FISA: We Are Less Safe

By February 26, 2008Briefly Legal, Communications

An op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal by Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO), Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) on the need for enactment of the Senate-passed legislation to clearly authorize monitor of foreign intelligence. “Hard of Hearing” takes the House Democratic leadership to task for delaying action on the legislation, and stresses the need for retroactive immunity for the telecommunications companies that assist in surveillance.

Telecommunications companies are for now, after intense negotiations, cooperating with the government under the assumption that protections granted to them under the Protect America Act will be upheld in court, even though the law is now defunct. But there is no guarantee that the courts will do any such thing. There is also no guarantee that corporate executives, under pressure from their legal counsels and shareholders to limit liabilities, will continue to cooperate.

– The cooperation of the telecommunications companies is limited to intercepting communications of terrorists identified before the Protect America Act lapsed. Until intelligence agencies can chase leads involving foreign communications, the U.S. will not be as safe as it was just a few weeks ago.

The authors reject the idea of a “compromise” on telecom immunity being discussed by Speaker Pelosi as gutting the bill.

Hoekstra speaks at the Heritage Foundation today at 10 a.m., a talk entitled, “See No Danger? Hear No Danger? Congress Missing in Action!” Heritage will broadcast the speech on the Internet, here.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Paul Dirks says:

    I’m sure someone will coreect me if I’m wrong, but the PAA passed in August did not include retroactive immunity for the telcos.

    So what protections are being referred to?

    or is someone being dishonest…..?

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