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The FISA Thread

Above is an amazing interview with Daniel Ellsberg, the man who released the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times in 1971 (Video & blog post found here).

The FISA vote, originally scheduled for today, has been postponed until tomorrow so that Senators can attend the funeral of Jesse Helms. For more background on what is at stake, read (or listen to) an interview with Mark Klein, an AT&T Technician who in 2006 came forward with internal AT&T documents that revealed the company had set up a secret room in its San Francisco office to give the National Security Agency access to its fiber optic internet cables. Snip:

[W]e were told one day in late 2002 that an NSA representative was coming to the office to speak to a certain management technician about a special job. And this turned out to be installing a secret room in the next office I was going to be in the following year. And that secret room involved a lot of spying equipment. Only this one management technician could go in there, and the regular union technicians were not allowed to go in there.

But when—in 2003 I was assigned to that office, and I got hold of the documents which were available—they’re not classified—and the documents showed what they were doing. They were basically copying the entire data stream going across critical internet cables and copying the entire data stream to this secret room, so the NSA was getting everything.

Did you get that? The government was getting everything. And the current bill will grant retroactive immunity for crimes unknown. Even Obama, who once swore he would never vote for such a bill, has done a complete about face: "The ability to monitor and track individuals who want to attack the United States is a vital counter-terrorism tool, and I'm persuaded that it is necessary to keep the American people safe."

The "important surveillance tool" [Obama] is referring to is warrantless wiretapping. Here Obama unequivocally sides with the argument the Bush administration justice department has been making for years: that in the context of the "war on terror," some constitutional rights must be suspended or at least sidestepped, and key among them is warrantless state surveillance. That is a BIG DEAL.

Final passage of the bill (with the support of both presidential candidates) is all but guaranteed. And little by little, our Constitution, our Bill of Rights is dismantled before our very eyes.

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The public serpents have lost sight

of the fact that the Constitution IS the country. Or, maybe they haven't!

By attacking the Constitution, they are doing far more damage than any "terrorists"(real or imagined) could possibly ever do in a hundred lifetimes.

They point at "terrorists" to divert our attention, while THEY IN GOV'T are doing the actual destruction themselves.

It is important to recognize this.


our public servants think they can "protect" us by infringing on our constitution. OUR OWN FREAKING CONSTITUTION..How is that even possible to cast a vote that would infringe on the rule of law that is America. these bastards need to be thrown out of office immediately. How in the world have these guys gotten so much power and control. I just want to say to them "do you're job and protect the constitution and we will run the country. We the people made America great, not the government.

sorry I'm pissed right now

northstar's picture

McCain did'nt vote on this

What a weasel. He probably figures now he can tout to voters that he did'nt vote on it, so people can't criticize him for not voting on the bill. And then there's Obama, who flip-flopped and voted for it. America has two dummies to vote for. They won't get my vote !

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did paul vote on this?


Paul is also listed in the 'did not vote' section... wonder why?

- Luke

- Grow Mushrooms at Home

"Madam Speaker, I regret

"Madam Speaker, I regret that due to the unexpected last-minute appearance of this measure on the legislative calendar this week, a prior commitment has prevented me from voting on the FISA amendments. I have strongly opposed every previous FISA overhaul attempt and I certainly would have voted against this one as well." - Ron Paul


"But, indeed, no private person has a right to complain, by suit in court, on the ground of a breach of the Constitution. The Constitution it is true, is a compact, but he is not a party to it."

For your safety

Bush's Remarks re: FISA Passage

You can view President Bush's remarks regarding the passage of the FISA Amendment Act via a link here on cpsan's home page right now.

Caution: viewing may cause nausea, a rise in blood pressure, and outbreaks of coprolalia.


I can't even stomach seeing the Bush/McSame faces on t.v. for even a moment! Every time a McSame commercial comes on, I IMMEDIATELY switch to another channel.

Along with the nausea, rise in blood pressure and outbreaks, it just wants to make me wish them BOTH the serious consequences that will surely come their way when they have their Judgement day, just wish I could watch!

"If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the People, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security."
-Samuel Adams-

Let's pass a FISA bill for the people...

So we can eavesdrop on the Oval Office! Now that would be interesting, kinda like the Nixon tapes! Someone find out which carrier to contact so we can listen in to their cell phone calls too! How about their emails? How can we get all this stuff, Freedom of Information Act?
"We can do it, yes we can!"

RP R3VOLution

The Big One Passes

Kiss your 4th amendment protections goodbye.

The FISA Amendment Act (HR 6304) has passed. What happened to the promised filibuster?...

Final Count:
69 aye
28 no

Obama: AYE
McCain: [not present or not voting -- guess he just can't be bothered with such trivial stuff, huh?]

Clinton: NO

Boxer: no
Feinstein: aye

Read the FISA Amendment Act, H.R. 6304

Closure invoked

Motion to invoke closure on the electronic surveillance bill changing FISA rules.

Final count on this vote:
72 aye
26 no

Obama: aye
McCain: [not present or not voting]

Clinton: aye -- then later, during the voting, changed her vote to no (????)

Boxer: no
Feinstein: aye

The final vote on HR 6304 FAA (FISA Amendment Act) is next.



This bill will pass by quite a bit--no surprises I suppose.

Do you think Bush will sign it???!!

"No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal
rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him." --Thomas Jefferson

Libertas, Pax, Prosperitas

Bingaman Amend. Fails :(

The Bingaman Amendment has NOT passed. 56 no, 42 aye.

There are two more senators who will give their vote on this later today, though it won't make a difference at this point...the amendment is withdrawn.

This amendment would prevent Congress from granting immunity in the dark, by "staying pending cases against the telecoms and delaying the effective date of any immunity provisions until 90 days after Congress received a report from the inspectors general of the intelligence agencies on the warrantless surveillance program". By placing a temporary hold on immunity and on the litigation until 90 days after the IG Report is submitted to Congress, the simple amendment would give Congress and the American people an opportunity to revisit the issue of telco immunity next year, in light of the audit's findings.

Obama: aye
McCain: [May have finally showed up (?); his name was called this time around at roll call, but he did not vote (or I missed his vote).]

Clinton: aye

CA Senators:
Boxer: aye
Feinstein: aye

The Senate is now in recess, and will reconvene at 2:15pm EDT today.


Do you have a link of who voted for what?

"No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal
rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him." --Thomas Jefferson

Libertas, Pax, Prosperitas

No link (yet)

No link; the info I posted here, I got from watching the live coverage on C-span.org. I did just check thomas.gov, but don't see the votes listed there yet.

The Spector Amendment (PDF

The Spector Amendment (PDF here) has also been defeated, 61 no and 37 aye.

This amendment would have allowed the court to deny immunity if it found that the government's surveillance activities were unconstitutional.

Obama: yea
McCain: [Don't think he's present, as his name was not mentioned in the roll call...]

Clinton: yea

CA Senators:
Boxer: aye
Feinstein: no

Obama came through?

I called his office today and they said he was voting Yes to Feingold/Dodd bill. What else happened today and what does this mean going forward?

Dodd amendment voted down



Holy Crap!

Obama actually showed up in the senate chamber and voted yes for the Feingold and Dodd amendment


Don't get too excited

Obama said he'd for for the Feingold-Dodd amendment, but also said he'd vote for the FAA portion (the really bad part!) -- he's voting out of both sides of his mouth, essentially...since Feingold-Dodd did not pass, :( if the FAA portion passes, we're in deep Bandini.

FISA voting has begun...

The first of the three amendments is up for vote NOW.


Feingold-Dodd Amend. does NOT pass :(

The Feingold-Dodd amendment, which would have stripped telecoms of their immunity, was voted DOWN. 66 no, only 32 yea.

Here's how some of senators running/ran for the presidency voted on this amendment, btw:

Obama: aye
McCain: [never heard his name even called; I may have missed it or he may not be present...]

Clinton: aye
Brownback: no
Lieberman: no -- oh wait, he wasn't running...right? ;)

CA Senators:
Boxer: aye
Feinstein: no

Pretty empty there

Hard to see on the teeny tiny c-span screen, but it would appear that this vote is quite sparsely attended...unless they're all standing out of the camera's view!


They seem to be coming and going. I can't remember the last time I saw the chamber full.


Judge Walker's Ruling

It says in the following article that the judge ruled this Wednesday -- I'm assuming they mean, a week ago, rather than today, Wed. 7/9/08 -- just saw this on the cpsan site, and this could be very good for the hearings just underway:

Quick quote:
The [telecoms] face about 40 lawsuits for participating in the National Security Agency’s warrantless electronic surveillance program, all of which have been consolidated before Vaughn Walker, chief judge of the Northern District of California.

Critics argued Monday that the Senate should not pre-empt the lawsuits in light of a ruling by Walker on Wednesday. Walker held that the government could not prevent plaintiffs from presenting unclassified evidence to support their claims against the firms.

Senate Judiciary ranking member Arlen Specter called Walker’s ruling “a major development,” adding that it would be “very unseemly” for Congress to effectively kill the lawsuits by giving the companies retroactive immunity.

Specter said the ruling gives plaintiffs a “path forward” to establish standing before the court.

what is the status of this now?

This was supposed to be voted on yesterday, what's the deal? Is it too late to call in?