Yesterday, a member of the Senate stood and addressed his colleagues in both the upper chamber and the House in defending telecom immunity and the FISA reform legislation. Can you guess who said this?
Now, let me say something more. What people have to understand around here is that the quality of the intelligence we are going to be receiving is going to be degraded. It is going to be degraded. It is already going to be degraded as telecommunications companies lose interest. Everybody tosses that around and says: Well, what do you mean? I say: Well, what are they making out of this? What is the big payoff for the telephone companies? They get paid a lot of money? No. They get paid nothing. What do they get for this? They get $40 billion worth of suits, grief, trashing, but they do it. But they don’t have to do it, because they do have shareholders to respond to, to answer to.
Was it Mitch McConnell? John McCain? Joe Lieberman? No — it was Senate Intelligence Committee chair Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), explaining why passing the legislation was critical to our efforts to defend the nation.
The context of the remarks were that the Republicans should have assented to another extension. Rockefeller claims that the House Democrats were “jammed” by this bill. However, it was the Democrats who set the original deadline last summer, the Democrats who demanded a two-week extension in January, and the Democrats who kept this issue from a resolution over that entire period of time.
Why don’t they just do their job and meet their own deadlines — especially with the issue being as critical as Rockefeller states here? Why was a weeklong vacation more important than staying in session an extra few hours to give the bipartisan reform bill passed by a 2-1 majority in the Senate a floor vote?