Columnwhoring: FISA Edition

Otherwise known as GO DODD GO:

It’s almost beside the point to say Republican dishonesty on this issue has reached critical mass; over and over in the past weeks of Senate debate, the GOP offered arguments that it would place an undue burden on telecommunications companies to make them explain themselves as they are required to do under the rule of law. To do so would allow the terrorists to win. No, really, it’s about that coherent:

“Some in Congress apparently think these companies should have second-guessed the legal representations made by the president and the general tone in the days and weeks and months following the 9-11 attacks,” Republican Sen. John Cornyn, of Texas, said. “These companies, like every good citizen who cooperates with their government to try to keep America secured, in good faith, deserves the protection we’re being asked to give them in this legislation. These costly lawsuits have not only put in jeopardy the future cooperation of these firms but also leave critical national security concerns potentially exposed to the discovery process and civil litigation.”

To which Dodd repeatedly responded: False. False. False.

“The president has said that this bill is essential to ‘protecting the American people from enemies who attacked our country,’ ” Dodd said. “So why is he trying to stop it? Why did he promise to veto it? Why would he throw it all away to protect a few corporations from lawsuits?”


3 thoughts on “Columnwhoring: FISA Edition

  1. Cornyn seems to have forgotten one of the essential parts of FISA: the administration gets a WARRANT, and presents it to the telecommunications companies and then they HAVE TO comply.
    We were never in a position where the telecoms had the option to say “No, we’re not going to do it” to a legally issued warrant, any more than anyone else has the right to say “no, we’re not going to comply” in response to a court order. Nor has he, or anyone else, provided a single example of anyone, corporation or individual, who has ever refused to comply with a FISA court warrant.
    Perhaps the Republicans don’t believe that anyone has to obey court orders anymore. Certainly no one in the Bush Administration takes subpoenas seriously, and none of them has been penalized for it. But it is a mistake to extrapolate from that to the companies who provided our supposedly protected, supposedly private data to the Administration without even ASKING for a warrant.
    Go, Dodd, indeed.

  2. ‘Cuz when the full truth comes out, we’ll see more than a passing resemblance between the Chimpster and Benito. As in…hanging by his heels.

  3. I think it would also be interesting to HEAR or READ what the Telco lobbyists have been telling the senators. I want to know the EXACT lines they are using. How much money are the offering and what kind of threats are they throwing out to scare the senators? Is it something like, “We have 30,000 employees that are in your state Senator. Are you sure you want us to move to…”
    One approach I was going with was to find out about the money. I wrote to some financial analysts and asked: “How much money are we talking?” AND to get them thinking about this in market-moving money terms so that it just isn’t a “gimme” for the telcos that they can sweep under the rug of “government relations” or the new think tank they created. I also think I need to find out about the other Executives. Exactly WHO might have to spend time worrying that the Bushies can’t protect them?
    I might be able to find out what the lobbyists are saying by talking to the Democratic staffers. But for the story to be real I’ll need people who SHOULDN’T be spied upon who CARE about being spied upon FEEL the spying. Then I’ll need THOSE people to complain. You know who would be good to get records of being spied upon? Celebrities we all love. Like George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, Oprah Winfrey, Dalai Lama. Chuck Norris. AND Republican Senators. or Republican Senator staffers who are talking about stuff that they really don’t want people to know about.
    Or people that we don’t like who can complain nationally: Right wing media: Maybe Matt Drudge. Rush Limbaugh.Sean Hannity.
    But especially some admired and Beloved people like Doctors. Or Beloved local Firefighters, burn unit and preemie nurses, grade school teachers, local clergy, athletes. People who should NEVER have to be spied upon. List a few names and some captured conversations from them that were swept up by the government with out a warrant.
    To fight the telcos and the republican’s we need to make this personal. We also need to show that it’s not just about breaking the law, it’s about money. And we need to show just how cyncial this is at the telco level.

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