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Tuesday, September 26th 2006

Take That Civil Liberties…

More news on Specter’s wiretapping “compromise,” looking like it’ll make it out easily before November.

The proposed legislation on warrantless surveillance won the support of three Republican senators who had joined Democrats in expressing concern about the bill’s scope and sweep.

GOP Sens. Larry E. Craig of Idaho, John E. Sununu of New Hampshire and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska announced that they had reached agreement with the Bush administration on changes to the surveillance bill.

The bill would constitute an official congressional endorsement of the once-secret surveillance program under which the National Security Agency monitors international phone calls and e-mails in the U.S. involving terrorism suspects.


Craig, Sununu and Murkowski said in a joint statement Monday that the changes would provide “the tools necessary to combat terrorism” while protecting constitutional rights and ensuring that Congress had “authority to regulate and provide oversight throughout the surveillance process.”

Civil liberties groups, Democrats and others said the surveillance legislation still amounted to a fundamental rewriting of a 1978 law, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, that set up a special federal court to review wiretapping in terrorism and espionage cases. The legislation would give the president the right to order surveillance without warrants, which critics said would eviscerate the intent of the original law.

“Ultimately, the legislation would still ratify an unlawful surveillance program,” said Democratic Sens. Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin, Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, and Ken Salazar of Colorado.

My New Phone Plan