Although the New York Times cut a deal with the Bush administration a year ago to keep hidden the fact that it knew that the National Security Agency was spying on the electronic voice and data transmissions of American citizens — without court approval — the news of this which hit today resulted in the Senate saying enough is enough.
The Senate voted to kill extension of 16 Patriot Act provisions expiring on December 31st.
From an AP report:
President Bush, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Republicans congressional leaders had lobbied fiercely to make most of the expiring Patriot Act provisions permanent.
They also supported new safeguards and expiration dates to the act’s two most controversial parts: authorization for roving wiretaps, which allow investigators to monitor multiple devices to keep a target from evading detection by switching phones or computers; and secret warrants for books, records and other items from businesses, hospitals and organizations such as libraries.
There is momentum now behind those who want to clip the wings of the Bush White House. A genuine battle is breaking out. . .finally.
In the past, those who would preserve our system of checks and balances, our system of justice, and civil society have been too weak compared to a White House that had become intoxicated with a passionate belief in its own infallibility.
The White House is being handed one defeat after another, but the President and his team despise being beaten. I suspect that we are entering a dangerous period where the White House feels trapped and prone to excess to try and get back in control.
— Steve Clemons