News Rodney Tom Says He’s Not a FISA Dem
posted by August 10 at 12:21 PMon
The GOP is trying to stir up a bit of trouble in the already hot Democratic scrap between Darcy Burner and Rodney Tom—both vying to be the Democratic nominee from the 8th Congressional District.
Burner is the former Microsoft manager who lost in a close close race to incumbent GOP Rep. Dave Reichert on Seattle’s suburban Eastside in 2006. Tom is a former GOP state Rep who changed his status from R to D and took out GOP incumbent Luke Esser for a state Senate seat in 2006. Tom’s campaign is in its nascent stages. Burner, riding high of her strong showing in 2006, has nearly $200,000 on hand. Burner is running left. Tom is running centrist.
I’ve pasted the GOP press release below, but here’s the deal: Responding to Burner’s recent attack on the Democrats (she busted on her own party for voting with the GOP on last week’s surveillance bill)—the GOP trashes Burner as a Commie and then puts the spotlight on Tom. They want to see if he’s a Commie too. The controversial bill—the “Protect America Act”— gives the Bush administration the authority to circumvent FISA, the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act, which traditionally mandated a warrant process to obtain wiretaps. No more.
It should be pointed out that Burner is not so out of sync as the GOP press release would have it. As I posted a few days ago, the entire Democratic Washington State delegation was against the surveillance bill.
So, where’s Tom?
I asked him this morning. He said he would have voted ‘No’ on the FISA bill. “As we fight the war on terrorism we cannot undermine the very freedoms we’re fighting for,” he said. “I have seen no proof that the existing warrant system that we used for years before 9/11 was hindering us.”
Tom says the FISA bill was too broad and pointed out that an amendment to explicitly connect surveillance targets to al Qaeda was cut from the bill.
Tom disparaged the vote for the bill as a “Pavlovian response” on the part of Congress to let Bush do whatever he wants to fight terrorism.
BURNER ATTACKS FELLOW DEMS FOR PASSING ANTI-TERROR MEASURE
THINKS THAT THE 57 DEMOCRATS WHO VOTED FOR THE FISA UPDATE ARE DOING TOO MUCH TO STOP TERRORISM
Rejects Moderate Label and Embraces Party’s Left Fringe
Tukwila, WA… Failed Congressional candidate Darcy Burner released a new web video (link) on the liberal website HorsesAss.org blasting 41 Democratic House and 16 Senate members for supporting an update to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA). The measure was a temporary fix aimed at closing a loophole in FISA that had been opened by a recent court decision (link).
“Darcy Burner is attacking her own party for doing too much to fight terrorism,” said Washington State Republican Party Chairman Luke Esser. “She isn’t even pretending to be a responsible moderate.”
Burner is, so far, the only congressional candidate in the country to actively attack her own party for allowing the measure to come to a vote. It’s also not the first time she’s offered a less than mature critique of her own party’s position on FISA (link). No word yet on what her primary opponent Rodney Tom thought about the vote.
The measures are designed to update FISA to take into account today’s technology as well as allow intelligence officials to tap communications between terrorists in other nations that is routed through U.S. equipment. If the FISA fix hadn’t passed, the intelligence community’s ability to track terrorists and prevent attacks would have been significantly reduced by the recent court decision. Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee who according to Burner “doesn’t get it,” had this to say about the legislation (link):
“The intelligence community is deeply concerned that chatter among suspected terrorist networks is up. I am concerned as well. We are living in a period of heightened vulnerability, and must give the intelligence community the tools they need to protect America.
This legislation is a temporary fix. It is not permanent and it expires in six months. It immediately addresses critical gaps in our intelligence-collection efforts – while preserving a role for FISA court review.
I voted for both bills because one needed 60 votes to pass. It is vital that we act now. We cannot leave the nation unprotected in this post-9/11 period.”
The measure makes clear that FISA does not apply to surveillance to collect foreign intelligence on foreign targets outside the United States. It provides a means to authorize and compel assistance to the government from third parties to aid in gathering intelligence information on targets outside the United States. It also provides FISA Court review for those procedures and for reporting to Congress. The measure also provides a retroactive liability defense for those who may have provided or who provide assistance the U.S. Intelligence Community to protect America from attack. The law keeps intact all current protections for the civil liberties of Americans.