November 16, 2007
Legislation in the House and Senate that would provide needed checks and balances on intelligence surveillance of the e-mail and telephone conversations between Americans and those overseas moved ahead yesterday. The RESTORE Act, which would permit surveillance only with broad, prior court approval, passed the House on virtually a straight party line vote. Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary Committee added provisions to an Intelligence Committee bill to enhance judicial oversight and ensure that the law, not merely the President's volition, determines whether intelligence agencies can eavesdrop on Americans in the U.S. Both the House bill and Senate Judiciary Committee bill have drawn veto threats. Senate floor consideration of the legislation, including possible immunity for telecoms that assisted with post 9/11 warrantless surveillance, is expected the week of December 3rd.