Bush Backing Down on FISA?
He seems willing to compromise, if just a bit, which is a good thing for civil liberties. It also underscores an important point: Why were these federal powers supposedly so necessary and pressing just a few weeks ago, when the administration came close to saying that more deliberation would be a victory for terrorism, whereas now Bush seems not to see it in such apocalyptic terms? Also interesting is Mukasey’s recent admission that the intelligence community had some advance warning of terrorism before 9/11, since it is only more reason to believe that FISA procedures were not in fact obstructing such intercepts.
Two years ago, I argued in a San Diego Tribune op-ed that the FISA regime, far from being overly civil libertarian, in truth gives far too much power to the executive. The system should be abolished and surveillance should no longer be allowed to proceed without old-fashioned search warrants. However, we should not expect the Democratic Congress to go nearly so far in restoring our civil liberties, as I argued shortly after the 2006 Congressional elections. And here’s Ivan Eland on FISA. And there are fewer experts more on top of this than Glenn Greenwald.