FISA Debate In the House, Part II
Continued debate on the FISA bill in the House. Glenn has a superb post up here.
Ruppersburger: His district includes the NSA, and a lot of the NSA employees live in his district. THey need clear direction as to what is allowed, and this bill clarifies the law and the tools allowable while protecting constitutional rights of Americans.
Rogers: Compliment Reyes — tries to pull off some weird joke about a donkey int he Kentucky Derby. Oh…hahaha. Too droll. And then he calls all of us fearmongers for trying to stand up for civil liberties. I need more coffee…
Holt: Because we live in a dangerous world, we must redefine the 4th Amendment — this was a flawed argument from the Bush/Cheney Administration. It is a fishing expedition approach to intel collections — the court provisions are weak and narrowly defined. The judges hands are tied int his process — it is not strong review. This bill is flawed.
Issa: Gosh, he loves this bill. Elections matter. blah blah blah bi-partisanship is awesome when we get our way blah blah blah
Barbara Lee: Opposes bill — this does not strike the right balance. Can speak to this due to personal experience — COININTELPRO during civil rights era. Brings up wiretapping of Dr. King. Says 4 year sunset is way too long — urges no vote.
Lungren: Oh, joy. "It’s not the Mona Lisa, but it’s not a bad paint job."
Langevin: Rises in support — though not perfect, it’s better than what we have today. Going on about the "exclusive means" provision. Here’s a question — what if a president, say, just ignores it. You know, like George Bush did. What then? Does he get immunity, too, under this precedent?
Issa’s back up. Oh, frabtacular day.
Kucinich: Under this bill, large corporations and big government can work together to violate the US constitution, to spy, to wiretap, to use large databases to collect information. No warrant is required as long as a foreign target is identified. Blanket wiretaps and massive and untargeted interception of communications makes it impossible to know whose calls have been intercepted to be protected under the 4th amendment. Vote no on this. Quotes the Ben Franklin trading security for liberty deserve neither quote.
Lamar Smith says this is the most important legislation EVAH.
Pelosi: Thanks Reyes for leadership as chair of intel, and Conyers of Judiciary although he is not supporting this legislation he certainly had a relentless effort to improve it. Thanks Hoyer for making this compromise possible today. This is a difficult task to value all the competing views on this, and Hoyer handled it all. Pelosi says she preferred the RESTORE Act. She refuses to accept the Senate bill, which is a bad option — but we don’t have RESTORE as an option at this point. What we have is this bill. We take an oath to protect the Constitution — "to provide for the common defense." We must have the operational intel to do that, including force protection. Troops in the field depend on timely intel to do their jobs safely — still a primary responsibility of intel community. Good intel is necessary to know the plans of the terrorists as well. We have to have a bill — that is not an option. But we also have to have a bill that does not violate the Constitution of the US. Says that this bill does not allow warrantless surveillance of Americans. Tehre have been so many versions of this bill — the PAA unacceptable, the Senate bill was unacceptable, the RESTORE Act was wonderful…and now this compromise bill.
Certain threshold issues had to be there, and they are. Says she spoke with Hoyer during his negotiations on the compromise and said there were threshold protections that needed to be there. This bill is an improvement on the original FISA bill. Changes in technology require changes — responds to tech developments that have occurred since the original bill from 1978. Second, constitutional requirements. Third, strengthens Congressional oversight and accountability which is essential to good surveillance. The more we know, I think, the better the law will be enforced. It came down to a choice of being left with the Senate bill — or this bill — and this one is better than the Senate bill.
This does not give the President any inherent authority to alter the requirements of FISA — he does not have inherent authority to do anything he wants. [CHS notes: But…how is not holding him accountable but instead giving him a pass accomplish that? Ooooh, we’re going to be cranky with the next guy? Oh, really?!?] This retains the broad definition of electronic surveillance — which allows for oversight of all electronic surveillance instead of a narrowed amount of oversight which was attempted in the Senate bill. She is satisfied with the provision against reverse targeting in this. Provides for IG review of the appropriate agencies.
Does not believe Congress should be in the business of interfering in legal suits. Telecoms come out of this with a taint today. She doesn’t believe that the pending lawsuits would have achieved what she hopes an IG review will: to learn the truth about the program and make certain such overreach never happens again. Reiterates Senate bill not an option and, although she prefers RESTORE, this bill is at least better than the Senate version which cannot become law. This is not a happy occasion, but it is work we have to do. Goes through the jobs of the various branches of government — whatever we pass, it is important that the President enforce the law honoring the constitution, recognizing the responsibility we all have to protect the American people and protect the constitution at the same time.
The debate on this has been very valuable on this. Not asking anyone to vote for this bill, just letting people know why she is.
Hoekstra: Radical jihadists comes out of his mouth in the first minute. I think you get his theme.
Am going to start a new thread because the comments are getting long. Please, I beg you, try not to fill up comments so quickly for the servers’ sake…