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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 03:44 PM
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Warrantless Spying Showdown Postponed to Monday

Warrantless Spying Showdown Postponed to Monday

By Ryan Singel December 14, 2007


Action could have started as soon as today, forcing a promised filibuster to happen over the weekend, but today Reid indicated on the Senate floor that he would wait until Monday:

In this instance on the FISA bill the controversial but important FISA bill, there are two committees that have jurisdiction. Intelligence committee and after that it is referred to the judiciary committee. They have both done their work and they have done good work. What some may want to do is take what I thought was the best out of one and the best of the other and bring it to the floor. I cannot do that unless I trample the system. Under regular order, I will bring the intelligence committee bill to the floor and the first operative action after that is the judiciary committee. Senator Leahy is an experienced veteran legislator here longer than I and he knows what it do. The Senate will work its will as to what needs to be done with FISA. I'll guarantee you right now, one thing that's going to occur: not everyone will be happy.

The move comes after weeks of speculation over whether Reid would prefer the Senate Intelligence committee's version - a bill favored by the Administration -- or the Senate Judiciary's version. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Connecticut has a hold on the Intel bill, since it includes amnesty for telecoms being sued for helping with the government's secret, warrantless wiretapping program, but Reid decided to override that hold. Civil liberties groups prefer the version from the Judiciary Committee, led by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), since it requires an investigation into the warrantless spying program, is mum on immunity and more tightly limits warrantless wiretapping inside American soil.


Opponents of the Intel bill contend that setting that bill as the default and the Judiciary as the substitute makes it nearly impossible to substitute the latter for the former, since it could require up to 60 votes to do so. If Reid had reversed the order, putting the Judiciary bill first, it could have taken 60 votes to include amnesty.

On Wednesday, 14 senators urged (.pdf) Reid to start with the Senate Judiciary bill, since it was written up in an open, rather than secret, process.

Any bill that is passed by the Senate will have to be reconciled with the House's already passed Restore Act. That bill has no immunity provision and lets the NSA wiretap without warrants inside the United States only so long as they know that their targets are foreigners communicating with other foreigners and don't use any accidentally collected communications from Americans without getting a court order.


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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 03:47 PM
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1. Reid skirted the issue of immunity on the Senate floor today.
I hope that was just an accident or my take but, I really don't think so.
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