• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • 'There Is No There There' for Progressive Position on FISA

    We encourage you to read progressive bloggers on FISA. No really, go here, here, and here. Got all that. Now after reading those posts, what is the FISA debate in the Senate about? Why does FISA need a technical change and why do companies want protection from lawsuits for cooperating with spying on foreign terrorist threats? You will not learn anything from those posts. Sure you’ll get some Bush-hating red-meat phrases like “lawbreaking disrespect” and “this administration’s campaign of lawlessness” but you will not better understand the policy issues at all.

    CATO Institute (a libertarian think tank) B. Kenneth Simon Chair in Constitutional Studies Roger Pilon, on the other hand, provides a great history of the issue filled with stuff like facts and concludes:

    In the aftermath of 9/11, believing FISA to be hopelessly inadequate, President Bush instituted his terrorist surveillance program (TSP) — but not before advising key members of Congress. Nevertheless, a firestorm ensued when the New York Times made the program public in December 2005. The controversy continued until January 2007, when the White House announced that henceforth it would gather intelligence under FISA’s antiquated restrictions.

    Cooler heads in Congress grew concerned after Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell testified in July that “we’re actually missing a significant portion of [the intelligence] we should be getting.” That led to last August’s six-month fix, which expires this week.

    Obviously, this is no way to conduct the serious business of foreign intelligence. The ever-changing rules — criminalizing transgressions — leave officials playing it safe in a world of risks. The Senate bill would be an improvement, not least because it provides retroactive liability protection for telecom companies that allegedly assisted the government after 9/11.

    So please, do study the issue. Get past the breezy telecom company and Bush bashing of the political season. When you do you’ll see just how dangerous progressive policies are to our nation’s safety.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    Comments are closed.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×