Rather than permit a vote on the Senate bill that would restore crucial overseas surveillance authority, House Democrats, along party lines, have rammed through an alternative proposal that grants new privacy rights to to terrorists overseas and preserves the multi-billion dollar lawsuits their trial lawyer pals are pursuing against the telecoms. The vote was 213-197 (12 Democrats voting against their leadership).
The House has recessed for a two-week vacation. This maneuver is obviously designed to spare Democrats the embarrassment to which they were subjected a few weeks ago, when they adjourned without taking any action on the Senate bill. But the bottom line is: when the Protect America Act lapsed on February 16 due to House inaction, we lost the ability to monitor without restrictions emerging terrorist threats overseas. As National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell (a former Clinton Administration director of the NSA) has observed, we have lost intelligence. Thanks to today’s action, that unacceptable situation will continue.