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FISA: Deal or No Deal?

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May 14, 2008

Here in Washington, rumors are swirling about a deal on FISA being brokered by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Ranking Intelligence Committee Member Senator Kit Bond. We’re taking the news to heart and getting ready for the other shoe to drop in this saga. Letting the Protect America Act expire in February was a brave act and since then the House has continued to do the right thing by doing nothing. Now with a Hoyer/Bond deal about to drop and news that Senate Intel Chairman Jay Rockefeller is floating his own proposal, we’re getting back into the trenches.

It should be clear that deal that’s being worked out and ultimately agreed upon by Bond and Hoyer will be likely very, very close to the unconstitutional bill passed by the Senate in February. Since it’s implied that Bond is speaking for the White House – as he has throughout this process – the proposal will likely include attempts to soften the idea of blanket immunity for the telecoms by allowing the FISA court to determine whether cases can go forward. Bad idea.

The entire reason these cases were brought against the telecoms was so that the plaintiffs – and the American public – would have a better understanding of how and why the administration decided to circumvent the law when no one was looking. A secret court picked by the conservative-leaning Supreme Court Chief Justice, John Roberts, does not exactly give the impression of transparent government or due process.

We’ll let you know more when we do. Until then, these are our three tenets:

  • No on secret FISA court proceedings.
  • No on letting telecoms off the hook for their intentions instead of their actions.
  • No on depriving any court from determining whether FISA and other privacy statutes were actually violated.Learn them, love them, and stand behind them by telling your House member to stop compromising with President Bush, and start defending the Constitution.

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