The House of Representatives approved the so-called “compromise” on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that in fact gave the Republicans and the White House everything they wanted.
One of Iowa’s three Democratic representatives voted with the Republicans. Can you guess which one without peeking here at the roll call vote?
That’s right, Leonard Boswell voted with the Republicans.
Bruce Braley and Dave Loebsack stuck with the majority of the House Democratic caucus and voted against this bill.
Meanwhile, Barack Obama came out against the immunity provision in the FISA bill today. His full statement on the bill is here, but the most important part seems to be this comment about the telecom immunity provision:
I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses.
Some people who follow this issue closely feel Obama’s statement didn’t go far enough. In particular, it is not clear whether “work in the Senate to remove this provision” would include supporting a filibuster of the bill.
In the good news column, Rob Hubler, Democratic candidate in the fifth district, sent the blogger Glenn Greenwald a strong statement opposing retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies. Here is a copy of that statement, which the Hubler campaign sent to me:
Dear Mr. Greenwald,
As the Democratic nominee for Congress in Iowa’s Fifth Congressional District, I want you to know that I appreciate very much the initiative you have taken to oppose and expose the FISA Amendments Act of 2008. This bill effectively guarantees retroactive immunity for telecom companies that participated in the President’s illegal wiretap program, and fails to protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans at home.
If elected, I would vigorously oppose this measure, which would essentially require the court to grant immunity, and authorize surveillance on citizens without adequate checks and balances to protect their rights.
I believe that the constitutional rights of everyday Americans are at issue here, and full accountability is needed. No President should ever have unchecked power.
As a member of Congress, I will support legislation that preserves appropriate court review of all surveillance of U. S. citizens, and I will not vote for immunity for telecom companies.
Americans in the U. S. with no connection to suspected terrorists should never have their privacy abridged by an overzealous, unchecked executive branch.
Rob L. Hubler