And the President Gets What the President Wants, But I Want Nothing That Society's Got


Glenn Greenwald has a preview of the FISA bill likely to pass the House. It's as wonderful as you'd expect.

The current draft does not contain telecom immunity (solely for temporary strategic reasons—see below), but incorporates every substantive warrantless surveillance provision of the Rockefeller/Cheney bill passed by the Senate, with several small and worthless exceptions that they'll try to sell to what they obviously think is their stupid base as some vital "concessions":

  • The House bill has a 4 year-sunset provision rather than the Senate's 6 years;
  • It provides for an audit by the DOJ's Inspector General of the "Terrorist Surveillance Program" (the only change that I would describe as something other than worthless);
  • It contains a provision stating that the bill is the "exclusive means" by which the President can conduct electronic surveillance (the same provision that FISA has now which the President violated, and which the Senate refused to insert into its bill); Nancy Pelosi was trying just yesterday, lamely, to sell this provision as some sort of vital safeguard;
  • The bill mandates some minimal re-review of some of the provisions in 2009; and,
  • It contains some mild changes to some of the definitions (the specifics of which I don't know).

The plan of the House leadership is to pass this specific bill in the House, send it to the Senate (where telecom immunity will be added in by the same bipartisan Senate faction that already voted for immunity), have it go back to the House for an up-or-down-vote on the House-bill-plus-telecom-immunity (which will pass with the support of the Blue Dogs), and then compliantly sent on to a happy and satisfied President, who will sign the bill that he demanded.

More reason on FISA here. Headline explained here.