Critical Senate Vote on Surveillance Imminent
The Senate is poised to make its most critical vote yet on illegal government surveillance this afternoon at 4:30pm ET. There are still a few hours left to phone your Senator and tell them to stand up for your rights. Our allies in DC tell us this vote really could go in either direction, so your call will make a real difference.
Meanwhile, here's a roundup of recent discussion of FISA here, on the blogs and in the media:
- Congress is considering 30-day extension of the Protect America Act to allow time to consider further amendments. But Bush has threatened to veto even this short extension. EFF hopes Congress calls his bluff — vetoing the PAA extension after claiming it's necessary to protect the homeland will put him in a difficult position. As Harry Reid says: "The president has to make a decision. He's either going to extend the law... or there will be no wiretapping."
- The Bush administration has been claiming that a decision to allow the PAA to expire this week would immediately end important government surveillance. In fact, as Cindy Cohn clarified here on DeepLinks and Harry Reid reiterated on Friday, this is pure political theater — surveillance could continue for at least a year even if no new legislation is passed.
- As Media Matters found last week, the news networks have failed to ask more than a single question about government surveillance of the presidential candidates in over a dozen debates this season. Mitt Romney received the lone question, in September of 2007. Despite this myopia from the media, Democratic candidates have finally begun to take notice, with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama returning to DC today to vote against cloture! Statements opposing telecom immunity have been issued by the Edwards and Clinton campaigns.
- Excellent and up-to-the-minute overage continues at FireDogLake and Unclaimed Territory.