FISA: Dead Issue or Sleeping Monster?

Yesterday, the House voted to extend the current FISA for 15 days. It was set to expire on Friday, and there's been a pitched battle in the Senate, with a key Republican defecting to the Dem's side in voting to deny cloture of the version of the bill that offers immunity to telecommunications companies. The future of FISA depends on constituent pressure - so, make the call today.

On Monday, the Senate voted overwhelmingly against cloture of the pending FISA bill, which as written, provides total immunity for telecoms in the U.S. against possible lawsuits for illegally assisting and enabling the Bush administration in conducting warrantless domestic wiretapping. Even Snarlin' Arlen Specter broke ranks with his fellow Republicans and voted to kill cloture. Glenn Greenwald has a great summation and updates from his live blogging of the various votes that were held regarding FISA.

FISA expires this coming Friday. That means that the Bush administration has three days left to exert pressure on the GOP minority to get something passed - and George Bush has vowed to veto any bill that comes to him as an "extension" of the current law, or one that excludes telecom immunity. As things stand now, the Dems in the Senate have held together, perhaps at Sen. Chris Dodd's request, but more likely because they've been hearing from their constituents.

Yesterday afternoon, the House passed a 15 day extension of the current FISA, and the extension has been sent to the Senate. Will it pass? If I was in possession of a magic 8-ball, I'd probably get the response, "All Signs Point to Yes". And then the question becomes, will the Senate forward the extension to Bush, one he's vowed to veto?

I'm not sure what the game is that Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have been playing with FISA. Prior to the Christmas recess, they shelved the bill (after a threatened Dodd filibuster, and in the face of a lot of backlash from progressives). They knew they were just delaying the inevitable showdown, and we're pretty much there at this moment. Passions are running hot on both sides of the issue.

#story_page_post_article

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.