Friday, June 20, 2008

Glenn Greenwald against FISA "Compromise"

Today the US House will vote on "compromise" legislation concerning FISA.  The fourth amendment is important to me.  I went to Washington, DC and talked with Senate staffers (thanks, folks!) about FISA and Michael Hayden the week before he was to be Senate confirmed to his new job as head of CIA.  I basically presented this to them, and, in retrospect, I didn't do that good a job of presentation (I think I had them for a while, but then lost them).

Well, even though Glenn Greenwald doesn't understand how Hayden understands the fourth amendment, he is still a knowledgeable person when it comes to FISA. He writes:
all the Attorney General has to do is recite those magic words -- the President requested this eavesdropping and did it in order to save us from the Terrorists -- and the minute he utters those words, the courts are required to dismiss the lawsuits against the telecoms, no matter how illegal their behavior was.
802(c) of the telecom amnesty section ... says that the Attorney General can declare that the documents he submits to the court in order to get these lawsuits dismissed are secret, and once he declares that, then: (a) the plaintiffs and their lawyers won't ever see the documents and (b) the court is barred from referencing them in any way when it dismisses the lawsuit. All the court can do is issue an order saying that the lawsuits are dismissed, but it is barred from saying why they're being dismissed or what the basis is for the dismissal.
and, perhaps most damning for me, personally
I'd like to underscore the fact that in 2006, when the Congress was controlled by Bill Frist and Denny Hastert, the administration tried to get a bill passed legalizing warrantless eavesdropping and telecom amnesty, but was unable. They had to wait until the Congress was controlled by Steny Hoyer, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to accomplish that.
geesh, and this, too, damns the Democrats
What's particularly amazing about this whole process is that the House leadership unveiled this bill for the first time today -- and then scheduled the vote on it for tomorrow. No hearings. Nothing. They all have less than 24 hours to "read" the bill and decide whether to eviscerate the rule of law and the Fourth Amendment.

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