A sensational title? Sure, but it is also the truth when it comes to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Democrats letting expire the parts of the Protect America Act that deal with internet and cell communications. This is the same bill that the Senate passed in a bi-partisan vote of 68-29. The consequence? For a little more than three weeks now (Feb 16, 2008) the government has to operate by the 1978 standards of the FISA act. This means, they can not listen in on communications from terrorists in Pakistan to terrorists in Afghanistan. It is taking a tool out of the toolbox in fighting the war on terror. The House democrats seem more concerned with librarians than the terrorists that want us dead.
The Protect America Act amended the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that was passed in 1978 to protect people inside the United States from being monitored by U.S. intelligence without a warrant proving they were agents of a foreign government.
This point is crucial: FISA was never meant to apply to foreigners outside the United States communicating with other foreigners outside the United States.
To be fair to Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats, they may only appear to be aligned with terrorists in an ‘unintended consequences’ kind of way. To believe Nancy Pelosi does not know of the ‘unintended consequences’ as relates to the enemy requires a suspension of dis-belief. That being the case though, it shows they don’t take alQaeda seriously. So who else benefits from this bill being kept on hold? Trial lawyers. Trial lawyers have dozens of cases against phone companies who are providing help to the government, at the government’s request, in tracking down terrorists, not librarians. And, included in this bill are provisions for granting companies immunity in cases where they provide intelligence at the government’s request. This, of course, is being portrayed by the left as the government listening in on your pizza order delivery call and Big Brother must be stopped. So, the title could also be Democrats Secure Win For Trial Lawyers, a major source of campaign contributions to the Democratic party. Politically, Robet Novak nails it . . .
The recess by House Democrats amounts to a judgment that losing the generous support of trial lawyers, the Democratic Party’s most important financial base, would be more dangerous than losing the anti-terrorist issue to Republicans.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) sites support in the Senate . . .
At one point during the debate, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., who helped pass the Senate version, declared that without these measures our intelligence will be “degraded.” Similarly, the Director of National Intelligence said without this legislation, we lack the necessary tools to intercept communications between foreign nationals.
Which ever way you look at the inaction by House democrats, the losers are the same, the American people.
Statement from The White House
related links: The Unilateral Disarmament Democrats: Putting Trial Lawyers Ahead of Your Family’s Safety | Center for Individual Freedom | House Defeats FISA Extension | Do House Democrats Take Terrorism Seriously? | Background: Listening To The Enemy