Washington Post and Specter's FISA Bill

The Washington Post leads the editorial boards of the nation in recognizing that Specter's bill, marketed as a compromise, is nothing of the sort:
Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) has cast his agreement with the White House on legislation concerning the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance as a compromise -- one in which President Bush accepts judicial review of the program. It isn't a compromise, except quite dramatically on the senator's part. Mr. Specter's bill began as a flawed but well-intentioned effort to get the program in front of the courts, but it has been turned into a green light for domestic spying. It must not pass.
Right on, WaPo. How refreshing.

While the bill would achieve a limited judicial review...
But the cost of this judicial review would be ever so high. The bill's most dangerous language would effectively repeal FISA's current requirement that all domestic national security surveillance take place under its terms. The "compromise" bill would add to FISA: "Nothing in this Act shall be construed to limit the constitutional authority of the President to collect intelligence with respect to foreign powers and agents of foreign powers." It would also, in various places, insert Congress's acknowledgment that the president may have inherent constitutional authority to spy on Americans. Any reasonable court looking at this bill would understand it as withdrawing the nearly three-decade-old legal insistence that FISA is the exclusive legitimate means of spying on Americans. It would therefore legitimize whatever it is the NSA is doing -- and a whole lot more.
Effectively, this bill would repeal FISA, a law enacted with 95-1 support in the Senate in response to decades of clandestine spying on the American people. It would repeal FISA because FISA would no longer be the sole remedy for electronic surveillance directed against American citizens on American soil. Instead, FISA would be a law that the President could follow if he was feeling unkingly one day and needed the support of those normally superfluous members of the Judicial Branch. As the WaPo says, it must not pass.

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