Monday, February 18, 2008

Save us from the paperwork.... I mean terrorists

I would like to take a moment to congratulate Speaker Pelosi. The House of Representatives did not fold under the pressure of the fear mongering Republicans and pass the Protect America Act. This act that expired Saturday night was misnamed. It should have been named the Protect the Telecommunications Industry Act {P.T.A.). No, wait that one is taken or possibly the Erode the (bill of) Rights Act {ERA}. Well since both of these acronyms are taken, it's a good thing that this new version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) has lapsed. What does this actually mean for you and me?

Does it mean that there is no longer any protection against terrorists? That would certainly be detrimental to our national security. Does this mean that we can not get warrants to monitor persons of interest? Both of these possibilities are down right scary. Thankfully, neither is the case. According to members of George Bush's administration, this means only two things.

First it would mean protection for Telecommunications companies from lawsuits:

Here is a quote from Mike McConnell, the drector of national Intelligence:

"It's true that some of the authorities would carry over to the period they were established for one year. That would put us into the August, September time frame. However, that's not the real issue. The issue is liability protection for the private sector. We can't do this mission without their help."

If you would like to read the whole interview click here.

Now what is the other problem? Well, the old FISA will take the place of the Protect America Act. Kenneth Wainstein, head of the Justice Department's national security division, said this change would cause their to be more......paperwork.


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