Thursday, June 26, 2008
The U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly to advance a legislative compromise on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, marking the beginning of the end of a fierce battle over civil liberties and national security that has been waged in the halls of Congress for more than three years.
And yet, for all of the political passions the issue engendered, the fight over FISA ended with something of a whimper. The final product -- much to the consternation of the progressive community -- gave the president wide authority to monitor terrorist suspects and collect communications from U.S. citizens without review. It also offered telecommunications companies that helped with the previously illegal program immunity from lawsuits, a hard provision to swallow for the program's opponents.
In the end, only 15 U.S. Senators were willing to resort to procedural tactics as a last-ditch effort to hold up the legislation.
Five Myths About the New Wiretapping Law
(why it's a lot worse than you think)
Entire FISA Bill
FAQ on legality of wiretape program