FISA Amendments and the Rule of Law

In a speech on the Senate floor yesterday, Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) said the current debate over amending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) is not simply one more dispute over intelligence policy. Rather, he said, it calls into question basic issues of democratic governance and the rule of law.

He presented the case against the pending FISA amendments, particularly the provisions that would immunize telephone companies against lawsuits regarding their participation in domestic surveillance.

“Did the telecoms break the law? I don’t know. I can’t say so. But pass immunity, and we will never know,” Sen. Dodd said.

The President’s warrantless surveillance program, he said, is of a piece with other Administration departures from established legal norms including its policies on coercive interrogation and extraordinary rendition, as well as its pervasive secrecy.

“What is this about? It is about answering the fundamental question: Do we support the rule of law or the rule of men? To me, this is our defining question as a nation and may be the defining question that confronts every generation, as it has throughout our history.”

Sen. Dodd and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) announced their intention to filibuster the FISA Amendment bill.

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) spoke in favor of the bill, including the provisions on shielding telephone companies from legal liability for their actions.

“Those who are opposed to the President’s efforts to monitor al-Qaida’s communications after 9/11 should take their argument to the President, not to the private companies that patriotically complied with government requests to help this country,” he said.

No Responses to “FISA Amendments and the Rule of Law”

  1. zz ziled June 25, 2008 at 4:00 PM #

    The Public Radio Pacifica Foundation programme: “Democracy Now!” interviewed Mr. Feinstein on this very issue a few days ago.

    “Here is the link to the streaming media file for those who may be interested in hearing what Mr. Feingold has to say in greater depth:

    June 24, 2008

    Democracy Now!

    “One of the Greatest Intrusions, Potentially, on the Rights of Americans Protected Under the 4th Amendment”–Sen. Feingold Blasts Telecom Spy Bill

    It’s being described as the most significant revision of the nation’s surveillance law in three decades. The Senate is preparing to vote on rewriting the nation’s Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and giving immunity to phone companies involved in President Bush’s secret domestic spy program. We speak with Senator Russ Feingold (D–WI), who has been the leading congressional voice against the Bush administration’s warrantless spy program since it was exposed nearly three years ago.”

    http://www.democracynow.org/2008/6/24/feingold

  2. xoites June 28, 2008 at 10:05 AM #

    Repeal FISA is up and running. Anyone who wants to is welcome to sign up and become a blogger on it. The purpose of the blog is to organize a drive to repeal the FISA laws and all laws that pardon or give immunity from prosecution anyone who has violated the Constitution during the Bush Administration.

    That is why we want everyone to be able to Post so they can start a conversation about an idea they have to make this happen.

    Stop on by and check it out. By all means leave a comment and sign up to blog with us as we figure out what needs to be done to return our Fourth Amendment Rights and our rule of law.

    If you have a blog already and you become a poster we will link to your site.

    http://repealfisa.wordpress.com/

    repealfisa@gmail.com