Thursday, July 10, 2008

Lessig on FISA

Lessig on The immunity hysteria. I mostly agree. Well I agree with his points: 1, 3, 4, and particularly 6. I disagree with 5, there's no need for Obama to resign from the Senate to run his campaign.

His point #2 had some info in it I didn't know: "Obama has not shifted in his opposition to immunity for telcos: As he has consistently indicated, he opposes immunity. He voted to strip immunity from the FISA compromise. He has promised to repeal the immunity as president. His vote for the FISA compromise is thus not a vote for immunity. It is a vote that reflects the judgment that securing the amendments to FISA was more important than denying immunity to telcos. Whether you agree with that judgment or not, we should at least recognize (hysteria notwithstanding) what kind of judgment it was. The amendments to FISA were good. Getting a regime that requires the executive to obey the law is important. "

I know he voted for the amendments to the bill. I didn't know he promised to repeal the immunity. I'm not sure he can do that by executive order, wouldn't that be overruling a law? And of course, what if he's not president? I'm also not sure the changes to FISA are themselves good. As I understand it, they allow the administration to eavesdrop on US citizens, on US soil, without a warrant. The period for this is extended from 2 to 7 days which might no be too bad but as I understand it, if the government says there are "exigent circumstances" then the FISA court does not ever review the case. If the court later finds the tapping was improper the government still gets to use the information collected.

1 comment:

paul said...

OK, Lessig makes much more sense to my ear in this post, although I agree with you and disagree with comment #5.