Skip to comments.Senate Coverage -- (December '05)
Posted on 12/12/2005 10:36:51 AM PST by OXENinFLA
Since "Free Republic is an online gathering place for independent, grass-roots conservatism on the web. We're working to roll back decades of governmental largesse, to root out political fraud and corruption, and to champion causes which further conservatism in America.", I and others think it's a good idea to centralize what the goes on in the Senate (or House).
So if you see something happening on the Senate/House floor and you don't want to start a new thread to ask if anyone else just heard what you heard, you can leave a short note on who said what and about what and I'll try and find it the next day in THE RECORD. Or if you see a thread that pertains to the Senate, House, or pretty much any GOV'T agency please link your thread here.
If you have any suggestions for this thread please feel free to let me know.
Here's a few helpful links.
C-SPAN what a great thing. Where you can watch or listen live to most Government happenings.
C-SPAN 1 carries the HOUSE.
C-SPAN 2 carries the SENATE.
C-SPAN 3 (most places web only) carries a variety of committee meetings live or other past programming.
OR FEDNET has online feed also.
A great thing about our Government is they make it really easy for the public to research what the Politicians are doing and saying (on the floor anyway).
THOMAS where you can see a RECORD of what Congress is doing each day. You can also search/read a verbatim text of what each Congressmen/women or Senator has said on the floor or submitted 'for the record.' [This is where the real juicy stuff can be found.]
Also found at Thomas are Monthly Calendars for the Senate Majority and Senate Minority
And Monthly Calendars for the House Majority and Roll Call Votes can be found here.
The Founders' Constitution
THE WHITE HOUSE
THE WAR DEPARTMENT (aka The Dept. of Defense)
LIVE DoD Briefings
NEWSEUM: TODAY'S FRONT PAGES
Seems Feingold is getting snippy with Arlen
BTW .. Arlen's hair is growing in nice .. the lighter brown
hair dye color looks better
I've been listening.....this is pretty good.
You don't mean to tell me that someone leaked classified information to the WaPo and they printed it! Sounds like they had better think twice before printing classifed information from that particular source.
Ya ever get the feeling all this classified information being leaked to the Post and NYT is more so that these Senators can talk about it openly because they can't talk about it otherwise
The investigators need to start investigation some Senate Staffers imo
Baucus is up ... cuts in social programs is a tax ??
Judd Gregg's response to Jack "The Chinless One" Reed is both impressive and enjoyable.
Craig, Murkowski, Sununu, Durbin, Feingold, and Salazar signed on to a letter against the bill as represented by Conference Report 109-333.
The 30,000 figure relates to "National Security Letters."
By Barton Gellman - Washington Post Staff WriterThe exchange between Specter and Feingold is at the following, and the dispute over the number of NSL's is an inconsquential part of the exchange, inasmuch as Specter asserts the proposed provisions do not impinge civil liberties, and Feingold says they do. The difference is (roughly) whether or not the government needs to have something resembling a court review of the warrant before it issues a National Security Letter.
Sunday, November 6, 2005; Page A01
The FBI now issues more than 30,000 national security letters a year, according to government sources, a hundredfold increase over historic norms. The letters -- one of which can be used to sweep up the records of many people -- are extending the bureau's reach as never before into the telephone calls, correspondence and financial lives of ordinary Americans.
Issued by FBI field supervisors, national security letters do not need the imprimatur of a prosecutor, grand jury or judge. They receive no review after the fact by the Justice Department or Congress. The executive branch maintains only statistics, which are incomplete and confined to classified reports. The Bush administration defeated legislation and a lawsuit to require a public accounting, and has offered no example in which the use of a national security letter helped disrupt a terrorist plot.
[JURIST] US Assistant Attorney General William E. Moschella [official profile] defended the use of National Security Letters [PDF sample text; ACLU materials] in a 10-page letter sent to the Chairmen of the US House and Senate Judiciary Committees Tuesday, rebutting claims raised by a Washington Post article [text] that NSLs have been used to spy on law-abiding citizens. NSLs allow the FBI to obtain private phone, internet, and business records; while most information about their use remains classified, Moschella claims that the FBI has not issued over 30,000 a year, as claimed by the Post article, nor have they used the letters to spy on innocent citizens. He nonetheless admitted that some citizens whose records are accessed "may not be terrorists or spies or associated with terrorists or spies."
House and Senate negotiators have reached a tentative agreement [JURIST report] to renew several Patriot Act provisions affecting the use of NSLs, including one that requires the Justice Department to report annually to Congress on the number of NSLs issued that year, and one that allows recipients to consult a lawyer before complying. A lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] said that though the government may obtain such information, "I think the American people would prefer that there be some sort of connection and if not, then the records ought to be destroyed." AP has more.
... not only is the Second Circuit Court of Appeals currently judging the constitutionality of NSLs in a case that EFF briefed [ACLU also briefed], but Senators and Congressman are now finalizing a bill to renew the PATRIOT Actand new checks on the NSL power are still being considered.
Last week, the Washington Post had an important story on the use (and possible overuse) of National Security Letters, an authority that permits the FBI to order third-parties such as ISPs and banks to disclose information in national security cases. The story quoted Michael J. Woods, former chief of the National Security Law Unit in the FBI's Office of the General Counsel, who was critical of some current FBI practices. I contacted Michael and asked him for further comment on the Washington Post story and the use of NSLs. Here is his response in its entirety, reprinted with his permission: ... [GREAT link, BTW]
FEINGOLD: ... What we need in this provision on these national security letters to prevent potential abuses, as well as the abuses that may well be already occurring--the Washington Post suggested some 30,000 national security letters per year--is a clear standard that these provisions can only be used to obtain records that pertain to a terrorist or a spy. ...
SPECTER: ... Existing law enables a law enforcement official unilaterally to go to get records on his determination that they are relevant, and there is no judicial review. What the Senate bill did, and what the conference report perpetuates, is to put in judicial review. The traditional safeguard of liberty has been to interpose a disinterested, impartial magistrate between law enforcement and the citizen. That is what happens when you get a search-and-seizure warrant to establish probable cause. That is what happens when you get an arrest warrant to take somebody into custody. We have moved substantially toward that cause, although not quite probable cause for a search warrant or an arrest warrant, but a very substantial portion of the way by the Senate bill, which is perpetuated in the conference report, that a court may issue an order for records only on ``a statement of facts showing that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the tangible things sought are relevant to an authorized investigation to protect against international terrorism.''
The Senate bill established three criteria for the relevant standard. First, activities of a suspected agent of a foreign power; second, a foreign power or agent of a foreign power; third, an individual in contact with or known to a suspected agent of a foreign power. In conference we did add an additional provision, which the Senator from Wisconsin has objected to. The additional provision is that the judge may order the production of records of an individual where the judge concludes those records are important--crucial to the investigation, to a terrorism investigation. ...
FEINGOLD: Here is the significance. What the Senator from Pennsylvania is suggesting is that it is not a major change to add, on top of the three-part test of the Senate, an additional provision that merely requires relevance. This is a big deal, because the other three provisions require that the records pertain to a terrorist or spy, or records of people in contact with or known to a terrorist or spy, or relevant to the activities of a terrorist or spy. All three of those tests require something closer to the connection that the Senator from Pennsylvania and I demanded in the SAFE Act.
The additional item put in the conference report is the loophole, the exception, that swallows that three-part test. It does not require the connection to the terrorist or spy, even though this legislation, from the very outset, was supposed to be a response to what happened on 9/11, to terrorism. This does gut the changes to section 215 that are in the Senate bill. This does render meaningless the efforts you and I and others made to get a good provision in the Senate. And, yes, it is a sufficient reason not to go forward.
Click here -> 109th Congress - Senate - December 13, 2005
Navigate to: 17 . IRAQ [ Pages S13471 - S13478 ]
9:45 a.m.: Convene and begin a period of morning business.
Thereafter, proceed to the consideration of the motions to instruct the conferees on S. 1932, the Budget Reconciliation bill.
The Senate convened at 11:00 a.m. and adjourned at 6:21p.m. No reccord votes were taken.
Nov. 23 letter to Congress from Assistant Attorney General William E. Moschella
WaPo article of Wednesday, November 30, 2005; Page A08
WaPo point-by-point rebuttal on Dec. 5, to Moschella's letter of Nov. 23, 2005.
I switched over the the House. Marsha Blackburn has lost her comb.
Harry Reod on Fox critizing the Iraq policy....I'm so pissed.
Harry Reid also.
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