Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) predicted Tuesday that there is enough support within the Democratic Conference to approve a contentious overhaul of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
“If the bill comes out as I think it will, it will pass,” Rockefeller said
before heading to a conference lunch.
The development comes after Rockefeller, Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.), House Minority
Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and the Bush
administration reached an accord late last week to break a weeks-long stalemate
over balancing electronic surveillance with the right to privacy for American
citizens, according to several people familiar with the talks.
It is now definitively clear that House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is the driving force behind a bill -- written by GOP Sen. Kit Bond -- to vest the President with vast new warrantless eavesdropping powers and to vest lawbreaking telecoms with amnesty. Even as his office dishonestly denies that he is doing so, still more reports yesterday -- this one from the NYT and this one from Roll Call (sub req'd) -- confirm that a so-called "compromise" is being spearheaded by Hoyer and the House Democratic leadership. The ACLU and EFF are holding a joint call tomorrow to denounce Hoyer's "compromise" as nothing more than disguised guaranteed immunity for telecoms and, further, because "the proposed deal could be used to authorize dragnet surveillance of Americans' communications in violation of the Fourth Amendment."
As a result, there is a major new campaign beginning today aimed at Hoyer and a handful of other key members of Congress who enable telecom immunity and warrantless eavesdropping. In order to raise as much money as possible for this campaign -- far more than the $85,000 raised (and still being spent) in Chris Carney's district as a result of his support for warrantless eavesdropping and telecom amnesty -- we are working to create an alliance with numerous organizations and factions across the ideological spectrum which oppose civil liberties erosions, as well as with as many blogs as possible (modeled vaguely after the ideologically diverse alliance that has arisen in Britain in opposition to the sprawling and lawless surveillance state there).
We hope to announce details about the participating individuals and groups very shortly, as well as the exact details of what we're doing. But given the time pressures, it's vital to be able to have as many resources as possible, as quickly as possible, for this campaign. The more money raised, the greater the disruptive impact will be.
For the moment, contributions can be made here. All the money raised will be spent exclusively on ad campaigns aimed at the short-term vulnerabilities of those in Congress responsible for delivering this indescribably tyrannical package of surveillance powers to the President and the accompanying corrupt gift to lawbreaking telecoms. read on...