I was on a blogger and reporter conference call with Senator Chris Dodd this afternoon. David Isenberg, McJoan at Daily Kos and Jason Rosenbaum of The Seminal have already posted on it.
Dodd announced that because the will of the Senate is so clearly in favor of retroactive immunity and the House legislation is so much better, he won’t be speaking for the full four hours available to him this afternoon. Instead, he thinks the best bet is to get the bill to the House as soon as possible and stop harboring any hope that the Senate will produce a good bill. He will use less of his time so as to allow the Senate vote to take place and the conference committee between the House and Senate FISA bills could proceed.
Dodd started by recognizing that his opponents had the upper hand in this fight.
“Unfortunately those that are advocating this notion that you have to give up liberties to be more secure are apparently prevailing. They seem to be convincing people that you’re at risk politically or we’re at risk as a nation if we don’t give up rights…. We lost every single battle we had on this bill. The question now is can we do better with the House.” [Emphasis added]
Dodd went on and noted that if the conference report doesn’t produce a good bill, “I will use all the tools available to me as a single senator to delay this issue.” Asked if that would include a filibuster, Dodd said, “I will use whatever vehicles I can.”
Dodd was asked if he thought lobbying by the telecom industry was having an impact on the outcome of events in the Senate. Dodd said, “Well, I haven’t heard from them. But it’s having an impact.”
What stood out more than anything else, for me, was Dodd’s assessment of what happened today on the floor of the Senate:
This warrentless wiretapping program was the single largest invasion of privacy in the history of the country and we just sanctioned it by granting retroactive immunity.
Could one Senator utter a more damning assessment of his colleagues work than this? It appears that Dodd shares similar opinions to Kagro X, who earlier described the Senate’s actions today as suicide.
Cross posted at the CREDO Blog.