FISA: Latest ‘Compromise’ is No Compromise

By March 11, 2008Briefly Legal, Communications

The Washington Post summarizes the latest maneuvering by House leadership to keep litigation alive against telecom companies that agreed with Administration’s request to assist in foreign surveillance of terrorist suspects. They propose allowing secret civil trials, obstensibly to protect national secrets, but really just as a means to keep the litigatory pursuit of the telecom companies alive.

White House spokesman Dana Perino issued a statement, including this withering observation:

As the bipartisan Senate Select Committee on Intelligence concluded, the failure to extend liability protection will undermine the private sector’s willingness to help the Intelligence Community do its job. Without the assistance of the private sector, our intelligence agencies will be hobbled in their efforts to protect the country from attack.

It is clear that House Democratic leaders have once again bowed to the demands of class-action trial lawyers,, and Code Pink and put their ideological interests ahead of the national interest. The priorities of House leaders are dangerously misplaced. Instead of providing liability protection to companies that did their patriotic duty, House leaders would establish a commission to examine intelligence activities in the past that helped protect the country from further attacks after 9/11.

The Senate, which passed a reasonable surveillance bill on a bipartisan basis, will not go along. Shocking that the House would extend its failure to act through the next, two-week vacation starting Friday.


  • The ACLU is pleased, mostly, with the House bill, describing it as a compromise. What? A compromise among like-minded is hardly a compromise.
  • Sen. Pat Leady (D-VT) endorses the new House plan.
  • CNN story quotes House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer as saying the House vote will be Thursday.
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