If You’re Wondering Who Helped Pass the NSA’s Eavesdropping Powers, Here Are Some Familiar Names…

My Tuesday column and some recent history on FISA and the NSA:

On his show last Friday, while the NSA story was blazing its way through the tubes, Rush Limbaugh said, “So there is clearly — somewhere, somehow, in some form or another — a coup taking place, and there is an assault on privacy, and there are assaults on people because of their politics and their ideology. It is taking place; it’s undeniable.”

An assault on privacy, he said. Limbaugh continued, “I don’t want my government doing this. I do not want my government preoccupied with paying this close attention to what every citizen is doing every minute of the day. This government’s already too big, it’s too damn powerful, and it’s too unforgiving — and this doesn’t have anything to do with competent intelligence gathering. Throwing wide nets like this is BS. It’s assuming way too much to think that this is not a big deal. Left-wing overreaction, my backside.”

Uh-huh. Yeah. Rewind several years to 2007 and 2008 when Congress and the Bush administration passed the Protect America Act, along with the FISA Amendments of 2008. The entire Republican establishment was lined up in jingoistic lockstep behind the Bush administration’s efforts to eavesdrop without warrants and spent countless hours both scaring their listeners to death while shaming liberals and the Democratic Party over any and all resistance in codifying the administration’s lawless covert wiretapping.

But as we’ve learned time and time again, selective amnesia doesn’t seem to permeate the zero barrier between January 19, 2009 and January 20, 2009, so let’s take a look at some history, shall we? Yep. Here goes… [READ ON]

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  • MrBlifil

    I think not enough attention has been paid to the FISA Amendment Act of 2008, which was passed in December of that year. In addition to altering the terms of the previous FISA law, it also created a 5-year extension of the FISA program. This was probably one of the last pieces of legislation GWB signed. It expires in December of this year. I can’t imagine a mechanism whereby Obama could have dismantled FISA even if he wanted to. Only Congress can undo previous Acts of Congress. Obama couldn’t even get Congress to vote on popular healthcare reform (until hell finally froze over). Obama’s critics in this matter are wishing for a Whistleblower-in-Chief, and I’m sorry but he never ran either time making that kind of promise.

  • MrBlifil

    I just noticed that Congress passed another 5-year extension in December of 2012. 73% support in Congress. I’m really not sure what Obama could have done individually to get in front of that train. Maybe we can have an informed discussion in 2016…