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Some Good News On The Civil Liberties Front

Well into the wee hours (well after midnight), the debate went on in the House over the House Intelligence Authorization (HR 2082). From The Gavel:

Well into the wee hours (well after midnight), the debate went on in the House over the House Intelligence Authorization (HR 2082).

From The Gavel:

On April 16, a group of 11 retired three-star and four-star generals and admirals issued a report entitled, "National Security and the Threat of Climate Change." This report concluded that global warming "presents significant national security challenges to the United States." It focuses on how climate change "can act as a threat multiplier for instability in some of the most volatile regions of the world." The Intelligence Authorization bill follows the recommendations of these 11 retired generals and admirals by requesting the National Intelligence Council (NIC) to produce a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on the national security impact of climate change.

But there was a particular amendment to the bill that caught my eye:

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Rep. Flake (R-AZ) offered an amendment responding to the President's unilateral assertion of power with regard to the electronic surveillance of Americans on US soil. Specifically, it states that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) shall be the exclusive means by which domestic electronic surveillance for the purpose of gathering foreign intelligence information may be conducted, and makes clear that this applies until specific statutory authorization for electronic surveillance, other than as an amendment to FISA, is enacted.

From an email I received from the ACLU:

Congress is drawing a line in the sand.

This is a big victory for the ACLU, as we've been working this one for a while... the purpose is to stop the president stop from going around FISA and prevent him from starting up warrantless programs in the future. Remember that the administration has testified that article two of the Constitution gives them the authority and they are not bound by the laws of Congress. This clarifies they are, in fact, bound by congressional law.

We're especially impressed with Flake, a Republican who's breaking with his party to stand up to the president for our country. Especially since he lost his committee seat in retribution for this bill.

Credit where credit is due for Rep. Flake, but let's celebrate this as a big victory not only for the ACLU, but for the country as well.

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