Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Some of you have been asking for updates on where we are with the FISA legislation in the Senate. I’m attaching Jane McCarter’s (McJoan) update posted on Daily Kos just twenty minutes ago. There is still time for you to call your Senators!

FISA Fight: White House temper tantrum

by mcjoan
Wed Feb 06, 2008 at 09:13:17 AM PST

The Republican shenanigans on filibustering the stimulus package in order to delay consideration of the FISA fix now seems to have been orchestrated from the White House, if you could judge by a
letter (pdf) AG Mukasey and DNI McConnell sent to Reid yesterday. The letter stresses that it's critical that the Protect America Act not be allowed to expire, while at the same time the White House's lackeys in the Senate were doing everything in their power to gum up the works.

Mukasey and McConnell also wrote to stress that just about every pending Democratic amendment to the bill would ensure a veto. Those provisions include:

* Feingold's S 3979, which prevents communication collection if the government knows beforehand that communication is to or from a person believed to be in the U.S.

* Feingold's reverse targeting, S 3913, which prohibits the government from getting around FISA's court order requirement by wiretapping an individual overseas when it is really interested in a person in the U.S. with whom that supposed foreign target is communicating.

* Feingold's Specific Individual Target test, S 3912, which prohibits bulk collection and requires the government to certify to the FISA Court that it is collecting communications of targets for whom there is a foreign intelligence interest.

* Feingold's Use Limits, S 3915: gives the FISA Court discretion to impose restrictions on the use of information about Americans that is acquired through procedures later determined to be illegal by the FISA court.

* Dodd/Feingold's S 3907, which strips telco amnesty from the bill.

* Whitehouse/Specter's substitution, S 3927 which substitutes the government for telcos being sued for their participation in the warrantless wiretapping program, but only if the company is first determined by the FISA Court to have cooperated with the Bush Administration reasonably and in good faith.

* Feinstein's S 3919, which would allow FISC to review the AG's declaration that the telcos acted in good faith before they get their immunity.

The amendments that the White House doesn't like but would live with are Cardin's four year sunset of the law (S 3930) and Whitehouse's amendment on minimization (S 3920), the process of weeding out data obtained about U.S. persons and destroying it. This amendment would grant the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court the discretionary authority to not only approve minimization rules but to review their implementation.

The debate has resumed on the Senate floor on these amendments. It is critical that as many as these amendments as possible pass--all of the veto-worthy amendments would pass on a simple majority vote (a majority of Senators voting, not a 50-vote threshold). Whitehouse's minimization amendment, which apparently would be acceptable to the White House, would actually strengthen the bill significantly, and would be a good focus for our efforts.

But again, getting every vote possible for the basic amendments, including no telco amnesty, in the Senate will make the House's defense of their version of the bill easier when it comes to conference. Keep the pressure up on those Dems. Contact
your own Senators and also this list of Senators likely to be persuadable.

Tell them
(1) NO on telco amnesty,
(2) NO basket warrants or reverse targeting,
(3) sequestration of illegally harvested evidence,
(4) make FISA the exclusive means of surveillance, and
(5) vote for a 4 year sunset.

Bayh (202) 224-5623 phone, (202) 228-1377 fax
Byrd (202) 224-3954 phone, (202) 228-0002 fax
Carper (202) 224-2441 phone, (202) 228-2190 fax
Feinstein (202) 224-3841 phone, (202) 228-3954 fax
Inouye (202) 224-3934 phone, (202) 224-6747 fax
Johnson (202) 224-5842 phone, (605) 341-2207 fax
Kohl (202) 224-5653 (202) 224-9787
Landrieu (202)224-5824 phone, (202) 224-9735 fax
Lincoln (202) 224-4843 phone, (202) 228-1371 fax
McCaskill (202) 224-6154 phone, (202) 228-6326 fax
Mikulski (202) 224-4654 phone, (202) 224-8858 fax
Nelson (FL) (202) 224-5274 phone, (202) 228-2183 fax
Nelson (NE) (202) 224-6551 phone, (202) 228-0012 fax
Pryor (202) 224-2353 phone, (202) 228-0908 fax
Rockefeller, (202) 224-6472 phone, (202) 224-7665 fax
Salazar (202) 224-5852 phone, (202) 228-5036 fax
Stabenow (202) 224-4822 phone, (202) 228-0325 fax
Chambliss (202) 224-3521 phone, (202) 224-0103 fax
Coleman (202) 224-5641 phone, (202) 224-1152 fax
Collins (202) 224-2523 phone, (202) 224-2693 fax
Dole (202) 224-6342 phone, (202) 224-1100 fax
Graham (202) 224-5972 phone, (202) 224-3808 fax
Lieberman (202) 224-4041 phone, (202) 224-9750 fax
McCain (202) 224-2235 phone, (202) 228-2862 fax
Smith (202) 224-3753 phone, (202) 228-3997 fax
Snowe (202) 224-5344 phone, (202) 224-1946 fax
Sununu (202) 224-2841 phone, (202) 228-4131 fax
Warner (202) 224-2023 phone, (202) 224-6295 fax

If this is your first visit to my blog you may want to check out my earlier postings on this issue:
FISA Fear-Mongering (February 3); Small Victory for Liberty (January 28), More About FISA (January 26), The Battle for Liberty (January 24)

- Milo

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