Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Ranking Member Kit Bond (R-MO), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), and Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) have released a joint statement on legislation to reauthorize effective electronic intelligence, “Bipartisan FISA Compromise Reached.”
They joined together in this: “The FISA Amendments Act, H.R. 6304, will increase the nation’s security by strengthening the ability of the intelligence community to conduct lawful surveillance of terrorists, as well as protect constitutional rights by requiring warrants before the government can surveil any American.”
The text of the FISA Amendments Act, is here.
We’ve read Section 201 detailing the legal protections for telecommunications companies that complied with government requests to assist in electronic surveillance of foreign communications after the attacks of September 11, 2001. The judicial oversight will serve to confirm that the telecoms operated in good faith, responsibly and in compliance with lawful orders.
Majority Leader Hoyer is taking heated, at times rabid criticism from the angry left for his decision to work toward a compromise, so his leadership in this issue came despite considerable political risk. Which is leadership.
UPDATE (2:35 p.m.): For a wrap-up, see this post at Point of Law.
UPDATE (4:45 p.m.): House Blue Dogs endorse compromise. News release.
UPDATE (5:17 p.m.): The Plank, The New Republic’s blog, has the intellectual honesty to acknowledge that, yes, the Majority Leader and other Democrats did win concessions through their talks, making this in fact a “compromise.” Not one TNR likes, but not completely one-sided, either.
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