FISA Update

by: Matt Stoller

Wed Dec 12, 2007 at 12:40

I'm getting lots of questions about FISA and retroactive immunity.  Honestly I have no idea what's going on, and I stopped following Senate procedure a few weeks ago.

It seems like the best bet is to force something to Bush he doesn't want and have him veto the bill.  Eventually, we're going to get to a February 1 deadline, and Bush will simply put a bill on the table with everything he wants.  House and Senate Democrats will then have to decide if they will give him what he wants, or if they will let FISA expire. 

It's likely Bush's bill will pass, as it did in August, but that moment will be a great opportunity to put as many Democrats on the record as possible and get a public mandate to fix this in 2009.  It would be nice if there were a two year sunset put into the final bill.

Matt Stoller :: FISA Update

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FISA Update | 6 comments
In California, we are pressuring Feinstein hard (0.00 / 0)
My phone gave me a text message from Credo (Working Assets) telling me to call Senator Feinstein (who is probably the linch-pin for caving).

202-224-3841 (Washington, DC)
310-914-7300 (Los Angeles)
415-393-0707 (San Francisco)
619-231-9712 (San Diego)
559-485-7430 (Fresno)

Bradley Whitford is throwing down for a filibuster:

(I do some advising for Courage)

On twitter: @BobBrigham

sjc tomorrow (4.00 / 1)
the senate judiciary committee is scheduled to consider specter's bill tomorrow at their 10 am business meeting. if it gets out of committee, there will be three bills available to the full senate.

please don't stop following this... a lot of us have been calling our senators and asking them to support dodd's threatened fillibuster. if we don't support dodd on fisa, we have no right to ever ask any senator to take a difficult stand again.

something else... (0.00 / 0)
It's likely Bush's bill will pass

imo, we should be pressuring the house and senate leadership about who gets put on the conference committee - holt and feingold must not be excluded.

why matt? (0.00 / 0)
ok, thinking more about this... i don't get it - why did you stop following the fisa issue? i thought you were deeply involved in the "no retroactive immunity campaign"

After a call by bloggers to Chris Dodd to place a hold on any bill that would grant retroactive immunity, Dodd promised to do so.  By leading boldly on an issue, he received over $150k in small dollar donations within 24 hours and jumped dramatically in online support.  Joe Biden followed Dodd with a promise to filibuster this bill, and after pressure from Moveon and bloggers, both Clinton and Obama came out with statements.  Obama offered a rousing pledge to filibuster any bill with retroactive immunity, while Clinton put out standard mush.

Today, bloggers, civil liberties groups, and online activist groups put out a letter to Senator Reid asking him to respect Dodd's hold and work against the bill, which he has not yet pledged to do.  The site is at http://www.noretroac... and the letter is addressed to Reid and the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The organizational co-signers are the ACLU, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Working Assets Wireless,, and Political Action.

i count almost 40 posts by you (sorry i don't have an exact #, i lost count - but it's a big number)on fisa since you wrote this in early august after passage of the paa:

We saw that their narrow legalistic strategy failed here (as it often does).  The ACLU should have been coordinating with the liberal House leadership on bills like this, giving outsiders weeks of notice so organizing can actually happen.  We may not have been able to stop the bill, but at least we as a movement could have fought the fight.  That this did not happen suggests an immense and unforgivable incompetence at the ACLU.

We have to get our house in order if we are to restore civil liberties.  That means telling the truth about our liberal groups and their complicity in massive strategic and moral errors like this.  Anthony Romero has a lot to answer for.  In six months, when this bill comes up again, the ACLU has another shot.  Let's hope Romero acknowledges error and works to take corrective action.

my bold.

i want to remind everyone that you walked back on putting the blame on the aclu - but the doesn't the rest still apply? isn't this still a fight worth having? are we going to be the ones who drop the ball this time?

support Dodd (0.00 / 0)
selise is right, we have to support those willing to take a stand or we all fall over. 

"isn't this still a fight worth having? are we going to be the ones who drop the ball this time?" --selise

Yes, it is a fight worth having!

Home Stretch (0.00 / 0)

  This is an incredibly important issue and we are now in the final stages of its resolution.  The Senate soon will be debating on a final bill and it is vital that we support Senator Dodd's efforts to prevent retroactive immunity to the telecoms.  I urge you to get back into this fight and help us prevent the removal of what could be our only route to documenting the extent and ultimate uses of illegal surveillance by the Bush Administration.

FISA Update | 6 comments

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