Remember last month when the Democrats took their pussification to new heights by passing the new FISA law that would grant the Telecoms immunity from prosecution as a compromise? As it turns out giving the Telecoms immunity is the least of the problems that bill creates:
The 114-page bill was pushed through the House so quickly that there was no real time to debate its many complex provisions. This may explain why the telecom immunity provision has received so much attention in the media: it is much easier to explain to readers not familiar with the intricacies of surveillance law than the other provisions. But as important as the immunity issue is, the legislation also makes many prospective changes to surveillance law that will profoundly impact our privacy rights for years to come.
Specifically, the new legislation dramatically expands the government’s ability to wiretap without meaningful judicial oversight, by redefining “oversight” so that the feds can drag their feet on getting authorization almost indefinitely. It also gives the feds unprecedented new latitude in selecting eavesdropping targets, latitude that could be used to collect information on non-terrorist-related activities like P2P copyright infringement and online gambling. In short, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 opens up loopholes so large that the feds could drive a truck loaded down with purloined civil liberties through it. So the telecom immunity stuff is just the smoke; let’s take a look at the fire.
Go read the full article as the law is stunning in terms of major changes it makes to what criteria the government must meet in order to spy on someone and how long they can do it before they have to submit to judicial oversight. The fact that the Democrats helped to rush it through the House without any real debate is simply astounding as noted by the folks at Ars:
Democratic leaders have worked hard to portray the legislation as a compromise, but close examination of its provisions suggests that it is an unvarnished victory for President Bush and his allies in Congress. The legislation eliminates meaningful judicial oversight of eavesdropping between Americans citizen and foreigners located overseas and effectively legalizes dragnet surveillance of domestic-to-foreign traffic. It stretches out the judicial review process so much that the government will in many cases be able to complete its surveillance activities before the courts finish deciding on its legality. And Democratic leaders have capitulated on the immunity question, agreeing to language that would almost certainly lead to retroactive immunity for lawbreaking telecom companies.
What the fuck is up with the Democrats? Why the hell are the bending over, lubing their asses up, and yelling “bring it on” to the Republicans? Just what is it they hope to accomplish with this legislation if (or when) they gain control of the Presidency? They sure seem to have something up their sleeves with as eager as they are to go along with the Neocons on this issue.