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rodeodance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 07:09 AM
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Gutting the Constitution

http://firedoglake.com /

Will the Senate Gut the Constitution and FISA Again?
By: Scarecrow Friday December 14, 2007 5:00 am
Constitution gutted

Gutting the Constitution

The Senate is expected Friday to begin consideration of bills to restore FISA, after a panicked Congress gutted FISA's Constitutional protections last August. Final votes may not occur until Monday, but procedural votes today could influence whether the beating the Fourth Amendment took will be reversed and whether the telecoms get the retroactive immunity they and the Administration want for spying illegally on Americans.

We've been urging Congress on two basic objectives: (1) reinstating adequate review by the FISA Court of surveillance requests and actions, and (2) denying retroactive immunity for the telecoms. Immunity would end the private lawsuits that are seeking to hold the telecoms accountable for illegally spying on Americans.

Recall that the August legislation that gutted FISA and the Fourth Amendment was stampeded through Congress under the pretext that the FISA Court had unexpectedly issued still secret opinions requiring NSA to obtain FISA Court warrants before intercepting strictly foreign-to-foreign communications that pass through US facilities. Until then, everyone thought such strictly foreign-to-foreign communications were outside FISA's requirements.

NSA and the Justice Department complained that the paper work for getting Court warrants was too burdensome for such communications, and the result, NSA claimed, was a loss of such intelligence for some unknown period. Everyone panicked and agreed we should fix FISA to exempt such communications. The "fix" with the Orwellian title of "Protect America Act" (PAA), was a travesty, and the Democrats vowed to repair the damage before the new statute expires in February, 2008.
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