Tag: FISA (page 3)

Senate Passes FISA Bill With Telecom Immunity

Bump and Update (TL): The Senate passed the FISA bill with telecom immunity today. Firedoglake has been providing great coverage all day. It's up to the House now, where pressure will be strong to adopt the Senate bill. Sign the petition to tell them not to cave like the Senate did.

FISA: Dodd Amendment Fails
By Big Tent Democrat

This is your Democratic Party in action:


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FISA Reauthorization Vote

Update: Cloture vote fails, 48-45. They are now going on to a vote on the 30 day extension. The President has said he would veto a bill with an extension. The Republicans ask for a vote against cloture on the 30 day extension. Harry Reid is arguing for a 30 day extension. Cloture vote fails.


The Senate is voting on limiting debate and amendments to a substitute FISA bill. The Intelligence Committee bill provides for retroactive telecom immunity. They are voting now. Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama voted "No."

Firedoglake has been live-blogging the hearing all afternoon.

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FISA: Hillary And Obama to Vote No on Cloture

Via Christy at Firedoglake:

Hillary Clinton will be in the Senate tomorrow to vote "no" on cloture on the Intel version of the FISA bill. The vote is scheduled to take place at 4:30 pm tomorrow.

Will Obama show? Christy is waiting to hear from his campaign -- He has a 4:00 pm fundraiser scheduled in D.C.

Update from Jane at FDL: The Obama campaign confirms that Senator Obama will also be in the Senate tomorrow to vote "no" on cloture. I've added his name to the title of this post.

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Denver Post Calls FBI "The Keystone Cops"

Leading with this week's news that telephone companies shut down FBI wiretaps because the agency failed to pay its bills, an editorial in today's Denver Post compares the FBI to "keystone cops."

In addition to the telephone bill embarrassment, the Post points out:

The late payments were part of a larger pattern of loose practices when it comes to tracking money sent to field offices for undercover operations.

With FISA hearings again on the horizon, the Post says we should be paying attention to the FBI's problems as Congress debates the reauthorization of the Patriot Act: [More...]

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FISA Bill Consideration Postponed Until January

Sen. Harry Reid pulled the FISA bill today saying there were too many amendments to consider before the Christmas recess.

Senator Christopher J. Dodd, the Connecticut Democrat and presidential candidate, spent much of the day attacking the idea of giving immunity to the phone companies, and he took credit for the delay.

“Today we have scored a victory for American civil liberties and sent a message to President Bush that we will not tolerate his abuse of power and veil of secrecy,” Mr. Dodd said in a statement.

“The president should not be above the rule of law, nor should the telecom companies who supported his quest to spy on American citizens,” he said. “I thank all my colleagues who joined me in fighting and winning a stay in the rush to grant retroactive immunity to the telecommunications companies who may have violated the privacy rights of millions of Americans.”

The ACLU calls today's action "a clear win for civil libertarians."

“The ACLU wants to thank Senator Dodd and all of the senators who joined the effort to protect civil liberties. Senator Dodd was joined by nine other senators who voted in a midday procedural vote and 15 Senators who signed a letter asking for the Judiciary Committee’s bill to be given preference over the Intelligence Committee’s bill.

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FISA Debate and Vote - Live Thread

Update: Consideration of the bill has been postponed to January due to the number of proposed amendments and lack of time to consider them.

Update: Here's the transcript of Dodd's speech.


The Senate is debating S. 2248 to overhaul FISA. The bill contains retroactive immunity for the telecom companies.

A vote will begin shortly on whether to accept the bill. Right now they are moving to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed.

You can watch live on C-Span3.

Update: The Roll Call vote is happening. The room looks more than three-quarters empty. By unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum requirement is waived. 60 votes are needed to move forward with the bill. Clerk calls roll.

Sen. Leahy is expected to file a substitute bill stripping the telecoms of immunity.

Vote tally: Boxer, Feingold, Cantwell, Brown, Harkin, Wyden, Cardin, Kerry, Menendez and Dodd voted in the negative so far. Leahy and Durbin voted yes, as did Feinstein, Schumer, Kennedy, Specter, Levin and Ken Salazar. Again, this is the motion to invoke cloture to allow the bad Senate Intel Committee bill to proceed.

Vote total: Cloture is invoked. 76 to 10. Motion is agreed to. Harry Reid: No one intends to talk for 30 hours but some want to talk post-cloture. Reid wants everything from now on to take 60 votes, except for final passage. The rules don't require it, but they do take 60 votes to stop a filibuster. They are arguing about that now.


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Support the FISA Filibuster

Senator Chris Dodd is going forward with plans for a filibuster Monday when the bad FISA revision bill comes up for debate.

Bottom line: The Senate must reject the Senate Intelligence Committee bill's with provisions for telecom immunity. It must insist that any bill passed carries protections for Americans against wiretapping that comport with the Fourth Amendment.

The ACLU says:

This week the Senate will consider making vast changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and will determine whether telecommunications companies should be held liable for their role in President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program.

...."When the FISA Amendments Act of 2007 comes to the Senate floor this week, Congress has a duty and an opportunity to protect the Fourth Amendment and rein in the executive's spying power.


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FISA: Harry Reid Explains Monday's Process

The FISA legislation debate now set for Monday is pretty confusing as to which bills are on tap for debate and a vote. If I understand correctly, from Sen. Harry Reid's statement, one reason is that he changed course Friday.

The Senate Intelligence Committee bill, S. 2440, had three provisions, one of which included retroactive telecom immunity.

The Senate Judiciary Committee bill, S. 2441, had no immunity but more stringent wiretapping safeguards.

Reid initially said he'd take up two of the three titles of the Intel bill, omitting the one providing for telecom immunity. Now he says the entire Intel Committee bill, including the immunity provision, will be the "base bill" up for consideration. Here's what he said as to why he changed course. [More...]

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"Two Little FISA Frankensteins"

Update here.

Update: Harry Reid says debate on the bills will begin Monday.

There will be a vote on FISA today. The Senate will consider the Senate Intelligence Committee's bill, S.2440, minus its provision calling for telecom immunity, and S. 2441, the Senate Judiciary Committee's bill, which has no immunity provision, but is somewhat better on wiretapping. The ACLU says,

"Another way to think of it: S 2440 is good on immunity and bad on wiretapping while S. 2441 is bad on immunity but good on wiretapping. It looks as though Senator Reid has created two little FISA Frankensteins."

[Edit: I assume the ACLU means the two provisions of S 2440 that will be taken up. It does have another provision calling for immunity. Reid's statement later today indicates he's changed his mind and will now have the Senate consider the entire House Intel bill, including the provision with immunity.]

The ACLU is asking Senators to participate in the Dodd Filibuster and prevent the passage of any bill that includes immunity.

"Senator Reid is forcing senators to trade the Fourth Amendment to avoid immunity or to give immunity in order to protect Fourth Amendment rights. The ACLU, on behalf its members across this country, asks that he bring the Judiciary Committee’s FISA bill to the floor -- without immunity for companies that broke the law," said Fredrickson.

If nothing gets passed, or if Bush vetos a new bill, it's not the end of the world. The Protect America Act, hastily passed before Congress recessed in August, has a 180 day expiration date, which is February. Then again, the Patriot Act had sunsets and look what happened there.

We don't need another end-run around the Fourth Amendment. [more....]

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FISA Court Issues Public Opinion on NSA Wiretapping

The ACLU announces:

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) announced today that it will not make public orders and legal papers pertaining to the scope of the government's authority to engage in the secret wiretapping of Americans.

This is only the third time the FISC has issued an opinion publicly and the first time it has ruled on a substantive motion made by any party other than the government.

Here's today's FISA Court opinion and an AP article discussing it.

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Sen. Specter Introduces FISA Bill on Substitution

Sen. Arlen Specter yesterday introduced a new bill on FISA substitution-- S. 2402, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Substition Act (pdf).

He also made this statement (pdf) about the bill yesterday which appears in the Congressional record.

Mr. President, I seek recognition to introduce The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Substitution Act of 2007, to substitute the Federal Government for the telephone companies in litigation challenging the so-called Terrorist Surveillance Program. ....

.... The legislation substitutes the U.S. in place of any electronic communication service company which provided communications in connection with an intelligence activity that was authorized by the President between September 11, 2001, and January 17, 2007, and designed to detect or prevent a terrorist attack against the U.S.

....If the provider assisted the Government beyond what was requested in writing, this legislation will leave the provider on the hook for any surplus assistance. On the other hand, the Government will be substituted if the Attorney General certifies that the electronic communications service provider did only what the Government asked. Once substitution occurs, Federal and State courts are directed to dismiss the providers from the action.

The bill may be taken up by the Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow. Unfortunately, it does not have a state secrets fix.

For lots more on the FISA bills currently under consideration this week, the ACLU provides great information.

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Time, Klein and FISA

Update: Time now prints this correction, which isn't much of a correction:

In the original version of this story, Joe Klein wrote that the House Democratic version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) would allow a court review of individual foreign surveillance targets. Republicans believe the bill can be interpreted that way, but Democrats don't.


The uproar over Joe Klein's FISA articles in Time Magazine is growing:

If you are new to the story, start with Ryan Singal at Wired or Glenn Greenwald.

Then check out Matt Stoller at Open Left, Dan Gillmoor and Jane at Firedoglake.

What Klein said initially:

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