The Senate today passed the revised Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), offering blanket immunity to the telecoms giants for whatever spying activities they conspired in, smothering ongoing litigation against the companies and for all intents and purposes burying forever whatever unconstitutional surveillance activities the Cheney administration embraced.
The bill, in fact, expands authority for unsupervised domestic surveillance while offering somewhat expanded protection for Americans living abroad. The oversight role of the FISA court itself is diminished, inasmuch as the bill requires markedly less specificity for obtaining a FISA surveillance warrant than is currently required.
Although the new bill does not quite permit blanket wiretaps, it does give authority to the Director of National Intelligence or the Attorney General to authorize surveillance on individuals or those connected to them without designating exactly what they're hunting. The court merely signs off on this type of surveillance in a kind of procedural flourish – as long as sufficient "minimization" procedures are in place to avoid accidental surveillance of Americans. You can expect the National Security Agency (NSA) or the Department of Justice (DOJ) to push the envelope.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Senate Democrats sacrifice our liberties
From The Register: