Court Of Impeachment And War Crimes: Impeach Bush and Cheney, There Was The Yellow Rose Of Texas Peace Bus, Now The ITMFA Truck, Thank You Vox

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An interview with Naomi Wolf about the 10 steps from democracy to dictatorship!

Stop The Spying Now

Stop the Spying!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Impeach Bush and Cheney, There Was The Yellow Rose Of Texas Peace Bus, Now The ITMFA Truck, Thank You Vox

By LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 4 minutes ago

The White House was halfway to its goal of winning expanded powers to eavesdrop on suspected foreign terrorists. Senate Democrats reluctantly agreed to passing a bill Friday night to update the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
The House was expected to consider it Saturday after rejecting a Democratic alternative the night

The high-stakes showdown over national security hinged largely on how early a special court will review the government's surveillance of foreigners' overseas phone calls and Internet messages without warrants.

President Bush has demanded that Congress give him the expanded authority before leaving for vacation this weekend.

The White House applauded the Senate vote and urged the House to quickly follow suit.

The bill "will give our intelligence professionals the essential tools they need to protect our nation," said White House spokesman Tony Fratto. "It is urgent that this legislation become law as quickly as possible."

The Senate-approved plan, largely crafted by the White House, was barely pushed through after Bush promised to veto a stricter proposal that would have required a court review to begin within 10 days.
It gives Bush the expanded eavesdropping authority for six months.

Senate Republicans, aided by Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, said the update to the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, would at least temporarily close gaps in the nation's security system.

"Al-Qaida is not going on vacation this month," said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. "And we can't either until we know we've done our duty to the American people."

In the House, Democrats lost an effort to push a proposal that called for stricter court oversight of the way the government would ensure its spying would not target Americans.

"We can have security and our civil liberties," said Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass.

Current law requires court review of government surveillance of suspected terrorists in the United States. It does not specifically address the government's ability to intercept messages believed to come from foreigners overseas.

The Bush administration began pressing for changes to the law after a recent ruling by the special FISA court that barred the government from eavesdropping on foreign suspects whose messages were being routed through U.S. communications carriers, including Internet sites.

Democrats agreed the law should not restrict U.S. spies from tapping in on foreign suspects. However, they initially demanded that the FISA court review the eavesdropping process before it begins to make sure that Americans aren't targeted.

Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., angrily chastised his colleagues for bending to the administration's will.

"The day we start deferring to someone who's not a member of this body ... is a sad day for the U.S. Senate," Feingold said.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -
The Democratic-led U.S. Senate, amid warnings of further attacks on the United States, approved a bill on Friday that would allow President George W. Bush to maintain his controversial domestic spying program.

On a vote of 60-28, the Senate sent the measure to the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives for consideration as early as Saturday as lawmakers push to begin a month-long recess.

Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell said earlier he needed the legislation "in order to protect the nation from attacks that are being planned today to inflict mass casualties on the United States."

The Senate bill was needed, congressional aides said, because of restrictions recently imposed by a secret court on the ability of U.S. spy agencies to intercept telephone calls and e-mails of suspected terrorists overseas.

Offered by Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, no relation to the national intelligence director, the bill would allow theadministration to continue the warrantless surveillance but require it to describe to a secret federal court the procedures it uses in targeting foreign suspects.

The Senate defeated, on a 45-43 vote, a Democratic alternative, which would have placed tighter controls on the spying and provided for independent assessments of the attorney general's implementation of the measure.

The Senate votes came shortly after Republicans in the House rejected as inadequate a competing Democratic measure.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid criticized the Senate-passed bill, saying it "authorizes warrantless searches and surveillance of American phone calls, e-mails, homes, offices and personal records for however long (it takes for) an appeal to a court of review."

If signed into law, the Senate bill would expire in six months. During that period, Congress would seek to write permanent legislation.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, passed in 1978, requires the government to obtain orders from the secret FISA court to conduct surveillance of suspected terrorists in the United States.

After the September 11 attacks, Bush authorized the interception without warrants of communications between people in the United States and others overseas if one had suspected ties to terrorists. Critics charge that program violated the FISA law, but Bush argued he had wartime powers to do so.

In January, Bush put the program under the supervision of the FISA court. Terms of the oversight have not been made public.

House Democrats argued their bill gave the national intelligence director what he wanted and that he demanded more after conversations with the White House.

The House bill would have required the attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, to submit procedures for international surveillance to the secret FISA court for approval and require periodic audits by the Justice Department's inspector general.

Gonzales had proven to be a problem in reaching an agreement since mostly Democratic lawmakers have accused him of misleading Congress on the spying program.

US Senate passes bill to expand Bush's spying programme

By IANS Saturday August 4, 10:41 AM

Washington, Aug 4 (Xinhua)
The US Senate has approved a bill to temporarily expand President George W. Bush's programme to spy on foreign terrorism suspects without court warrants.

The measure, passed by the Senate Friday on a 60-28 vote, updates the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and acts as a compromise between Senate Democrats and the Bush administration.

Current FISA requires a court review of Bush's spying programme targeting foreign terrorism suspects before it could proceed.

After Bush promised to veto a Democratic alternative that would have required a court review for the spying programme, Senate Democrats backed off their initial demand and agreed to allow it to proceed without court warrants.

However, the bill limits that authority to only six months, so that the Congress can have enough time to work out a more comprehensive plan.

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