Monday, August 13, 2007

Carpetbagger Report: FISA Revisions Shred 4th Amendment

I hate to just throw a link in here without some sort of my own commentary or analysis but this CarpetBagger Report called "Shredding the Fourth Amendment" assembles the best information on this issue and says everything that needs to be said. So here it is, verbatim. Pass it along:

In describing the resent FISA “revisions,” Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter gets shrill.

I hate to sound melodramatic about it, but while everyone was at the beach or “The Simpsons Movie” on the first weekend in August, the U.S. government shredded the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, the one requiring court-approved “probable cause” before Americans can be searched or spied upon. This is not the feverish imagination of left-wing bloggers and the ACLU. It’s the plain truth of where we’ve come as a country, at the behest of a president who has betrayed his oath to defend the Constitution and with the acquiescence of Democratic congressional leaders who know better. Historians will likely see this episode as a classic case of fear — both physical and political — trumping principle amid the ancient tension between personal freedom and national security. […]

Democrats obtained a sunset clause that requires the whole thing to be reauthorized in six months. But real damage has been done. At a minimum, we have suspended the Fourth Amendment for the time being.

That sums things up quite nicely, actually. In related news…

* Anonymous Liberal explains why the new FISA law is even worse than it sounds.

* The Washington Post offers a fascinating tick-tock account of how the legislation was proposed, debated, and passed.

* The New York Times editorial board accuses the Bush White House of intentionally keeping the details muddled so as to mislead lawmakers and the public.

* Kevin Drum wades through the details to discover that there is “virtually no oversight on NSA’s data collection at all.”