Senate Votes Down 2nd Surveillance Amendment

February 7, 2008 4:56 p.m.

The Senate finally got around to yet another of the amendments to the surveillance bill. This one was sponsored by Sens. Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Chris Dodd (D-CT) and the ACLU provides this description:

A critical flaw of [the Senate intelligence committee bill] is that there is simply no prior court review of any kind of the government’s expanded surveillance. This is only exacerbated by the fact that the little court review there is – which is limited to review of guidelines after surveillance has begun – appears to not be accompanied by the explicit authority to modify surveillance procedures already under way. This amendment allows the FISA court to amend surveillance programs if it finds them to be contrary to the requirements of this bill or the Fourth Amendment, and to limit the use of illegally collected information.

The amendment was defeated 40-56, with Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-WI), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Tim Johnson (D-ND), Even Bayh (D-IN), Tom Carper (D-DE), and Mary Landruei (D-LA) joined the nays. Here’s the roll call.

There will be at least one more vote this evening and in just a few minutes. This one is another amendment by Russ Feingold, one that would prevent “reverse targeting” — that is, as Feingold describes it, “a practice by which the government gets around FISA’s court order requirements by wiretapping an individual overseas when it is really interested in a person in the U.S. with whom that supposed foreign target is communicating.” The amendment requires the government to obtain a court order whenever a significant purpose of the surveillance is to acquire the communications of an American in the U.S.

Update: That second bill went down 38-57, also with a large number of Dems crossing over, Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Inouye, Johnson, Landrieu, Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Rockefeller, and Ken Salazar (D-CO) among them.

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