I typically do not get too political on this blog, but this really makes me mad.
This is an edited down version of a yahoo new story:
The surveillance law, which authorizes the administration to eavesdrop on phone calls and see the e-mail to and from suspected terrorists, expires on
Vice President Dick Cheney prodded Congress on Wednesday to extend and broaden an expiring surveillance law, saying “fighting the war on terror is a long-term enterprise” that should not come with an expiration date.
On Tuesday, Senate Republicans blocked an effort byto extend the stopgap Protect America Act without expanding it.
Congress hastily adopted the stopgap act last summer in the face of warnings from the administration about dangerous gaps in the government’s ability to gather intelligence in the Internet age.
Administration allies in Congress not only want the expiring law made permanent but amended to give telephone companies and other communications providers immunity from being sued for helping the government eavesdropping and other intelligence-gathering efforts.
“The intelligence community doesn’t have the facilities to carry out the kind of international surveillance needed to defend this country since 9-11. In some situations, there is no alternative to seeking assistance from the private sector. This is entirely appropriate,” Cheney said.
At the heart of the controversy is whether the government’s wireless surveillance program violated provisions of the originalthat requires warrants for wiretaps whenever one of the parties involved in the communication resides in the United States.
The original FISA law requires the government to get permission from a special court to listen in on the phone calls and e-mails of people in the United States. Changes in communications technology mean many purely foreign to foreign communications now pass through the United States and therefore require the government to get court orders to intercept them.The Protect America Act, adopted in August, eased that restriction. Privacy andsay it went too far, giving the government far more power to eavesdrop on American communications without court oversight.
Come on! What is happening to our privacy and free speech? Our checks and balances are disappearing. Our leaders are taking advantage of conditions to take more control of their citizens. I can’t help but remember what happened to my family in the ’40’s – imprisonment based solely on racism.