Sen. Roberts' Suggestion to 'Reform' FISA is 'Clarified'
As noted here, Pat Roberts, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, isn't particularly interested in protecting Americans from unwarranted surveillance, and seems to think that the best way to protect the president from criticism is to broaden FISA to give the executive branch greater power to intercept domestic communications. Even that isn't good enough for the Bush administration, which must have admonished Roberts for trying to think independently.
Yesterday the NY Times reported that Roberts isn't sure exactly how to reform FISA, but believes that NSA spying requests should still "come before the FISA court." That isn't what the White House thinks, so the Senate Intelligence Committee's majority staff director, Bill Duhnke, had to tell the Times that its reporting "didn't reflect 'the tenor and status' of the negotiations between Congress and the White House." Duhnke assured the press today that Roberts is open to allowing the administration to continue bypassing the FISA court, while preferring that "the entire (intelligence) committee be briefed and involved in oversight issues." In other words, business as usual, with perhaps a few more senators hearing classified information that they won't be able to share with the public. This is oversight?
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