Friday, May 11, 2007

REPS. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA) & JEFF FLAKE (R-AZ) NSA OVERSIGHT AMENDMENT PASSED TODAY: FISA MUST BE OBEYED

“When Congress said the Administration must get court approval for domestic surveillance, we meant it. Today, Congress reaffirmed that basic protection.” --Rep. Adam Schiff, today.

Washington D.C.--Both Reps. Schiff and Flake deserve some thanks from all of us--they've ended the Bush administration's illegal warrantless surveillance programs early this morning. The bill was H.R. 2082, or the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2007, and reaffirms the Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act of 1978. In other words, you have to have authorization from a federal FISA court for a warrant to surveil suspected terrorists, and whatnot. You cannot simply declare some arcane loophole, or create your own signing-statements or creative interpretations--you have to have a warrant from a FISA judge, period.

Schiff also made some comments today that there could very well be a need for another committee to investigate all of the violations of FISA during the Bush administration, much like the Church Committee in mid-1970s. FISA came out of the findings of the Church Committee that more oversight was needed when the Executive branch was authorizing wiretappings in domestic cases. Congress created these laws because of rampant criminality during the Cold War, and particularly within the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover. COINTELPRO needs to be brought-up in the dialog over this, as well as CABLE SPLICER, GARDEN PLOT, and CHAOS. Heady times, eh?