Tuesday, July 18, 2006

When is a restriction actually an expansion?

When your friends are cutting the deals...

The Washington Post story on the deal negotiated by Specter points out that the bill gives the President the option of submitting his programs to the court, it does not require it.

It also notes that Specter agreed to remove a portion of the FISA law that states it has exclusive jurisdiction in the area of surveillance. Opponents of the President's NSA surveillance have argued that the administration is wrong to assert the President has the inherent constitutional authority, neither are the programs authorized by the "Use of Force" resolution passed in the days after September 11th. If the agreement is approved, it would appear to undercut the original intent of the FISA law.

The agreement has been reported as a concession on Bush's part, yet by restricting FISA jurisdiction and making approval by FISA an optional step, it would seem to actually expand the President's ability to conduct surveillance.

- Murphy

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