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FISA Fix Nix

I know that Creature has already flagged this but it deserves far more scrutiny for the sheer audaciousness from the Bush administration.

This past week, the Bushies were in a mad dash lobbying Congress to pass legislation they claimed was sorely needed to fix dangerous loopholes found in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. About mid week we learned the reason for the rush: a FISA court judge secretly ruled some months ago that an aspect of the NSA surveillance program was illegal.

As the week came to a close, indications were that the Democrats would acquiesce to the White House's demands. It seemed mind boggling that after all the obfuscation of Alberto Gonzales and the revelation of even more spying than has previously been revealed, that the Dems would even consider the idea of making any changes to FISA. But nonetheless, a tentative deal was reached with Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the White House. Bush scuttled the deal because it didn't go far enough. Among the things Bush demanded was that telecommunication companies be given retroactive immunity from litigation for their involvement in the NSA spying. The Bushies also wanted greater authority to be given to the Attorney General to review FISA warrant requests and while the Dems proposal did give him greater leeway in seeking such warrants, it wasn't enough for Bush.

So Bush spent all week pleading with Congress to fix this desperately needed loophole and when the Dems put forth a proposal that does just that, he nixes it because it doesn't give him everything he asked for. That should tell you the real reason for this fight. It had nothing to do with fixing a flaw in our intelligence gathering capabilities and everything to do with Bush usurping yet more power for himself. And thanks to the rank fearmongering from Repubs, the Senate Dems were sufficiently cowed.

And even though the legislation has a six month sunset clause, anyone care to wager the odds that the moment the cameras stop shuttering at the signing ceremony, Bush will append one of his famous statements saying the bill is merely "advisory" and he can do whatever he wants?

That's the problem when your dealing with someone willing to hold America's security hostage. Rarely is there a happy outcome.

More from Meme.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

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