Congress Does Something!

It was introduced on Wednesday. The Senate passed it 60-28 on Friday. The House passed it on Saturday 227-183. And President Bush signed it yesterday.

What was it? Well, people disagree: the Washington Post (linked above) leads this way:

President Bush on Sunday signed into law an expansion of the government's power to eavesdrop on foreign terror suspects without the need for warrants.
But the New York Times says:
President Bush signed into law on Sunday legislation that broadly expanded the government's authority to eavesdrop on the international telephone calls and e-mail messages of American citizens without warrants.
Whoa, that's quite a difference! Which is it, "foreign terror subjects" or "American citizens"? If the nation's two leading news sources can't agree, what hope is there for the rest of us?

Orin Kerr, a most fair-minded and moderate person, has analysis of some of the issues here. Dafydd, a less fair-minded and reasonable person, opines:

And in the fullness of time, both the Democrat-controlled House and the Democrat-controlled Senate broke with longstanding Democratic tradition and decided to support the United States of America.

Silly bit of business, really; foreigners calling foreigners whose calls happen to be routed through nodes in Los Angeles or New York, and the National Security Agency was listening in when it appeared that one or the other foreign party was a terrorist, a terrorist supporter, or a terrorist harborer. But the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court opened the Devil's gate by deciding that this violated some obscure clause of the Constitution of which we were all previously unaware: the constitutional right of privacy for all foreigners living abroad. A judge -- they won't say who -- struck down the program.

And the legislation was aimed toward "fixing" the legal environment to nullify the unnamed jurist's opinion. I tend to lean toward Dafydd's take. Intelligence gathering against terrorists is a no-brainer.

But, speaking of no-brainers: both New Hampshire reps, Carol Shea-Porter and Paul Hodes, voted on the losing side. If I were a GOP ad-writer for the New Hampshire congressional races this year, I'd consider that my job just got considerably easier.

Last Modified 2013-04-22 12:51 PM EDT