February 14, 2008

So What? [7:51 am]

Eavesdropping Law Is Likely to Lapse

Broad spying powers temporarily approved by Congress in August appear likely to lapse this week after a daylong game of chicken on Wednesday between the White House and House Democrats produced no clear resolution.

[...] House Democratic leaders tried to obtain a 21-day reprieve to allow more time to negotiate before the temporary measure expires on Friday night. But the proposal was defeated in the face of opposition from liberals who are against the surveillance plan and conservatives who favor it.

House Democrats now say they may simply let the deadline pass without acting on the Senate plan.

Mr. Bush maintained on Wednesday that letting the broadened surveillance powers lapse “would jeopardize the security of our citizens.”

Democrats insisted that a lapse would have no real effect.

As I noted earlier, I agree completely with this Democratic claim. After all, this President has never felt that he is bound by the law anyway, so what difference does it make whether the conference committee puts together something or not?

If anything, we may get to see someone ask the President why he cares, since he was perfectly happy to conduct warrantless surveillance when it was illegal — what’s stopping him now? Some kind of new desire to hew to the dictates of the US Government? Hard to believe.

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