The US House held a rare closed session last night to discuss the pending FISA bill that would regulate government spying on phone calls and emails. Ironically, according to the Rachel Maddow Show, House members had to wait several hours to start the session so the chamber could be swept for bugs.
George W. Bush, who insists that the new FISA bill must include immunity for telecom companies who broke the law by allowing the government to eavesdrop on customers without proper authorization, is pulling out all the stops now. Having failed to frighten House Democrats with the specters of national security breaches or telecom bankruptcy, he’s now playing the patriotism card. To wit, telecoms that broke the law were showing their love of country and should be rewarded for it.
Apparently it has slipped his mind that those same telecoms cut off their “patriotic” wiretaps when the government failed to pay its phone bill.
The House is expected to vote on the bill today before adjourning for the Easter recess. Bush has vowed to
lie down on the floor and kick and scream veto it if he doesn’t get his way.
UPDATE: The bill passed 213-197. It will go to the Senate after Easter break.