Wednesday, July 09, 2008

FISA Reform Legislation Passes

Today the Senate voted to pass FISA reform legislation, as the House of Representatives did last month. The effort was bi-partisan and the final vote today was 69-28. Those voting in favor of lining the pockets of trial lawyers, the 28 voting no, included Hillary Clinton. Those voting no argued the lawsuits pending against telecommunications companies, working at the request of the administration on electronic surveillance of telephone calls between this country and overseas involving suspected terrorists, should not be dismissed without investigations and hearings on Capitol Hill. They didn't think retroactive immunity was prudent.

They chose allegiance to trial lawyers and petty politics over national security. It's an election year. They are politicians.

Senator John Cornyn has long been a strong advocate for FISA modernization legislation. Only 4 of the Texas congressional delegation, 32 in total, voted against the legislation. A member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Cornyn referenced a tragic incident last year in Iraq. Three soldiers were kidnapped and a search and rescue mission began. U.S. law was put into motion. Rescue efforts were delayed, however, for at least 10 hours due to the government lawyers jumping through hoops to cite "probable cause" for electronic surveillance. All three were executed. One body was found in the Euphrates River a few weeks later. The Islamic State of Iraq terrorist group claimed credit. The other two soldiers were executed and buried.

Senator Cornyn's challenger this election year, Rick Noriega, seems to think FISA reform is a joking matter. Noriega, who opposed the legislation in speeches on the campaign trail, said recently,"When we got on the computers to wake up our families on that Christmas Day, I suspect that the government probably listened in on my and Melissa's conversation because it wa communication between two countries." Noriega was deployed to Afghanistan and his wife Melissa, now a Houston City Council member, took over his spot in the Texas legislature. She rode that into her current position. Now, he wants to be a Senator in D.C., though he continues to say these sort of irresponsible statements on the trail. There is no record of any other serviceman complaining that the government must have been listening in on personal conversations due to FISA law.

Noriega makes strange comments to gin up publicity. He put it into a video. Then, when confronted about his irresponsible comments, he promptly took a cue from John Kerry and claimed it was all a joke.



Nikki said...

Its funny, the headliner for this story on yahoo was "senate bows to Bush surveillance bill" the term bows is so "king"ish. Nice slant. :)N

Z said...

Nikki..that's typical of Yahoo. Pay attention to all their headlines, the bias is INcredible and SO subtle but effective.

Karen, I didn't know about the retroactive part of this vote for the telecoms...i was so excited by the vote. Darn, this isn't good.......but thanks for updating my optimism with my normal dose of daily pessimism I'm feeling from our media, right!? Better to know the TRUTH. (i think?!)

heidianne jackson said...

it's almost predictable, isn't it. good post, karen. thanks for boiling it down to the truth so effectively.