FISA: Half-Immunity No Answer

By February 18, 2008Briefly Legal, Communications

Andrew McCarthy demolishes the argument — represented by a Specter-Whitehouse amendment in the Senate — that replacing the telecommunications companies with the federal government as defendants in anti-surveillance lawsuits is a way out of the current FISA dispute.

[Probably] the worst part of any substitution deal would be the effect of Congress putting its muscle behind letting these suits proceed. That would make the suits appear more valid and viable, which would create an incentive for phone companies not to cooperate with the government in the future, regardless of any emergency conditions.

In any event, the aggressiveness with which we should pursue foreign intelligence gathering is a political issue which should be settled between Congress and the president (and, ultimately, the voters). The courtroom, with the ACLU and CAIR in the role of the public and the courts in the role of policy-maker, is not where a democracy settles such political questions.

Read the whole thing.

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