Friday, March 17, 2006

Legalize it?

While we're all preoccupied with Russ Feingold's censure resolution, the Republicans are getting ready to render (no pun intended) the whole matter academic by legalising W.'s domestic spying program. The WaPo reports that:

"The bill would allow the NSA to eavesdrop, without a warrant, for up to 45 days per case, at which point the Justice Department would have three options. It could drop the surveillance, seek a warrant from FISA's court, or convince a handful of House and Senate members that although there is insufficient evidence for a warrant, continued surveillance "is necessary to protect the United States."

The "oversight committee" would comprise seven members, four Republicans and three Democrats, so you can be sure that no matter how rediculious the reason for continuing to spy would be, the Dems would be out-voted. Keep in mind, the "pre-9/11" FISA law said the DOJ had 72 hours to get a warrent in the case of an extreme national security crisis, now they've got 45 days! But, there's hope yet, some Republicans are skeptical about the idea of just signing off on this blank check.

"Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.)-- whose panel plays a major role in the surveillance matter -- pointed his thumb down yesterday when asked about the measure. He said he particularly objects to letting the government "do whatever the hell it wants" for 45 days without seeking judicial or congressional approval."

Good for him! He might as well be a Democrat at this point.


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