I didn’t think anybody except maybe Russ Feingold had the balls to do this:
Dodd will send a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid this afternoon informing him of his decision [to put a hold on the Senate FISA renewal bill because it reportedly grants retroactive immunity to telephone companies for any role they played in the Bush administration’s warrantless eavesdropping program].
…By doing this, Dodd can effectively hold up the telecom immunity bill, because bills are supposed to have unanimous consent in the Senate before going forward. One Senator can make it very difficult to bring a bill to the floor by objecting to allowing it to go to a vote.
Dodd’s planned action comes amid reports that the Senate Intelligence Committee has reached a deal with the White House on the legislation that would give telephone carriers legal immunity for whatever role they played in the National Security Agency’s domestic eavesdropping program, which was approved by President Bush after 9/11. The White House and the phone companies have been lobbying aggressively for immunity, and the announcement of the immunity deal today dismayed many opponents.
AlterNet reports that this is no attempt to rescue a struggling presidential campaign. Dodd is serious:
The Military Commissions Act. Warrantless wiretapping. Shredding of Habeas Corpus. Torture. Extraordinary Rendition. Secret Prisons.
I have decided to place a “hold” on the latest FISA bill that would have included amnesty for telecommunications companies that enabled the President’s assault on the Constitution by illegally providing personal information on their customers without judicial authorization.
I said that I would do everything I could to stop this bill from passing, and I have.
Thank you, sir.