FISA Meets the Media Shield

This is disconcerting, the prospect of adding even more political gamesplaying with consideration of FISA legislation, the bill to provide the Administration effective authority to monitor foreign communications by our enemies. The Senate handily passed S. 2248, including the necessary retroactive immunity for telecom companies, but House action was blocked by obeisance to the powerful “netroots,” civil-liberty absolutist and trial lawyer constituencies.

Now Jed Babbin, editor of Human Events, writes about a scenario to put more pressure on House Speaker Pelosi by combining a federal media shield bill with the Senate FISA bill. The stakes for national security are high, because some existing surveillance authorities expire in August. From “New FISA Strategy May Pry Bill from Speaker’s Grasp“:

[There] are two ways for the House to pass the essential FISA legislation before the August expiration of existing FISA court orders blinds our signals intelligence gatherers altogether. First — and best — is for the discharge petition to obtain the needed 218 signatures to force the bill to a vote. Second — and perhaps more likely — is for House Republicans to combine the Senate FISA bill with an improved version of the Pence-Boucher bill and obtain Pelosi’s agreement to take the bill to the floor.

These are dangerous waters. Enactment of the Senate FISA legislation is an immediate national security need. A media shield –though a properly-crafted one would help insure freedom of the press — is not. To compromise one for the sake of the other could imperil both.

Agreed. And for a good view of how these “netroots” — angry, leftie activists — see the issues of national security, take a look at this post by mcjoan at DailyKos. Signing a discharge petition is “traitorous,” and some of the “Blue Dog” Democrats have tried to “sell us out.” How dare they even consider protecting Americans from being blown up by terrorists.

For previous posts on the FISA legislation, click here.

Leave a Reply