HILLARY AND FISA....Hillary Clinton has finally taken a public stand on the upcoming FISA legislation. Unlike Barack Obama, she's voting against it:
While this legislation does strengthen oversight of the administration's surveillance activities over previous drafts, in many respects, the oversight in the bill continues to come up short. For instance, while the bill nominally calls for increased oversight by the FISA Court, its ability to serve as a meaningful check on the President's power is debatable. The clearest example of this is the limited power given to the FISA Court to review the government's targeting and minimization procedures.Take your pick: (a) Hillary is a hero for taking the right position on this, (b) Hillary is just trying to embarrass Barack Obama and pave the way for her eventual resurrection and another run at the presidency in 2012, or (c) she's triangulating, taking the right stand but only doing it at the last minute when passage of the bill is already assured and her opposition won't matter. I figure it's a combination of (a) and (c), but I betcha there's going to be at least a few people who will darkly intimate that it's (b).
But the legislation has other significant shortcomings. The legislation makes no meaningful change to the immunity provisions. There is little disagreement that the legislation effectively grants retroactive immunity to the telecommunications companies. In my judgment, immunity under these circumstances has the practical effect of shutting down a critical avenue for holding the administration accountable for its conduct.