The present law would have expired on February 1, 2008, but an extension was passed to give the house and senate until February 15, 2008 to allow lawmakers the time to get the FISA bill passed.
At issue is the government's post-9/11 Terrorist Surveillance Program, which circumvented a secret court created 30 years ago to oversee such activities. The court was part of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a law written in response to government abuse of its surveillance authority against Americans.The 18 (Correction-20 with Rockefeller (D-WV))Democrats that crossed the aisle to vote with the Republicans (on cloture) are, Baucus (D-MT), Bayh (D-IN), Carper (D-DE), Casey (D-PA), Conrad (D-ND), Feinstein (D-CA), Inouye (D-HI), Johnson (D-SD), Kohl (D-WI), Landrieu (D-LA), Lincoln (D-AR), McCaskill (D-MO), Mikulski (D-MD), Nelson (D-FL), Nelson (D-NE), Pryor (D-AR), Salazar (D-CO), Webb (D-VA), and Whitehouse (D-RI).
The surveillance law has been updated repeatedly since then, most recently last summer. Congress hastily adopted a FISA modification in August in the face of dire warnings from the White House that changes in telecommunications technology and FISA court rulings were dangerously constraining the government's ability to intercept terrorist communications.
Shortly after its passage, privacy and civil liberties groups said the new law gave the government unprecedented authority to spy on Americans, particularly those who communicate with foreigners.
That law expires Feb. 15, the deadline against which the Senate is now racing to pass a new bill.
Unsurprisingly, Lieberman (ID-CT) also voted for the amendment.
In a separate voice vote Tuesday, the Senate expanded the power of the court to oversee government eavesdropping on Americans. The amendment would give the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court the authority to monitor whether the government is complying with procedures designed to protect the privacy of innocent Americans whose telephone or computer communications are captured during surveillance of a foreign target.
This compromise from the Senate by passing that amendment is fair but has not satisfied the radical left side of the Democratic base as witnessed by the temper tantrums being had right now on the left side of the blogosphere which is showing the base angered by the Democrats.
For the 18 Dems who went along with this nonsense, I’d love to hear an explanation. For the Republicans, not even one GOP senator was willing to take a stand for the rule of law. Not one.
Booman Tribune calls it the "FISA Betrayal".
All of the FISA amendments are failing.
The Democrats have conspired to give Bush everything he wants. We're going to get screwed. Nobody should pretend to be a hero here.
Too many Democrats simply don't have the values we imagine they do, and it lets them off the hook too much to assume they're simply craven people who need to get re-elected instead of bad people who don't share our values.
This is your Democratic Party in action:An additional thought here: This now goes to the House which passed their version of this without the telecom immunity. This is now the 12th and the extension expires on the 15th, so the house has three days because I seriously doubt the Republicans will allow another extension to pass to give the Democrats more time for their games.
TICK TOCK TICK TOCK....Clocks running out.
[Update] Michelle Malkin brings us word of the statement by John Boeher's office:
It speaks volumes about the national security priorities of congressional Democrats that they have failed to permanently close the terrorist loophole. And it certainly speaks volumes that they have failed to do so because they have bowed to the demands of those on the Left seeking to derail common sense terrorist surveillance laws that would help keep our country safe from attack.
With the deadline coming this Saturday, will Democratic leaders finally work with Republicans to permanently close the terrorist loophole in our nation’s terrorist surveillance laws and extend appropriate liability protections for third parties who have stepped up to the plate in the interest of our national security? Or will the Majority’s allies on the Left demand that Congress backs down from this responsibility once again, kicking the can even farther down the road while the safety of Americans at home and abroad hangs in the balance?
Yes, it does speak volumes.
Now, back to the regularly scheduled hissy fits from the left....we have Scholars & Rogues:
Well, the answer is that the so-called “Democratic” Congress doesn’t give a damn what we think, as they’ve voted down virtually all amendments to the FISA reauthorization bill that would have granted oversight and accountability–including blocking immunity for telecoms. As Glenn Greenwald eloquently notes, this day we’ve seen a so-called “bipartisan” Congress justify lawbreaking and illegality on a level that even the previous Republican majority couldn’t pull off.
What a shell Congress is from its former greatness.
Bush gets away with illegal wiretapping and so do the companies that helped him do it.
Bush gets away with the Iraq war, all without any consequences whatsoever.
No wonder more and more people are registering as Independents.
NOW I am hysterically laughing...Mona over at Unqualified Offerings is read to take the streets with "torches and pitchforks"....LOLOLOLOLOL
Someone wanna tell me again why I voted a straight Dem ticket in ‘06?
The she discusses the useless petition that FDL has, saying:
Not that it will do any good; but I’m gonna sign it. I am verging on hating Democrats almost as much as I do Republicans. Is it time yet to take to the streets with torches and pitchforks?
Is that hysterical or what?
More to come as the outrage grows....