Senate caves in to Bush demands

The Senate, in a high-stakes showdown over national security, voted late Friday to temporarily give President Bush expanded authority to eavesdrop on suspected foreign terrorists without court warrants. The House, meanwhile, rejected a Democratic version of the bill.

Democratic leaders there were working on a plan to bring up the Senate-passed measure and vote on it Saturday in response to Bush’s demand that Congress give him expanded powers 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.”

Senate Democrats reluctantly voted for a plan largely crafted by the White House after Bush promised to veto a stricter proposal that would have required a court review to begin within 10 days.

The Senate bill gives Bush the expanded eavesdropping authority for six months. The temporary powers give Congress time to hammer out a more comprehensive plan instead of rushing approval for a permanent bill in the waning hours before lawmakers begin their monthlong break.

The Senate vote was 60-28. Both parties had agreed to require 60 votes for passage.

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 Sen. 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.

“The rule of law is still critical in this country,” Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass., said before the losing the mostly party-line 218-207 vote that fell short of two-thirds majority needed for passage. “It is exactly when the government thinks that it can be the sole, fair arbiter that we most need a judicial system to stand in and strike the balance.”

“We can have security and our civil liberties,” Tierney said.

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 the FISA court to review the eavesdropping process before it begins to make sure that Americans aren’t targeted.

By the final vote, Senate Democrats had whittled down that demand and approved a bill that largely mirrored what the Bush administration wanted. It requires:

_Initial approval by Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. The administration relented to Democrats leery of Gonzales by adding McConnell to the oversight.

_FISA Court review within 120 days. The final Democratic plan had called for court review to begin immediately and conclude within a month of the surveillance starting

_The law to expire in six months to give Congress time to craft a more comprehensive plan. The White House initially wanted the bill to be permanent.

Before the vote, Democrats excoriated the GOP plan, which Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said “provides a weak and practically nonexistent court review.”

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. “We make the policy — not the executive branch.”

Likewise, civil liberties advocates said they were outraged that Democratic-led Senate would side with the White House.

“We’re hugely disappointed with the Democrats,” said Caroline Fredrickson, legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union. “The idea they let themselves be manipulated into accepting the White House proposal, certainly taking a great deal of it, when they’re in control — it’s mind-boggling.”

It was not immediately clear whether House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would endorse the Senate bill after days of rejecting White House offers.

“I hope that there are no attacks before we are able to effectively update this important act,” said Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee.

Bush has said he would reject any bill that his intelligence director deemed unable “to prevent an attack on the country.”

“We’ve worked hard and in good faith with the Democrats to find a solution, but we are not going to put our national security at risk,” Bush said after meeting with counterterror and homeland security officials at FBI headquarters Friday morning. “Time is short.”

Presidents have authority to call Congress back in session from a recess, but the last time it was used was in 1948, by Harry Truman.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, called the administration plan “more likely to protect the American people against terrorist attacks by those who want to do us harm.”

Comments

  1. chimpo-bites

    Only in Bushworld would congress give more power to an Attorney General as incompetent and corrupt as Alberto Gonzales!

    “The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public.
    – Vice President Henry Wallace April 1944-

  2. Carl Nemo

    Thanks justanothercoverup for your excellent post and supplied links. I can assure people that Bushco and their NWO associates have ugly, virulent plans for America. I was aware of Prescott’s involvement in the coup of 1933 which once discovered was shuffled “under the rug” by the powers that be due to the complicity of so many old line blue blood families being involved.

    It was referred to as the Business Coup of 1933. They made the mistake of contacting Smedley Butler a Marine Major General to facilitate the plan by having a contingent of 50,000 Marines march on D.C. in order to seize the reigns of power. Butler listened to their scheme, but thought they were “nuts” . He didn’t reveal his negative sentiments but managed to foil their plot through non-compliance, plus revealing such to the government authorities. Here’s the Wiki link with a short overview of this debacle. Yes ol’ Prescott was involved as he was also involved with Fritz Theissen the German steel magnate’s financing of Adolph Hitler’s rise to power. With Fritz Theissen, Hitler would not have flown after he was released from prison and again magically arose from ashes like the Phoenix. The rest being “ugly” history for sure…!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_Plot

    I personally believe Bushco is up to a similar type of scheme except the difference being this time is that they’ve managed to compromise the presidency of the U.S. starting withe assassination of JFK and from thenst on have been relentlessly troweling in the bricks of their NWO corporatist/fascist AmeriKan state; ie,the North American Union along with a new currency post a market and USD dollar wipeout, all engineered and planned. Great hardship will be synthetically created and they will appear to be our saviors…not!

    Most Americans don’t realize how vulnerable they are when comes to their food, potable water supplies, communications, and access to their money via ATM’s etc.

    Many times when there is an impending disaster supermarket shelves are stripped clean in short order and with no trucks bringing in fresh stock the supply would run out quickly. So one of the most powerful ways to reign in a population by the short hairs is through their stomach. Everyone witnessed the post Katrina debacle; ie, disorganization, looting and general almost seemingly conventient bumbling on the part of the government both state and federal. My point is that a government can have great control over masses that are starving and also a group of people have never known great hardship in their homeland would give up rather easily and obey their NWO controllers for bread, new money, and a line of credit…!

    For those that refuse to play the game or those that have already been targeted to be rounded up they have other plans and I’ll supply a link that lays out just what that might be. The mere fact they won’t reveal their plans even to those that have been traditionally privy to such information says quite a bit. Also Bush’s almost maniacal acquisition of power to surveil and spy on Americans shores up the idea that something is afoot and that he might not be leaving in January 2009. All I can say is get ready down below…! Bushco,their associates and toady sympathizers in the House and Senate cannot be trusted…period!

    http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/03/281821.shtml

    Btw these plans have been in the making for a long time. They’ve exibited great patience in hatching their schemes. H.W. Bush got the boot after a single term, so they realized it was premature to spring their trap. The Clintonistas are part of the cabal and were simply a holding party while they could get their ducks lined up to launch another Bush into the Whitehouse courtesy of the “Diebold Overide” effect. The re-election of 2004 also had questions concerning the Ohio vote count debacle and Kerry/Edwards no different than Gore/Liebermann and failing to demand recounts etc. They are all “republicrats” working hand-in-hand to trowel in the bricks of our NWO corporatists/fascist prison.
    To be forewarned is to be forearmed…! I don’t wear a “foil-hat” either… :))

    Carl Nemo **==

  3. Carl Nemo

    Thanks Wayne Dolik for the vote breakdown concerning “Dem traitors”…! I also like your spot-on analysis concerning these losers.

    It’s stunning that Jim Webb-D Va voted “aye”. So far he’s turning out to be a major disappointment. He also rolled over on the vote to appropriate more dough for Bushco’s war during the last Iraqi appropriations cycle with no mandate for a withdrawal date. The rest of these elected disappointments’ votes weren’t surprising at all.

    The need to be summarily given the boot when they come up for re-election. Webb too, if he keeps performing in such a very “republican” fashion…?!

    What’s interesting is the republicans stand-fast and stick together when it comes to resisting anything the Dems want, but when Bushco wants something, always enough of these Dem sob’s rollover and give in to his demands; ie, a never-ending Kings X when it comes to this engineered war on terror courtesy of the Wolfowitz-Feith-Cheney Rogue intelligence pipeline.

    They’ve gotten maximum mileage out of their engineered 9/11 debacle to nullify the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, habeas corpus, and Posse Commitatus. They’ve all been busy constructing an effective police state paradigm to turn America in to their AmeriKa and “we the people” simply their tax serfs and dutiful shoppers. It seems to be no longer theory but fact…!

    Carl Nemo **==

  4. Wayne K Dolik

    (Some of the dem’s who voted for it, quoted from Daily Kos.)Dianne Feinstein (California);
    AT&T/NSA spying room is located in her state. (right across town from her dig in fact. On top of that she is heavily related to defense industry. I strongly suspect either a) she profits from this of b) Bush has something on her.

    Barbara Mikulski (Maryland);
    NSA headquarter. She is corrupt and incompetent period. (compare her NASA moves)

    Daniel Inouye (Hawai‘i);
    Somebody figures out what’s wrong with this guy? IS he “tube generation” ala steven/Lieberman? Too crusty to not be corrupt?

    Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota);
    Claire McCaskill (Missouri);
    Bob Casey (Pennsylvania);
    What’s wrong with these people? Incompetent? protecting Boeing? (spy sat./launch program) Defense industry. Are they stupid?

    Jim Webb (Virginia).
    Does he knows something that other people don’t? He got republican connection. So he should know all their tricks.

    Evan Bayh (Indiana);
    Tom Carper (Delaware);
    Why? Who are they?

    The usual trash crew: DINO/wingnut lite.
    Blanche Lincoln (Arkansas);
    Mary Landrieu (Louisiana);
    Bill Nelson (Florida);
    Ben Nelson (Nebraska);
    Mark Pryor (Arkansas);
    Ken Salazar (Colorado);
    Kent Conrad (North Dakota);

    Use Tor and PGP on the net. (google

  5. incog99

    I agree. If I see “incumbant” by any name the vote will go the other way. I will even look at third party candidates seriously, especially if they appear to be Patriots.

    Perhaps it is time for a third party. We can leave the loonies on both sides in the Republican and Democratic parties. Normal people can form the Normal party.

    Here, here!

  6. gene

    Might I suggest that individuals (in the know) acquire some form of protection other than words and be prepared to use (that protection) when the real shit hits the real fan. I served this county for many years as an active duty soldier now retired but that which I served has become my enemy. I just hope their are more who will fight when with honor and truth when the time comes. It (the time) approaches upon our reality.

    The choices we make determine who we really are.

  7. gene

    Thank God someone who knows. David is absolutely right,I have my 9mm always ready and I WILL use it against this evil, even until death which I glady await.

  8. JudyB

    You can quit subscribing to all publications but the ONLY thing that will really matter is your vote next Nov…and once that election is over you will have nothing to say about anything that eminates from D.C. until the next federal election. We must pay the expenses (via our taxes)but thats the only in-put we have. Right now, the Democrats just don’t have enough votes to get their mission accomplished. I am so fed up with this dictator and the Republicans in congress, that I will not vote for one of them under ANY circumstance.

  9. justanothercoverup

    David, I couldn’t agree more with your post – especially with this tidbit I just found on Bush’s secrecy in regard his “disaster plan”.

    White House again denies DeFazio’s information request

    Posted by The Oregonian August 02, 2007 17:00PM

    WASHINGTON — The White House formally declined Rep. Peter DeFazio’s request to view the classified portion of a plan to operate the government after a catastrophe.

    Last month the White House had said it would not provide the information to DeFazio, a senior member of the House Homeland Security Committee. So DeFazio and two committee leaders wrote a letter to White House homeland security adviser Frances Townsend formally requesting he be provided access to the documents.

    In a response dated Wednesday, Townsend wrote that the White House is “unable to share them with the membership and staff of the Committee.”

    Townsend’s written response confirmed discussions that Homeland Security Committee staff had with White House staffers last month. The White House had initially said DeFazio could view the documents but later told committee staff that he would not be able to access them.

    “I’m disturbed,” DeFazio said in an interview this evening. “I thought that perhaps some knee-jerk lower-level functionary responding to their usual obsession with secrecy and exclusion had sent the verbal denial.”

    Members of the Homeland Security Committee sign an oath not to disclose classified information that they view as part of their committee work. They view documents in a secure room in the Capitol.

    MORE

    Based on all of the Executive orders, and the subsequent secrecy thereof as it concerns our own Congress – it’s obvious that Bush is hurriedly attempting to follow in his Grandfather’s footsteps as a traitor and again, the Bush Crime Family is attempting to turn America into a dictatorship. Jeez, what a family legacy… LINK

    There’s not much question that “Bush” is a four-letter word when it comes to belief in Democracy and the American way – and I only hope that something will happen to pull the rug out from under the feet of this den of vipers.

    William Cormier

  10. justanothercoverup

    The following article was written by David Francis, an author/writer on Justanothercoverup – and addresses this issue:

    Why the rush?

    Today was the day that George Bush truly went from president to dictator, a position he’s coveted for a long time. He delivered a speech today, in which he announced his order that congress stay in session through August recess – until he gets a bill that authorizes his domestic spying program. He threatened to veto any bill that he believes is insufficient “to prevent an attack on the country.” Bush is holding the congress hostage until he gets what he wants. I’ve got no faith in the congress standing up to him. Within the next few days, congress will pass the bill that the president wants, and then adjourn for the rest of the month.

    Bush said in his speech, “We’ve worked hard and in good faith with the Democrats to find a solution, but we are not going to put our national security at risk, time is short.” I wonder what the rush is… Why is time so short? Something is going to happen during the recess, and Bush absolutely knows about it. Bush needs this now because he knows that a month from now will be too late. He needs to be able to spy on Americans because he knows the “Reichstag fire” type event will be happening soon. His power grab will happen while Congress is on vacation. Without these unconstitutional dictatorial powers, he will have a much harder time in squashing the rebellion. He needs the data to be able to round up his political enemies and intern them in the camps he’s already built. I would bet even money with anyone that a major disaster happens this next month. It will be used to justify the imposition of martial law, and suspension of the Constitution, the very document Bush swore to uphold and defend. I don’t know what it will be, but I know THEY do. Live life to the fullest, because every day might be your last. We’ve got maybe a month left living the good life. Use it wisely.

    David Francis