Sunday, October 21

Dem Senate Leader Reid Works to Exempt Telecoms in NSA's Illegal Wiretapping

Last week Salon reported that Democrat Senator Leader Harry Reid of Nevada is working overtime to exempt AT&T and Verizon from pending lawsuits in which they and other companies illegally bypassed FISA courts to snoop on Americans at the pleasure of Emperor Bush.

Now tell me again why anyone still thinks the Democrats of the 110th Congress are an alternative to the "Do-Nothing" Republicans of the 109th Congress?--editor


Harry Reid works to ensure telecom amnesty, warrantless surveillance

(Updated below - Update II - Update III - Update IV - Update V - Update VI - Update VII)

I wrote about many of yesterday's developments concerning telecom amnesty and warrantless surveillance in this morning's post, but I want separately to highlight one critical fact. Citing various media reports, Jane Hamsher last night noted that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid -- in violation of all Senate customs and rules -- apparently intends, in essence, simply to ignore the "hold" placed on the FISA bill by Chris Dodd and bring the bill to the floor for a vote (and certain passage).

I was somewhat skeptical of that interpretation. The one "principle" which all Senators share is the sacred holiness of their customs and institutional prerogatives. As Jane notes, Reid has never dishonored a "hold" before from his own caucus, and virtually never dishonors "holds" even when placed by the most far-right Republicans Senators. It seemed inconceivable that he would simply refuse to recognize a "hold" by one of the Senate's most senior members on a bill of this importance, and the media accounts seemed vague on that score.

As a result, I emailed Reid's office to ask if they actually intended to override and ignore Dodd's "hold" and this is the patronizing (though crystal clear) dismissal I received back as a "response" from Reid's spokesman, Jim Manley:

Reid will work with Dodd and other Senators to correct the deep flaws in the Protect America Act.

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