The US Senate voted today to approve the FISA bill , including immunity for the telecomm companies who acted at the government’s request with the understanding they were receiving and acting on legal requests. The bill was approved after Republicans agreed to allow Democrats more judicial and congressional oversight. And the bill passed 69-28.
Bush is, of course, expected to sign the bill.
Obama, despite voting for the bill, expects to keep an eye on this activity if elected and address any issues he sees.
Wait a minute, did I just say OBAMA VOTED FOR THE BILL??? Yup, although he voted against the immunity amendment, he voted for the bill. And Clinton, in a show of party unity with Obama, voted against it.
Obama is definitely frustrating liberal Democrats with this vote, and with other recent moves toward the center (can you say “2-term centrist” like Bill and W?). From the Wall Street Journal:
One senior Democratic lawmaker said Sen. Obama’s decision both burnishes his national-security credentials and demonstrates that “he can stand up to the left.”
Yeah, now that he’s got the votes to win the nomination, he can abandon the whole left segment that got him where he is today. They’ll call it the “Barack Bait-n-switch” before long. So what can the Left do, anyhow? They have no one else to vote for except maybe Nader. Some might think the Right has a similar problem with McCain, with no one else to vote for except, hmmm… Obama? Which is essentially the point Barack sees… he has a better chance of winning in November if he looks as much like his opponent as possible, and that’s what he striving for.
But don’t let him fool you. Once he’s in office, we’ll see his true stripes.
I still don’t understand, and probably never will, how the American People cannot see past the obvious manipulation on the whole immunity issue on FISA. The Democrats are clearly using it to either promote more litigation (a boon for lawyers) or to get something else they want, which is what they succeeded at doing. I mean, here’s an explanation (from the same WSJ story) of what the immunity means:
If companies can show a federal court “substantial evidence” they received a written request from the attorney general or head of an intelligence agency stating that the president had authorized the surveillance and determined it to be lawful, suits against the companies will be dismissed.
This has got to be the most reasonable set of conditions to lay out… how anyone can think that it makes sense to hold anyone responsible for, what? Who got hurt by this? But to hold these companies responsible for whatever imagined pain was created when the government provided reasonable assurance that their request was legal and necessary to protect Americans is just absurd.
What’s worse is the torpidity of the US Congress to spend 2 years getting this handled. I am grateful to President Bush for continuing to press for this critical legislation.