Last updated: February 21, 2008 - 12:11pm
HOUSE DEFIES BUSH ON WIRETAPS
[SOURCE: Washington Post, AUTHOR: Dan Eggen and Michael Abramowitz]
The House of Representatives defied the White House yesterday by refusing to make an expiring surveillance law permanent, prompting a harsh exchange between Republicans and Democrats as they prepared for an extended, election-year battle over national security. The episode was a rare uprising by Democrats against the White House on a terrorism issue, and it inspired caterwauling on both sides about the dire ramifications of the standoff. Republicans said Democrats were putting the nation at risk, while President Bush offered to delay his scheduled departure for Africa today to reach a deal. Democrats responded with charges of administration recklessness and fearmongering.
* If the Law Expires
Here is what could happen if the law expired: 1) The government would retain all the powers it had before last August under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which requires the government to obtain court approval for surveillance conducted on U.S. soil or against U.S. targets. 2) Classified orders allowing the monitoring of international telephone calls, e-mail traffic and other communications under the Protect America Act routinely are valid for a year, so they would not expire before August. 3) Those orders cover terrorist groups or telecommunication providers in their entirety. New groups, phone numbers and other information could be added to existing orders. If a targeted person uses a telecommunication company not covered by such an order, the administration says the government may have to obtain a new order from the FISA court. The administration views this as a cumbersome process; Democrats say obtaining emergency FISA approval is straightforward.
* House Leaves Surveillance Law to Expire
* Expiration Nears for Surveillance Law
* House set to let warrantless eavesdropping law lapse
PRESIDENT BUSH DISCUSSES PROTECT AMERICA ACT
[SOURCE: White House, AUTHOR: President George Bush (R)]
This Saturday at midnight, legislation authorizing intelligence professionals to quickly and effectively monitor terrorist communications will expire. If Congress does not act by that time, our ability to find out who the terrorists are talking to, what they are saying, and what they are planning will be compromised. It would be a mistake if the Congress were to allow this to happen.
* Statement on Protect America Act
* Fact Sheet: Congress Must Act Now To Ensure That We Have The Tools To Keep America Safe
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