Friday, September 15, 2006

Oh, Snap!

Glenn Greenwald has the goods on the Specter bill. Harry Reid said on a conference call that - if it makes it to the floor - it will be fillibustered hard and rode home wet.

If you have the time you can read the bill (pdf) here. I've spend some time punching through it trying to see if the clearly unconstitutional retro-active application of the changes to FISA was still included but one passage from "findings" section where Specter is outlining the necessity of the bill really struck me. He is using the failure to nail Zacarias Moussaoui by the FBI as proof that the FISA law is to restrictive as stands.

"For days before September 11, 2001, the Federal Bureau of Investigation suspected that confessed terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui was planning to hijack a commercial plane. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, however, could not meet the requirements to obtain a traditional warrant or an order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to search his laptop computer (Report of the 9/11 Commission 273-76)" (emphasis mine)

Specter sure makes it sound like the FISA court denied the FBI's request for a warrant, doesn't he? If one took the bill at face value and assumed the 9/11 Commission Report said exactly what they said then one would certainly be left with that impression.

I didn't. I read through the pages of the report covering Moussaoui and found this-

This set off a spirtited debate between the Minneapolis Field Office, FBI headquarters and the CIA as to whether the Chechen rebels and Khattab were sufficiently associated with terrorist a organization to constitute a "foreign power" for the purposes of the FISA statute. FBI headquarters did not believe this was good enough, and its National Security Law Unit declined to submit a FISA application."

Say it ain't so. Arlen "magic bullet" Specter isn't shooting straight in his FISA reform bill?

Next thing you'll tell me Brittany Spears is a bad parent or Colin Farrell has an anger management problem.

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