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FISA Parade of Horribles

Illustration by: Matt Mahurin

My pal Brian Beutler at the Media Consortium is following Bush’s game of chicken over renewing the Protect America Act — essentially blessing the constellation of warrantless surveillance programs. Check him out:

Think about what it means when the president says he will veto a bill that includes a). any amendment that specifically blocks the acquisition of data when the government knows that it’s spying on Americans and b). any amendment that puts the court in charge of setting the policy for illegally obtained data. What sort of program fits the contours of such a law? Read this from Ryan Singel. It’s chilling for all the obvious reasons. And it’s a formula for the sort of abuse that’s already happened, that will happen again (just as it’s always happened), and that Jay Rockefeller and all the supporters of his bill will respond to by feigning disappointment in much the same way that Chuck Schumer and Diane Feinstein are now terribly disappointed in Michael Mukasey for his "surprising" support of torture.

If the Senate passes none of its important amendments, and the House caves on its bill, then suddenly, for what will almost certainly be the full six-year-term of the legislation, and possibly more, we’ll be in Total Information Awareness territory. Turn on C-SPAN2 right now, if you’d like, and watch this all happen before your very eyes.

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