Repeal FISA

Wow. The New York Times editorial board calls for Congress to repeal the FISA reauthorization and modifications of 2008:

The 2008 expansion of FISA is a deeply flawed law. Congress needs to repeal it and re-examine, carefully this time, what powers the government really needs to eavesdrop on Americans and what limits and safeguards need to be placed on those powers.

This would be a necessary and needed step to restoring the rule of law in America. Unfortunately I don’t think it will likely happen any time soon. David Waldman at Congress Matters points out that Attorney General Eric Holder just defended that law and the retroactive immunity for telecoms contained there in as “settled law.” Holder did not give any indication that the administration viewed the law, which President Obama voted for, as unconstitutional or going too far in giving the government the power to spy on Americans without warrant. While I’ve heard that Senator Chris Dodd might try to legislate on FISA in the future, I cannot imagine it would happen any time soon, given his leadership on healthcare reform and financial sector reform. That said, I don’t see Congress pushing hard on legislation that reduces the ability of the government to spy on Americans without the support of the administration, which may or may not be forthcoming.

At least the editors of the Times have it right. Hopefully they continue to use their back page as a forum to highlight this issue and create pressure for change.

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