No wonder BushCo wanted oversight of FISA totally out of the hands of the FISC. If I'm reading this WaPo article correctly, there were actually two rulings that went against the Administration--one in March, and one in May.
But in a secret ruling in March, a judge on a special court empowered to review the government's electronic snooping challenged for the first time the government's ability to collect data from such wires even when they came from foreign terrorist targets. In May, a judge on the same court went further, telling the administration flatly that the law's wording required the government to get a warrant whenever a fixed wire is involved.
Indeed, there's a sense that a lot of the Administration response came out of frustration with the Court:
The judges were sympathetic but said they believed that the law was clear. "They said, 'We don't make legislation, we interpret the law,' " the senior administration official said.
The rulings -- which were not disclosed publicly until the congressional debate this month -- represented an unusual rift between the court and the U.S. intelligence community. They led top intelligence officials to conclude, a senior official said, that "you can't tell what this court is going to do" and helped provoke the White House to insist that Congress essentially strip the court of any jurisdiction over U.S. surveillance of communications between foreigners.
That's kind of predictable. As we've seen, when the law rules against Republicans, they tend to dismiss the law--and the Courts judging it.
The article also names names about whom Cheney told, this time, to fuck themselves: Senators Rockefeller and Levin.
"I want to move forward," [Rockefeller] said. But Democratic leaders wanted something in return: the release of long-sought administration documents describing the controversial warrantless wiretapping program Bush had authorized in the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The administration declined to release the documents, which include Bush's presidential order allowing the wiretaps, as well as the administration's legal opinions justifying the action. Administration officials described a particular showdown with key Democratic leaders -- including Rockefeller and Carl M. Levin (Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, in which Democrats proposed a trade of sorts.
While the exchange was not a quid pro quo, the senators essentially said, "You give us the documents we want, and we'll give you the legislation," according to an administration official present, who said the response was "no."
Time to renew my search for a new SSCI Chair, I suppose. Because we sure could use a few people who won't take "no" for an answer.