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Wednesday, September 13th 2006

Get In Line!

Cheney and CoS Bolten went into the Senate Judiciary Committee and forced a party line vote on the NSA Wiretapping bill, which so recently had been drawing concerned glances from some Republican members.

By a party-line vote of 10 to 8, the committee sent the bill to the Senate floor, where a vote could come next week. The bill embodies an agreement reached by President Bush and the committee chairman, Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, under which the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court would review the eavesdropping program.

Today’s vote was a victory for the White House in the continuing debate over the proper balance between national security and personal liberties, but it was far from the last word.

Trust Me, That Snarl Can Force A Party Line Vote

There’s still hope this won’t get through before the election cycle (although I assure you pushing it is the White House’s top agenda), because the companion bill

in the House seemed to be stalled today as negotiations continued. And with the campaign season heating up, the controversies surrounding the eavesdropping issue are likely to be argued in races across the country.

As might be expected traditional tech media isn’t too happy about it. Over at Wired,

Jim Dempsey, the policy director for the more moderate Center for Democracy and Technology, described the bill’s passage out of committee as “light years or miles beyond the Patriot Act.”

“What started out as Sen. Specter wanting to rein in the president’s program has turned on its head and is now not just a legislative ratification of the program, but an expansion of warrantless wiretapping of Americans,” Dempsey said. “It would allow the NSA to turn its vacuum cleaners on even domestic phone calls and e-mails of citizens.

Wired also has a link to the text of the NSA bill.