Alex Constantine - February 8, 2008
Politics officially entered the Senate debate over a rewrite of electronic surveillance rules Thursday when the Republican National Committee released a web video attacking the leading Democratic presidential candidates for “undermining” an overhaul.
The video was posted on YouTube and the RNC Web site and distributed to grassroots organizers, according to an RNC official. It criticizes Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid , D-Nev., as well as Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and Barack Obama , D-Ill., for opposing retroactive legal immunity for telecommunications companies being sued over their alleged cooperation in the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance activities following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
It also urges them to enact permanent changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that would update a temporary law set to expire Feb. 16.
“If Senators Reid, Clinton, Obama and their Democrat colleagues do not make the FISA updates permanent, they’ll deny intelligence and law enforcement communities the tools they need to protect Americans from foreign terrorists,” the video states. “After all, the terrorist threat to America never expires.” ...
A Senate FISA bill has been stalled on the floor this week, the victim of an unrelated dispute between Democrats and Republicans over an economic stimulus package. Republicans have resisted Democratic attempts to move the FISA legislation forward while that dispute is ongoing. ...