As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee, I have been working and will continue to work every step of the way to try to fix the badly flawed FISA bill. I was pleased that in the Intelligence Committee markup yesterday Senator Wyden and I were able to make some improvements to the bill, including requiring FISA court orders for wiretapping U.S. citizens overseas and more meaningful oversight by Congress and the Inspector General of the new authorities. But we still have a long way to go before this bill adequately protects the privacy of law-abiding Americans. The bill still cedes far too much power to the executive branch, which has time and again shown it will only abuse it. And I am deeply disappointed that it included retroactive immunity for anyone alleged to have cooperated with the Administration’s illegal warrantless wiretapping program. I hope the bill will be further improved in the Judiciary Committee before it reaches the full Senate. If the bill that ultimately reaches the Senate floor includes immunity and does not adequately protect the privacy of Americans, I will fight it vigorously with every tool at my disposal.
I hope this means what I think it means. Because it’s a nice contrast to the mumbling coming out of Reid’s office.
I emailed Reid’s office to ask if they actually intended to override and ignore Dodd’s “hold” and this is the patronizing (though crystal clear) dismissal I received back as a “response” from Reid’s spokesman, Jim Manley:
Reid will work with Dodd and other Senators to correct the deep flaws in the Protect America Act.
Clearly, Reid has nothing but contempt for Dodd’s principled stand, which was generated by (and in response to) the actions of tens of thousands of Americans concerned about our constitutional liberties and the rule of law. Reid is dismissively brushing that all to the side — as usual — to ensure the safe and smooth passage of a Draconian bill jointly demanded by the Bush administration, the telecom industry, and their lobbyists.
It’s very easy to say where you stand on these things (ahem, Senators Clinton and Obama). Russ Feingold did, everyone else can too. Nobody needs to wait until the bill passes through the bowels of all these Senate committees and procedures to say where they stand, and how they will act, on telecom immunity and other aspects of the Rockefeller-for-sale bill that just came out of the Intelligence Committee.