Having read several articles on the topic and heard discussion on the news, I just had to weigh in on this subject. Nancy Pelosi is on vacation, and on Saturday the Protect America Act will expire, and we will be left with a law that is out-dated and inadequate to allow intelligence to keep up with terrorist and Al Qaeda operatives.
Pelosi claims the danger doesn't exist and that President Bush is just trying to scare them into complying with the law when they still have the immunity problem to work out. Once again, Pelosi shows she does not have the interests of United States citizens at heart. For me her statements are akin to the infamous phrase, "let them eat cake!"
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was patched temporarily with the Protect America Act so they could keep doing their surveillance work on communications of suspected terrorists. Now this patch is about to be ripped off and there is none to take its place as Pelosi and her crowd head off for a week of vacation.
Sadly, the Associated Press has stood by her and given misinformation at best. Noel Sheppard, in an article for Newsbusters.org, says that AP defended Speaker Pelosi while ignoring part of the facts.
The Protect America Act was in place to let the government "initiate wiretaps for up to one year against a wide range of targets". It also "compels telecommunications companies to comply" when ordered to do so and "protects them from civil lawsuits that may be filed against them for doing so."
The protection part is the part that Pelosi and other Democrats are sticking on. Without that protection, companies will not want to comply with orders. To do so would be to leave them open to all kinds of lawsuits. This leaves them stuck between compliance and staying in business. Their compliance is necessary for the program to succeed, and they are increasingly reluctant.
Who can blame them? In the end they will have to do what the government tells them to do, but they will do so knowing they are not protected from liabilities they encounter due to their compliance. You can make them comply, but you cannot "make" them comply.
Passing this legislation is essential to the safety of our great country. We cannot operate under an out-dated law and expect to keep up with terrorism's operatives who are under no such restrictions. In a technological world, we must keep up by using every means in our power, and if granting immunity from civil lawsuits gets it, then it gets may vote. Should there be restrictions? Of course, but those are built in, and we cannot go back to a pre-911 world no matter how much we would like to.
This is not the first shameless act Pelosi has pulled in her tenure as Speaker of the House, and I'm sure it will not be her last. Her disregard for our safety astounds me. She tries to pass it all off on Bush by saying he is a fear-monger, but I'd rather have provisions in place should we have need than to have something happen because we didn't have them.
We are a country at war with terrorists, even though we did not start it and we do not want to be in it. In times of war, we must protect ourselves from those who would do us ill. For Pelosi's sake, I hope she's right and nothing happens, but if I were her, I wouldn't want to bet on it. Unfortunately, she's doing just that.