Saturday, February 23, 2008

To FISA or not to FISA

Lots of hard talk between the Bush administration and Nancy Polosi's House of Representatives about a wire tap (FISA) bill. Bush wants the bill and Pelosi doesn't want to pass it. The bill would prohibit suing the telephone companies (telco's) for cooperating with the intelligence community (actually the National Security Agency, NSA for short). That's necessary, the telcoes are as patriotic as anyone, but they aren't going to expose them selves to expensive lawsuits just for helping Uncle out. The telco management has a responsibility to their stock holders, and they can't do things that get them sued, cause it costs like crazy to defend your company at law. So unless Pelosi is owned by the tort lawyers, she shouldn't have a problem with immunity for the telcos.
Beyond that, the bill ought to allow NSA to tap the phones of the enemy, and require a warrent for cops to tap US citizen's phones. Probably ought to say that wiretaps without a warrent are not admissable in court, except in cases of spying and terrorism. Should allow warrentless tapping of foreign calls even if the foreign calls are routed thru US telephone equipment. I'd also be willing to allow warrentless tapping of international calls, i.e. one party is located overseas.
The newsies haven't really reported on what the bill would contain, probably because they don't understand the issues. US citizens don't want Big Brother tapping their phone, but they do want Big Brother tapping Al Quada's phones. We ought to be able to write a law t hat says that in 2000 words or less.

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