Dems New Wiretap Bill Will Force DOJ Disclosures

The Democrats will introduce their FISA wiretap bill tomorrow.

The Justice Department would have to reveal to Congress the details of all electronic surveillance conducted without court orders since Sept. 11, 2001, including the so-called Terrorist Surveillance Program, if a new Democratic wiretapping bill is approved.

The draft bill, scheduled to be introduced to Congress Tuesday, would also require the Justice Department to maintain a database of all Americans subjected to government eavesdropping without a court order, including whether their names have been revealed to other government agencies.

This is the rewrite bill Dems promised before the August recess:


The bill would replace the Protect America Act of 2007, the controversial FISA revision adopted by Congress in August. That bill was hastily adopted under pressure from the Bush administration, which said changes in technology had resulted in dire gaps in its authority to eavesdrop on terrorists.

One feature the Republicans want in the bill is not there:

it does not grant retroactive legal immunity to telecommunications companies that cooperated with government surveillance between 2001 and 2007 without the court orders.

The bill has a very cumbersome name:

The "Responsible Electronic Surveillance That is Overseen, Reviewed and Effective Act of 2007" or RESTORE Act.

Parts I'm not so crazy about:

[It] would clarify that no court orders are required for the government to conduct surveillance on communications outside the United States even when the surveillance is conducted on U.S. soil, provided the target of the eavesdropping is not known to be a U.S. person.

The bill allows the attorney general and the director of national intelligence to request an "umbrella warrant" to conduct surveillance of foreign targets, or groups of targets, for up to one year when there is a possibility that American communications may be intercepted.

Marcy at Next Hurrah adds her thoughts.

Update: The New York Times has this un-rosy picture of the Dems bill. It sounds far from the roll-back of powers the Dems promised in August. Of course, I didn't believe them then.

< The Death Penalty in NC | Two Sad Tales of Juvenile Girls, One White, One Black >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Itr is a capitulation (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 09:27:01 PM EST
    The Dems remain spineless.

    What a useless Congress.

    The Wiretap bill we should be seeing (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Ben Masel on Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 01:27:04 AM EST
    would not only restore the due process eviscerated over the summer, but also create clear lines for law enforcement access to the location field for cellphones and other wireless devices.

    Realtime location tracking was mandated by the "E-911" legislation of the late '90s, for use when YOU dialed 911 in an emergency, but as built out, the architecture knows your whereabouts any time the phone's powered to receive calls. More, a record is retained, and there've been cases where one's been  deemed to have waived any privacy in this data history.

    Timeline? (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Ben Masel on Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 01:27:59 AM EST
    Is this going straight to the floor? Markup in Committees? Which?

    Odd that Pam Hess would write this (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by kovie on Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 02:38:37 AM EST
    since she's on the Pentagon beat at AP. Anything one should read into that or has she switched beats or taken on a second one? Or is this because the NSA falls under the DoD? Still, seems like more of a judicial beat story to me, given that this is about legal issues, or at least political beat story, with the technical ones mostly too classified to be able to write much of a story on.

    And this bull restores nothing. It just nudges things back just a tad, and fails to give Bush everything that he wants. Which, of course, is no surprise, since in negotiation you always ask for more than you need or expect to get, with what you have to "settle" for hopefully much more than your minimum requirements.

    Looks like Shrub's going to have another good week.

    And it's clear that we need to sweep away a whole generation of Dems to accomplish anything. They're not going to change. It's simply not in their DNA. Politicians don't change their stripes, even if they change their tunes.

    Bush Dogs and Lieberdems. What creeps.

    Last line of NYT (none / 0) (#2)
    by tnthorpe on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 10:08:17 PM EST
    who participated? (none / 0) (#3)
    by selise on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 10:17:05 PM EST
    was the aclu involved in the writing of this bill? or were they shut out again?

    FCC declines to investigate NSA-telco link (none / 0) (#6)
    by Aaron on Tue Oct 09, 2007 at 01:53:16 AM EST