Posted by Curt on 20 June, 2008 at 7:00 am. 4 comments already!


Will Obama be absent for this vote when it comes before the Senate next week?

A bipartisan deal that clears the way for a sweeping overhaul of domestic wiretapping laws will let telecommunications companies escape lawsuits over the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance program, congressional leaders announced Thursday.

The measure could be brought to the floor of the House of Representatives as early as Friday.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, said the bill is “not perfect” but “strikes a sound balance” between intelligence-gathering and court oversight.

It’s not perfect, thats for sure. But it does allow telecom companies to continue assisting the government in keeping tabs on terrorists who communicate with those inside our borders. The WSJ put it this way. This will:

ensure that much of the controversial surveillance operation created by President Bush in secret will outlast his administration.

A counter-terrorist surveillance operation created in secret without the knowledge of the MSM? Gasp! How dare they!

Yes, yes, I know….its the new age of September 10th and all.

But reading through the reports on this deal it appears that it has a bit to satisfy both sides. It has safeguards put in place to prevent abuse of the intelligence gathered on Americans by a review of targeting procedures annually. As far as the telecoms go it appears that they will get immunity prior to this legislation simply by the AG in the court where a lawsuit is pending certifying that the President authorized the surveillance to prevent terrorist attacks and that they were asked to assist in this endeavor.

Paul Mirengoff at Powerline has much more on this subject:

In cases based on surveillance performed since the FISA court became involved, immunity is conferred by a certification by the Attorney General that the surveillance was undertaken pursuant to an appropriate order.

The certification will terminate any litigation against a telecom unless the court finds that it is not supported by substantial evidence provided to the court. In performing its review, the court is limited basically to examining the certification itself, along with relevant court orders or letters to the telecoms requesting assistance. If the Attorney General declares that disclosure of the certification would harm our national security, the court must review the certification and supplemental materials without disclosing them to the other parties.

In prior versions of this legislation, the standard of review with respect to certifications by the Attorney General was “abuse of discretion.” Thus, those who wish to limit the immunity grant can claim a victory of sorts based on the inclusion of a “substantial evidence” standard. In practice, however, the new standard should not be a difficult one to meet. Absent a very liberal, very mischievous judge, a telecom company that deserves immunity should be able to obtain it rather summarily.

Problem is we have tons of very liberal, very mischievous judges on the bench today. But this is better then nothing at all and while its not perfect by any stretch of the imagination it will at least get the surveillance back up and operating to protect this country….which should be priority number one.

Of course the left has a very different set of priorities:

I’ve now just read a copy of the final “compromise” bill. It’s even worse than expected. When you read it, it’s actually hard to believe that the Congress is about to make this into our law. Then again, this is the same Congress that abolished habeas corpus with the Military Commissions Act, and legalized George Bush’s warrantless eavesdropping program with the “Protect America Act,” so it shouldn’t be hard to believe at all. Seeing the words in print, though, adds a new dimension to appreciating just how corrupt and repugnant this is

Abolished habeas corpus for those who are not Americans and have waged war on this country?….oh the shame. Warrantless surveillance of terrorists outside of this country calling into this country?…..oh the shame!

Nevermind that our Constitution allows all of those “horrible” acts to occur, and nevermind that those “horrible” acts are just plain common sense tactics to combat this enemy we fight. Nevermind all that when your combating Bushitler….our nations security be damned!

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