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Is A Rockefeller/Hoyer FISA Immunity Deal Imminent?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 30th, 2008 3:49 pm by HL

Is A Rockefeller/Hoyer FISA Immunity Deal Imminent?
According to the ACLU, there is rumor of a backroom deal being brokered by Jay Rockefeller on FISA that will include retroactive immunity. I’ve heard from several sources that Steny Hoyer is doing the dirty work on the House side, and some say it will be attached to the new supplemental.

There doesn’t seem to be any greater priorityfor this administration than to get Dick Cheney and the other criminals in the Bush administration retroactive immunity for themselves and their teleco cohorts on their way out the door. Much fear mongering, ads in the districts of freshmen House Democrats, and lookie here, Trent Lott crawls out from under his slimy rock

According to the ACLU, there is rumor of a backroom deal being brokered by Jay Rockefeller on FISA that will include retroactive immunity. I’ve heard from several sources that Steny Hoyer is doing the dirty work on the House side, and some say it will be attached to the new supplemental.

There doesn’t seem to be any greater priority for this administration than to get Dick Cheney and the other criminals in the Bush administration retroactive immunity for themselves and their teleco cohorts on their way out the door. Much fear mongering, ads and robocalls in the districts of freshmen House Democrats, and lookie here — Trent Lott crawls out from under his slimy rock:

AT&T is among charter clients of Breaux Lott Leadership Group, a firm established by former Senate heavyweights John Breaux (D-La.) and Trent Lott (R-Miss.). Their sons are also involved in the family business.

The telecom giant has given BLLG the mission to back the controversial Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

And how much is that worth? So glad you asked:

Breaux-Lott’s top-paying clients during the first three months of the year include AT&T ($150,000 for help on FISA legislation); the Association of American Railroads ($150,000 for a tax cut on infrastructure investments); and the Plains Exploration and Production Company ($150,000 for work on offshore oil and gas issues).

Predictably, the Blue Dogs are top targets to flip on the Hoyer/Rockefeller deal.

In case anyone is wondering why this might be a really bad idea, Babak Pasdar’s column in the Seattle PI provides a nice refresher.

Feingold’s Secret Government Law Hearing
Sen. Feingold held a hearing this morning regarding secret law, the US government, and the need for better oversight and transparency. It was a fantastic hearing that, as I understand it, C-Span recorded for broadcast later today. Luckily for us, it was webcast from the Senate Judiciary website, and I have roughly transcribed the hearing — but watching it in its entirety is well worth looking for it on

cheney-secret1.jpgSen. Feingold held a hearing this morning regarding secret law, the US government, and the need for better oversight and transparency. It was a fantastic hearing that, as I understand it, C-Span may have recorded for broadcast later today. Luckily for us, it was webcast from the Senate Judiciary website, and I have roughly transcribed the hearing — but watching it in its entirety is well worth looking for it on the C-Span schedule today.

Witnesses included:

· J. William Leonard – Former Director, Information Security Oversight Office

· Steven Aftergood – Director, Project on Government Secrecy, Federation of American Scientists

· Bradford Berenson – Partner, Sidley Austin LLP, Washington, DC

· Dawn Johnsen – Professor, Indiana University School of Law; Former Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel

· Heidi Kitrosser – Associate Professor of Law, University of Minnesota Law School

· David Rivkin – Partner, Baker Hostetler, Washington, DC

Witness statements as prepared for the committee are available here. Sen. Feingold’s opening statement is available in its entirety here.

_______________________

Began at slightly after 9:00 am ET. Rough hearing transcription follows:

Feingold calling the committee into session.

FEINGOLD OPENING: More than any other administration in recent history, this Administration has a penchant for secrecy. It has relied increasingly on secret evidence and closed tribunals, in Guantanamo and in the US. There is also an increasing prevalence in our country of secret law. It is a basic tenet of democracy that the people get to know their laws.

The recent release of the Yoo memorandum from 2003 has shown the importance of not allowing this secret law — goes into the binding precedent of the OLC on the federal government agencies. This contains no information about sources, methods or any other information about national security — but it did contain shaky legal rationale which the Administration did not want the public knowing was used as a foundation for their actions, and yet it was classified until just weeks ago.

Goes on to discuss the problems of any sort of oversight when you have such an internal policy of secrecy.

BROWNBACK OPENING: Problem? What problem?

Witnesses sworn in for testimony.

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