Most agree that this law needs to be modernized, as it has been many times over the years. But this time, the president is asking Congress to do something much more: to shield the telecoms from any judicial review of their actions. He wants Congress to declare spying without a warrant both constitutional and necessary to defend this country.
It is neither.
That is why I have done everything I can to stop retroactive immunity from being included in the FISA bill. As written, this bill does not say, “Trust the American people.” It does not say, “Trust the courts and judges and juries to come to just decisions” about what happened at the telecoms. Rather, retroactive immunity sends this message:
“Trust me” — a message that comes straight from the mouth of President Bush. I would never take “trust me” for an answer, not even in the best of times. Not even from a president on Mount Rushmore.