Thursday, February 7, 2008


“Still FISA?” I can hear some of my friends saying. “Why are you giving this so much attention?” I am doing it because I believe this may be one of those little-acknowledged “hinges of history” that will shape our nations commitment to rule by law and civil liberties. I recall the words the words often attributed to Benjamin Franklin but which were probably first said by Richard Jackson and then published by Franklin: Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

So what happened today? Most of the Senate’s day was taken up Thursday with the Recovery Rebates and Economic Stimulus legislation. The House version
was passed (81-16) by the Senate with the addition of senior citizens and disabled veterans.

On FISA, two Feingold amendments were voted on and rejected. The first was one that places flexible limits on the use of information obtained using unlawful procedures. The second was one that prohibits reverse targeting and protects the rights of Americans who are communicating with people abroad.
For details, click on the link above for the U.S. Congress Votes Database.

If I understood Majority Leader Reed this afternoon the next votes on the other amendments, including the one on immunity for the telecoms, will not take place until Tuesday morning. I don’t know what the Senate will be doing tomorrow and Monday.

For more information on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) click on one or more of my earlier postings on this issue:
Latest on the FISA Fight (February 6); FISA Fear-Mongering (February 3); Small Victory for Liberty (January 28), More About FISA (January 26), The Battle for Liberty (January 24)

Stay tuned into this issue! If you haven’t called your Senators yet you still have time. You’ll find their phone numbers on the February 6 posting.

- Milo

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