The House today passed a FISA bill with some bad aspects, but without the immunity clause. See the EFF press release.
While there's stuff not to like in this bill, all of it can be repealed at some later date — except the immunity, which would not be subject to repeal.
Florida's Senator Nelson voted wrong last time this came up before the Senate. Any chance he'll do better this time?
There is quite a good chance of a different outcome next time round. It is now clear that Bush’s position is a busted flush. He has no real leverage. The Republicans have far more to lose than the Democrats from having Bush appear on the TV news every day demanding that the Democrats stop blocking immunity for his cronies.
The Democrats should start controlling the language here. Its not immunity, its a pardon Bush is demanding. Well we don’t give pardons to protect people in the executive.
Bush is undoubtedly planning to use the pardon power to cover up the criminality of his administration. Now is the time to start raising the issue.
Once immunity is rejected, and as the lawsuits progress, the telecos will be forced to turn on the administration and lay blame for any wrongdoing at their doorstep. The bill seeks to facilitate that by allowing telecos to submit evidence of the (probably intense) pressure put on them by the government. The telecos will not be happy if it gets that far, as they will be in an awful position, and that will probably be reflected in campaign contributions going forward. The telecos will not be happy with the Dems either, but they will have little choice in the matter.
I found an interesting quote from Boswell of Iowa in Greenwald’s most recent piece:
“This [bill] means to me that the Constitution and civil rights are protected and telecoms who are asked under pressure to assist in an emergency can know that classified evidence will be seen by a judge . . . . The bill provides telecom companies a way to present their defense in secure proceedings in a district court without the administration using state secrets to block the defense.”
Wow, you mean there will not be a ‘get out of legal proceedings free’ card for the administration anymore? What a novel concept!