child abuse, tax evasion, or running a fucking stop sign. None of those have anything to do with the terror threat.

It will probably take a Constitutional Amendment to protect your right of privacy on the internet. Right now, you have no such right. Freedom of expression does not apply to the internet.

First we must DEMAND that our gov't use any information gathered for national security purposes to only be used for national security. Whatever information they collect can not and should not be used for any other purpose. Any crime that they uncover while searching for national security threats should be immune from prosecution and any law enforcement officer who uses that information should face mandatory prison time.

I am sorry if that means that a wife who poisoned her husband will have to go free from prosecution, remember that was not what the gov't was supposed to be looking for in the first place when they invaded your privacy.
 

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