We all heard the sound bites yesterday of Bush chastising the Dems for not getting him everything he wants in a FISA update.
My response to the 'deal' is WTF! You can read here about the broad powers granted by this bill.
A key Democrat in the negotiations, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), says that a deal had in fact been reached with McConnell, who has been busy lobbying Congress on a FISA update all week. "We had an agreement with DNI McConnell," Hoyer spokeswoman Stacey Bernards tells TPMmuckraker, "and then the White House quashed the agreement."
A bill that House Democrats put forward today does not require the National Security Agency to seek warrants for surveillance of persons inside the United States -- only that the Attorney General will issue "guidelines" as to how collecting the communications of U.S. persons should operate.
I'm speechless that the Democratic leadership would give any Attorney General, and especially Gonzales!!!!!, the power to conduct warrantless domestic surveillance under any circumstances. Unbelievable.
FISA is broad enough granting any administration the power to conduct warrantless foreign surveillance of 'foreign powers' outside the US and a long record of granting secret warrants to every administration that fall outside the 'foreign powers' definition.
Judicial oversight is critical for any administration and never more so than this administration.
Without getting too technical, to the extent that the Act needs to be amended to broaden the definition of "foreign powers" (as I understand the Act, presently limited to foreign governments) to include non-state foreign terrorism organizations (which the Act already defines) that is fine and would represent a more current and practical world view. But if you give this administration an inch, they will take a yard. Call me old fashioned, and I'm sorry, but if the US government wants to spy on US residents, they need a warrant and a judicial oversight, and on this, there can be no compromise.
If the Director of National Intelligence cut a deal with the House and Senate Leadership (and note that neither the DNI nor the White House has denied the deal) and the WH nixed it, you really have to wonder why. And with this WH it is fair to think the worst.
UPDATE: In the face of WH resistance, The Democratic Leadership caved.
It's no wonder the American people don't think that Dems can protect them. They're all a bunch of gutless cowards.