House Democrats put politics ahead of the Constitution.
105 House Democrats sold out the Constitution in an effort to take away a Republican talking point of fear if they opposed the FISA bill. Terrorists cannot overthrow the Constitution and establish a police state in America, only an American president enabled by an unprincipled Congress can do that. (Of course nearly all Republicans voted for the bill).
However, Democratic Senate patriots like Russ Feingold, Barack Obama, and Chris Dodd are joining with a few Republicans like Arlen Spector who care about the Constitution, are standing up for the rights of Americans.
This bill will effectively and unjustifiably grant immunity to companies that allegedly participated in an illegal wiretapping program – a program that more than 70 members of this body still know virtually nothing about. And this bill will grant the Bush Administration – the same administration that developed and operated this illegal program for more than five years – expansive new authorities to spy on Americans’ international communications. ... this bill doesn’t protect the privacy of Americans whose communications will be collected in vast new quantities. Under the bill, all that illegally obtained information on Americans can be retained and used. Once again, there are no consequences for illegal behavior.
-- Russ Feingold [D - WI]
Summing up the jist of the bill - it "protects" the civil liberties of American citizens by acknowledging that those civil liberties were being violated -- then declaring amnesty for the acts of the violators: the Bush Administration and the telecoms. The bill allows you to be prosecuted using secret evidence, presented secretly, banning review, explicitly banning judicial leeway to determine whether laws were violated, or civil liberties infringed upon. Of course you could be prosecuted by evidence is to be presented by the same people who broke the law and violated your rights to privacy in the first place.
As Senator Obama pointed out, there must be accountability where "someone's watching the watchers, where you don't have an administration that feels that it can make it's own determination about when warrantless wiretaps are used without a FISA court..."