Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Real Reason FISA Supposedly Needs Updates...

In the history of the Terrorist Surveillance Program, which really isn't designed to track terrorists, the FISA Courts took an active role in determining whether cause existed to issue orders to permit American intelligence agencies to tap wire communications. Then, for reasons we can only presume to be based on what the law actually says, the FISA Courts rejected a significant number of wire tap requests from the various intelligence agencies. As a result, the President authorized the warrantless wiretaps program, later to become known as the Terrorist Surveillance Program, or TSP. Recently, I have covered the development of proposed changes to FISA that would expand the President's power to watch anyone he wants, including American citizens, without having to muck about in the legal process put in place to protect us from abusive intelligence practices. What is more shocking is the reason for the change.

This story does a good job of explaining the current situation. Like in 2001, a FISA Judge has determined that the TSP violates the law, and did what it was supposed to by issuing a stop order to the intelligence agencies involved in the practice. The effect of this ruling included the President asking Congress to change the law. Regardless of the situation, the President can't avoid his oath to enforce the Constitution, which includes the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement for spying on Americans. This policy to violate the Constitution notwithstanding his oath of office should be sufficient grounds for Congress to institute impeachment proceedings. Now I have only one question...

Why is Congress letting this happen?

For the branch of government with the most power and oversight ability, this spineless caving to the President's malice towards the American people and the Constitution demonstrates a weakness that runs contrary to the interests of the American electorate. If constituents really knew what was going on, there would likely be an entire turn over in Congressional representatives. Maybe new representation is what we really need, lest Congress continue to vitiate court orders aimed at restricting the President's abuses of power not rightfully his under the Constitution.

1 comment:

GreyTheory said...

At least they sunset the change in six months.

Unfortunately, few people know that they can wiretap and then go get a warrant.

As far as I'm concerned, the feds can all the library and web viewing info they want, as long as there's judicial oversight.