Wyden: You keep your rights when you go overseas

From his perch on the Intelligence Committee, Senator Ron Wyden continues to press the Bush Administration on warrantless wiretapping - even though the majority Democrats have been pushing for a "compromise" reform bill.

From the New York Times:

The Senate Intelligence Committee voted Thursday night to approve compromise legislation that would strengthen court oversight of eavesdropping on Americans while granting telephone and Internet companies legal immunity for their role in assisting government surveillance programs since 2001. ... Two Democratic senators, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Ron Wyden of Oregon, cast the no votes. [The vote was 13-2.]

But Senator Wyden did manage to pass an amendment that protects the rights of Americans who are overseas:

But passage in the committee came with one unexpected hitch. In an interview after the closed session, Mr. Wyden said he had succeeded, by a vote of 9 to 6, in adding an amendment that would offer additional protections by requiring that the government get a warrant whenever it wanted to wiretap an American outside the country, like an American soldier based overseas or a business person.

“The individual freedom of an American shouldn’t depend on their physical geography,” he said.

But Mr. Wyden said the administration vigorously opposed that measure and was threatening to veto any final bill if it is included.

Over at new local blog Witigonen, they're giving props to Senator Wyden and raspberries to Senator Reid:

So, you may have heard that this "compromise" passed the House and is now in the Senate. Chris Dodd, a new goddam American Hero, swore to put a hold on it (which is, basically, an intent to filibuster). Yay! Unfortunately for us, Harry Reid has no balls, as evidenced by his decision to ignore the hold. Can you even DO that? His balls are most likely kept in a jar in Bush's desk, who probably has pet names for them, like he does for everything else around him.

However, there is still hope.

Ron Wyden, who is on the committee that worked on the FISA compromise (and, along with Russ Feingold, is the only one who voted against this pathetic caving-in) got an amendment through that the administration will likely consider a poison pill. In fact, it's so awful, the administration claims, that if it reaches Bush's desk with the amendment intact, Bush will veto the damn thing. God, I hope so. ...

I think we can all count ourselves lucky that at least we have one senator who still has his testicles. Thank you, Ron Wyden, for actually representing Oregon and doing your job. Maybe one day the people around you might.

Read the rest at Witigonen - and discuss over there.


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