The Problems With This FISA Bill

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

In the July 3 editorial "FISA Follies," The Post criticized opponents of immunity for lawbreaking telecommunications companies, saying that, even if the editorial was wrong on that score, "the more important concern is to ensure that there are adequate protections in place, including vigilant court oversight, to give intelligence agencies the flexibility they need to intercept international communications without infringing on the privacy rights of Americans."

But what's amazing is how little attention the editorial paid to this critical part of the debate. The fact is that the revisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act under consideration in the Senate this week would virtually do away with the role of the FISA court in overseeing new dragnet surveillance. Its role would be reduced to little more than serving as a rubber stamp.

It is a shame that the paper that uncovered the Watergate scandal, which helped lead to more congressional oversight of executive authority and the checks and balances of FISA, now believes that the president once again should have unfettered power to spy on Americans.

CAROLINE FREDRICKSON

Director,

Washington Legislative Office

American Civil Liberties Union

Washington


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