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Warrantless Wiretaps: Temporarily Legal

By August 6, 2007

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Democrats in Congress capitulated when President Bush insisted he would veto a Democratic-sponsored bill that approved limited warrantless wiretaps of foreign communications but also included some oversight by FISA and the Justice Department Inspector General.

The bill Congress rushed to pass before August recess -- and that President Bush immediately signed -- removes the third party oversight. Instead, the Attorney General will report to Congress two times a year, and two political appointees (the AG and the National Intelligence Director) have joint authority to approve wiretaps (rather than the 11-member FISA court). Moreover:

[T]he new law obliges phone and Internet companies to create back doors for eavesdroppers; if they don't comply, they can be held in contempt.

The House voted 227 to 183 (41 Dems) on Saturday; the Senate, 60-28 (15 Dems) on Friday.

Although the bill sunsets in six months -- meaning that Congress and the White House have another go at this -- any surveillance set up during this six month period does not have to sunset for 12 months.

Senate Vote Details
Democrats and Independents voting "yes"
Bayh (D-IN), Carper (D-DE), Casey (D-PA), Conrad (D-ND), Feinstein (D-CA), Inouye (D-HI), Klobuchar (D-MN), Landrieu (D-LA), Lieberman (ID-CT), Lincoln (D-AR), McCaskill (D-MO), Mikulski (D-MD), Nelson (D-FL), Nelson (D-NE), Pryor (D-AR), Salazar (D-CO), Webb (D-VA).

Republicans and Independents voting "no"
Sanders (I-VT)

Not Voting
Alexander (R-TN), Boxer (D-CA), Bunning (R-KY), Dorgan (D-ND), Gregg (R-NH), Harkin (D-IA), Johnson (D-SD), Kerry (D-MA), Lott (R-MS), Lugar (R-IN), McCain (R-AZ), Murray (D-WA).

House Vote Details
Democrats Voting "yes"
Altmire, Barrow, Bean, Boren, Boswell, Boyd (FL), Carney, Chandler, Cooper, Costa, Cramer, Cuellar, Davis (AL), Davis, Lincoln, Donnelly, Edwards, Ellsworth, Etheridge, Herseth Sandlin, Higgins, Hill, Lampson, Lipinski, Marshall, Matheson, McIntyre, Melancon, Mitchell, Peterson (MN), Pomeroy, Rodriguez, Ross, Salazar, Shuler, Snyder, Space, Tanner, Taylor, Walz (MN), Wilson (OH).

Republicans Voting "no"
Johnson (IL), Jones (NC)

Not Voting
Becerra, Clarke, Clay, Coble - R, Crenshaw - R, Davis, Jo Ann - R, Delahunt, Goode - R, Hastert - R, Hayes - R , Hinojosa, Hunter - R, Jindal - R, Johnson, Sam - R, Kilpatrick, Klein (FL), LaHood - R, Lantos, Paul - R, Saxton - R, Skelton, Tancredo - R, Young (AK) - R

See NSA Wiretap Timeline and A Brief History of FISA.

Comments

August 17, 2007 at 4:11 pm
(1) 4liberty1st says:

Let us please not forget what the current Democrat party in their need to attack President George W Bush wish we would forget:

http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/eo/eo-12949.htm
Bill Clinton did it

http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/eo12139.htm
Jimmy Carter did it

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