The Corner

McCain & FISA

Andy’s on the road, but this came in late Friday from the McCain campaign on a Corner thread on the senator and FISA reform. Here’s the McCain camp’s response to this McCarthy post. More to come.

Dear Andy:

I read your post yesterday on the Corner where you expressed some concern over Senator McCain’s position on pending FISA legislation.  I am happy to provide you with more clarification on Senator McCain’s position and take this opportunity to set the record straight since Jonathan Weisman’s story in the Washington Post was written with a complete disregard of the facts, misrepresenting my statements to him and Senator McCain’s position on FISA.

Here is the bottom line: Senator McCain supports the FISA modernization bill passed by the Senate without qualification.  He believes no additional steps should be necessary to secure immunity for the telecoms; both the 109th and 110th Congresses have conducted extensive evaluation and examination of this topic and have satisfied the public’s need for appropriate oversight; hearings purportedly designed to ‘get to the bottom of things’ have already occurred; and neither the Administration nor the telecoms need apologize for actions that most people, except for the ACLU and the trial lawyers, understand were  Constitutional and appropriate in the wake of the attacks on September 11, 2001.

Senator McCain has never stated, nor does he believe that telecoms should only receive retroactive immunity in exchange for congressional testimony about their actions.  We do not know what lies ahead in our nation’s fight against radical Islamic extremists, but John McCain will do everything he can to protect Americans from such threats, including asking the telecoms for appropriate assistance to collect intelligence against foreign threats to the United States as authorized by Article II of the Constitution.

As you know, the FISA modernization legislation passed by the Senate earlier this year sets forth clear guidelines authorizing the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence to direct a telecom company to immediately provide the government with all information necessary to protect Americans from foreign threats and outlines legal procedures with respect to any challenges of this authority.  Additionally, the bill requires the Attorney General and the Director to assess compliance of the intelligence community with minimization techniques.  These types of modernization provisions placed in the bill are the “clear guidelines” and “vetting processes” I stated that Senator McCain, like a majority of his colleagues, supports. 

Senator McCain believes that the Democrats’ reckless delay in passing a FISA modernization bill is unnecessarily risking our national security and dangerously restricts the vital efforts of our  intelligence community. 

If you have any further questions, I’d be happy to discuss.  Thanks for providing me the opportunity to clarify Chuck Fish’s misstatements and John McCain’s position on FISA.

Thanks,

Doug Holtz-Eakin

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