On the FISA "Compromise"
As the papers are reporting today, Senator Specter and the White House have apparently reached an agreement on legislation which will submit the warrantless eavesdrop program to blanket review by the FISA court.
Specter's legislation, according to today's WaPo report, "would allow the Justice Department unlimited attempts to revise the program to meet the court's approval and would allow it to appeal adverse court rulings. It would also give the NSA in emergency situations a week rather than the current 72 hours to eavesdrop on a domestic target without requesting a warrant, and it would allow the government to send to the FISA court all lawsuits challenging the program's legality."
In principle I'm in favor of judicial review over this eavesdrop program, but I would prefer individual warrants rather than a blanket approval. Of course who knows how the FISA court will rule on the matter; they could require just that. I think for now we must watch how the legislation works its way through both chambers of Congress and then see where we are - there are a great number of alternatives out there on the table, and any amendments will make a big difference in how this measure is received.
I hate to say "wait and see," but in this case I might be necessary. For now, I'm cautiously (ok, very cautiously) optimistic given that the Administration has actually agreed to a court review. That's a good start.