Friday, June 09, 2006

Hatch makes deal with either the Devil or Cheney on NSA

Let's just pretend for a moment that I wanted both apple pie and chocolate cake for dessert. They are both delicious, and I'm an adult, so I can do what I want. So, I announce to the world that I am going to eat both apple pie and chocolate cake for dessert tonight. Rob, Shaun, and Ethan all post on here that it would be an insanely bad deal to even eat dessert, because dessert is full of sugar and stuff. So, Shaun and I go into secret discussions, and Shaun and I announce that we have reached an agreement. If I promise not to eat chocolate cake, he will consider allowing me to eat pie for dessert. Rob and Ethan hail this agreement was breathtaking and a move in the right direction for the country as a whole.

That's a little bit how Orrin Hatch's deal with Dick Cheney feels.

From USA Today:

WASHINGTON — A last-minute deal Tuesday with Vice President Cheney averted a possible confrontation between the Senate Judiciary Committee and U.S. telephone companies about the National Security Agency's database of customer calling records.

The deal was announced by Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., the committee chairman, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. They said Cheney, who plays a key role supervising NSA counterterrorism efforts, promised that the Bush administration would consider legislation proposed by Specter that would place a domestic surveillance program under scrutiny of a special federal court.

In return, Specter agreed to postpone indefinitely asking executives from the nation's telecommunication companies to testify about another program in which the NSA collects records of domestic calls.

If passed, Specter's legislation would give the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court power to oversee the NSA program and render an opinion on the constitutionality of conducting domestic surveillance without a warrant. The court, established by the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), normally considers case-by-case requests by intelligence agencies to conduct surveillance inside the USA.

So, instead of the current law, which gives the courts a case-by-case review in these matters (well, they're supposed to, the law is being broken), They'll now have the authority to decide if it is unconstitutional (I thought that was the job of the Supreme Court).

Of course, if the FISC finds it unconstitutional, don't you think the Bush administration will just ignore that as well? They already ignore FISA.


P.S. -- I'm hungry for some reason....

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