I’m not sure what to make of the new FISA bill at this point…
I watched some of the House proceedings yesterday, and was struck by the varied perspectives of our Democratic representatives. Some were fully supportive (Speaker Pelosi among them), others were vehemently opposed to it (like Rep. Kusinich).
In my, admittedly limited, reading of this issue, I had thought that, apart from the retroactive immunity thing, these FISA amendments were generally OK bills. So, I was irritated to learn that the immunity clause was included in this legislation. Beyond that, I didn’t think our representatives were giving away our rights… Not being sure, I actually read the bill last night (pdf).
I’m not a lawyer, of course, but I didn’t really find anything overtly objectionable to it… with the possible exception of being allowing for authorization of emergency surveillance without review of even the FISA court for 7 days. The government would then be able to keep the results of the surveillance regardless of whether the court approved of it. That seemed a little shady… but nothing else really jumped out at me. It just didn’t seem that bad…
Neil at Cogitamus generally says the same thing.
On the other hand, Glenn Greenwald, who is a lawyer, tore into Sen. Obama for supporting it. And he linked to the ACLU page, listing their objections, all of which are scary. I think, in this case, I need to cede my judgement to the lawyers (man, what a scary thing to say).
So, I think I’m going to go back to being pissed (or perhaps rather irritated) by the passage of this bill.