Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Dodd for Prez!!
FISA Press Coverage
posted by Matt Browner-Hamlin, Campaign Blogger on December 18, 2007 - 9:26am
Matt Browner-Hamlin's picture
There's been a great deal of press coverage of yesterday's FISA success. I wanted to share a few clips with you. The first thing I read this morning was in the New York Times. Eric Lichtblau begins his article:
In a setback for the White House, Senate Democrats on Monday put off until at least next month any decision on whether to give legal protection to the phone carriers that helped with the National Security Agency’s eavesdropping program.
The Bush administration had pushed for immediate passage of legislation to grant immunity to the phone companies as part of a broader expansion of the N.S.A.’s wiretapping authorities. But that will not happen now.
I had to read that again: "In a setback for the White House...The Bush administration had pushed for immediate passage...But that will not happen now." I think anyone reading this - from Senator Dodd to his staff on the Hill and his presidential campaign to all the bloggers and activists and organizations that were with us in this fight should read these words and feel tremendously proud of what was accomplished yesterday. The fight isn't over, but we should enjoy this victory.
Ryan Singel at Wired's Threat Level blog, which is a great source for coverage of everything related to domestic surveillance and the telecoms, describes how Senator Dodd was able to win a delay in FISA consideration:
Dodd showed his moxie and determination all day, as he held the floor for long stretches, railing against an administration-backed bill that would have freed telecoms from 40-odd lawsuits pending against them in federal court.
The presidential candidate threatened to filibuster and hold the Senate floor if the Senate shot down his amendment to strip immunity from the bill. That threat moved Reid to postpone a vote on the bill, so that the Senate could take up war funding bills, a massive domestic spending bill and changes to the Alternative Minimum Tax before the winter break.
At Ari Melber writes:
After waging an all-out battle against the Bush administration and leaders of his own party, Senator Chris Dodd achieved a legislative victory on Monday, halting President Bush's attempt to rush a Senate vote on a bill granting retroative amnesty to companies accused of illegally spying on American citizens.
Halting the amnesty bill was also a victory for the netroots, which ferociously backed Dodd's legislative strategy and pressed Harry Reid, who ultimately backed down by announcing he would delay the vote until January. Over half a million people lobbied against the bill via email, Democratic bloggers rallied support and pressed the presidential candidates, and MoveOn targetted specific Senators to back Dodd's efforts. "No president should be able to work with corporations to break the law and then use Congress to cover up the crimes," wrote MoveOn's Nita Chaudhary, urging web activists to lobby Congress on Monday morning. "Holding the phone companies accountable may be the only way that the American people find out the extent of the Bush administration's illegal actions," she added.
While Dodd's effort shows that a little leadership and backbone can get results, the battle is far from over. Bush is demanding that Reid get the spying bill passed -- with retroatctive amnesty -- in January, when the critical fight over accountability for spying could be overshadowed by a presidential campaign in full swing. The Constitution-netroots wing of the Democratic Party will keep fighting for accountability, thankfully, but it's up to the presidential candidates and the Senate leadership to ensure that Bush does not steamroll the rule of law once again.
There's obviously much more worth sharing, but I'll leave it here for now. Take a few minutes to poke around news articles about Chris Dodd's efforts to stop a bad FISA bill and the victory we all won yesterday.