Republican Moderates: Not So Great After All

by on September 26, 2006 · 8 comments

Legislation to whitewash President Bush’s spying programs has moved another step closer to passage, as three of the Republican holdouts accepted a “compromise” that EFF’s Derek Slater says will still undermine civil liberties.

The most objectionable thing about the Specter bill, from my perspective, was the fact that it would have made FISA review optional for spying programs. So even if the Bush administration promises to get a warrant for this program, that still would have set a bad precedent for future administrations, who may opt not to get a warrant with Congress’s imprimatur. The Post article suggests that that language has been strengthened a little bit, but not very much:

According to the lawmakers, a second major change would clarify that a decision by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court upholding the warrantless surveillance program’s legality would not give blanket authorization for the president to pursue wiretaps without court approval.

It’s not clear to me what this means, but it certainly doesn’t sound like what’s needed–a clear statement from Congress that surveillance of Americans without a court order is illegal. And given the sorry track record of recent moderate Republican “compromises” over civil liberties issues, color me skeptical that this one is any better.

  • http://www.codemonkeyramblings.com MikeT

    For a man who claims that Jesus is his favorite philosopher, Bush sure does follow satanist Aleister Crowley’s maxim “and do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” more than any biblical teaching I know of…

  • http://weblog.ipcentral.info/ Noel Le

    Man, MikeT, you sure are on a philosophy rampage. For too long, you’ve denied yourself the pleasures of philosophical inquiry and the liberal arts after a gazillion hours of dry programming:)

  • http://www.codemonkeyramblings.com MikeT

    For a man who claims that Jesus is his favorite philosopher, Bush sure does follow satanist Aleister Crowley’s maxim “and do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” more than any biblical teaching I know of…

  • http://weblog.ipcentral.info/ Noel Le

    Man, MikeT, you sure are on a philosophy rampage. For too long, you’ve denied yourself the pleasures of philosophical inquiry and the liberal arts after a gazillion hours of dry programming:)

  • http://enigmafoundry.wordpress.com/ enigma_foundry

    It is really depressing. The terrorist have won a large victory–they have transformed our society into an incipient police state.

  • http://enigmafoundry.wordpress.com eee_eff

    It is really depressing. The terrorist have won a large victory–they have transformed our society into an incipient police state.

  • dennis parrott

    to enigma_foundry:

    we were well on our way to becoming a police state long before our favorite boogeyman struck on 9/11. bin laden simply accelerates the progress in that direction.

    it is very sad really. we have debased so many of the institutions that educate, protect and preserve our freedoms. people really do not understand the philosophical underpinnings of those freedoms. frankly, i fear that in a few years we may well lose them all in this irrational quest for “security”.

    our quest to “be safe” will result in the destruction of what our Founding Fathers fought so hard give us — freedom.

  • dennis parrott

    to enigma_foundry:

    we were well on our way to becoming a police state long before our favorite boogeyman struck on 9/11. bin laden simply accelerates the progress in that direction.

    it is very sad really. we have debased so many of the institutions that educate, protect and preserve our freedoms. people really do not understand the philosophical underpinnings of those freedoms. frankly, i fear that in a few years we may well lose them all in this irrational quest for “security”.

    our quest to “be safe” will result in the destruction of what our Founding Fathers fought so hard give us — freedom.

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