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July 13, 2008
The New Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and Presidential Politics
On July 10 2008, President Bush signed H.R. 6304, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, into law, Public Law No. 110-261. [President's Signing Statement]
Presidential contenders Sen. John McCain abstained and Sen. Barack Obama voted in favor of the bill on July 9th. [Senate Roll Call] Obama initially opposed the measure but changed his position on June 20th. He recently responded to his critics with a long statement on his campaign site.
One senator being vetted for the Vice-President slot on the Democratic Party ticket, Sen. Christopher Dodd, voted against the bill. In a June 24, 2008 speech on the Senate floor -- just four days after Obama announced his support for the bill -- Dodd said the debate over amending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was not simply one more dispute over intelligence policy. Rather, he said, it calls into question basic issues of democratic governance and the rule of law. [Text of Speech published in the Congressional Record]. See also Steven Aftergood's Intelligence Abuses and the FISA Amendments Act post on Secrecy News.
Balkinization's David Kris has posted a three-part guide to the FISA amendments: Part I, Part II and Part III. See also privacy law expert Daniel Solove's Concurring Opinions post, The New Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. [JH]
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