Sen. Specter Introduces FISA Bill on Substitution

Sen. Arlen Specter yesterday introduced a new bill on FISA substitution-- S. 2402, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Substition Act (pdf).

He also made this statement (pdf) about the bill yesterday which appears in the Congressional record.

Mr. President, I seek recognition to introduce The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Substitution Act of 2007, to substitute the Federal Government for the telephone companies in litigation challenging the so-called Terrorist Surveillance Program. ....

.... The legislation substitutes the U.S. in place of any electronic communication service company which provided communications in connection with an intelligence activity that was authorized by the President between September 11, 2001, and January 17, 2007, and designed to detect or prevent a terrorist attack against the U.S.

....If the provider assisted the Government beyond what was requested in writing, this legislation will leave the provider on the hook for any surplus assistance. On the other hand, the Government will be substituted if the Attorney General certifies that the electronic communications service provider did only what the Government asked. Once substitution occurs, Federal and State courts are directed to dismiss the providers from the action.

The bill may be taken up by the Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow. Unfortunately, it does not have a state secrets fix.

For lots more on the FISA bills currently under consideration this week, the ACLU provides great information.

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  • Display: Sort:
    If it did have state secrets fix... (none / 0) (#1)
    by magster on Tue Dec 04, 2007 at 01:33:05 PM EST
    ...would the Specter be acceptable?

    Here's the trick: (none / 0) (#6)
    by Peter G on Tue Dec 04, 2007 at 11:23:01 PM EST
    When a law provides for substitution of "the United States" for a private defendant, the next step is a motion by the government to dismiss the case because it doesn't come within any exception to "sovereign immunity" or because it does come within one of the liability-defeating exceptions to the Federal Tort Claims Act.  It's not a real opportunity to sue the govenment for its wrongdoing; it's the creation of a path to deep-sixing any such cases.

    Spellcheck: SpectEr (none / 0) (#2)
    by andgarden on Tue Dec 04, 2007 at 01:35:39 PM EST

    sjc schedule (none / 0) (#3)
    by selise on Tue Dec 04, 2007 at 02:22:33 PM EST
    spector's bill is now listed as the first item for the previously scheduled sjc business meeting on thursday at 10am.

    i'll be updating my list of weekly congressional committee hearings in a few minutes.

    typo (none / 0) (#4)
    by selise on Tue Dec 04, 2007 at 02:24:20 PM EST
    <strike>spector</strike> specter

    I wouldn't trust arlen as far as I could (none / 0) (#5)
    by seabos84 on Tue Dec 04, 2007 at 11:13:47 PM EST
    throw him ...

    I was going to say as far as I could spit, but, in 2nd grade I got pretty good at spitting pretty far

    so I can still spit further than I can throw a human.

    the only sensible thing to do with arlen is use him like some kleenex or charmin - after your nose or a-hole is clean, throw him away.

    they guy has zero integrity, and, by the way

    what do you think he's gonna do with us when he is done using us for wiping up gross messes?