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Senate Proceeding on Dec 17th, 2007 :: 6:15:30 to 6:35:39
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Barbara Mikulski

5:59:09 to 6:15:30( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Barbara Mikulski

Barbara Mikulski

6:15:12 to 6:15:30( Edit History Discussion )

Barbara Mikulski: the federal official, the state law officer, who has apparent legal authority, who asks them to help in a situation involving danger in the community, that that citizen should respond. okay? and how

Jeff Sessions

6:15:30 to 6:15:45( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: have we dealt with that? we are so committed to that fundamental principle that we have embedded in our common law the concept that if the government official was in error and should not have asked

Jeff Sessions

6:15:30 to 6:35:39( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Jeff Sessions

Jeff Sessions

6:15:45 to 6:16:01( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the citizen to do something, maybe i would use the example of somebody running from a building building, apparently a burglary has occurred, several uniformed police officers are chasing him, he asks the citizen

Jeff Sessions

6:16:01 to 6:16:18( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: to help, the citizen assaults, tackles and holds the person, that he's been told to try to capture, and he helps the police officers capture that person, and it turns out he's innocent. it's absolutely

Jeff Sessions

6:16:18 to 6:16:35( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: clear as a matter of the anglo-american law law. this is not some new deal. this is our heritage -- that the citizen is not responsible and can't be held legally liable because the only questions was

Jeff Sessions

6:16:35 to 6:16:49( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: he or she responding to what happened to be -- towhat appeared to be a legitimate request by the government to assist them? so that's what our telecom companies did. more than that, they didn't just

Jeff Sessions

6:16:49 to 6:17:03( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: respond to some police officer in uniform. they didn't just respond to a military officer or a national guardsman, or coast guardsman to help. they responded to the attorney general of the united states

Jeff Sessions

6:17:03 to 6:17:23( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: of america in a formal letter scag that he was -- saying that he was authorized by the president of the united states to ask their assistance to preserve and protect the safety of american citizens

Jeff Sessions

6:17:23 to 6:17:39( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: and that what they were being asked to do the attorney general assured them was lawful. now, i'll say to you, how could we possibly suggest that these companies now are going to be rightfully sued for money

Jeff Sessions

6:17:39 to 6:17:57( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: damages? you ask -- i think it's unthink unthinkable that we would allow that to happen. it would contradict our fundamental principles as a country. they say, well, how do we know? we need to have a

Jeff Sessions

6:17:57 to 6:18:11( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: lawsuit. we, mr. president, we've got all kinds of telecom communication statutes that we have imposed over the years, and apparently the court, in re reviewing these matters, has held that the procedures

Jeff Sessions

6:18:11 to 6:18:23( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: then utilize ed under the request of the white house were not correct correct. they didn't say they couldn't be done, but they said they had to be use ed in different techniques and different procedures.

Jeff Sessions

6:18:23 to 6:18:40( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: but the practical effect of that that, it turns out, was to make it impossible for these techniques to be continued to be use ed. we just couldn't do it as a practical matter. you couldn't get warrants

Jeff Sessions

6:18:40 to 6:18:53( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: and all the things that they said -- the way we wrote the statute -- were required. so the net result was, we passed the act this summer, the protect america act, so that this could continue because

Jeff Sessions

6:18:53 to 6:19:10( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: we, after great study, conclude ed it was needed and basically a lawful procedure procedure, and we passed the statutes that allow it to continue. so i just want to go back to say that the fact that

Jeff Sessions

6:19:10 to 6:19:22( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: there was an alteration in the way that this process was ongoing as a result of a court ruling does not mean that the american companies who agreed to be supportive of the attorney general and the president

Jeff Sessions

6:19:22 to 6:19:37( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: of the united states in a time of national emergency ought to have been sued. the person responsible for the error was the government, not the companies -- the government. and many of these matters are

Jeff Sessions

6:19:37 to 6:19:52( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: very complex. so if we now are going to place the burden on the c.e.o. or the legal counsel of every company in america to conduct their own independent research as to whether or not a request to

Jeff Sessions

6:19:52 to 6:20:09( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: participate in helping to defend america is constitutional and they now have got to be required to go beyond a certificate, a certify ied letter from the attorney general of the united states and have

Jeff Sessions

6:20:09 to 6:20:27( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: their lawyers express their own opinion, we are at a point where we're not going to get help in the future. it's just that simple. i think we ought to be careful about it. in fact, in the letter

Jeff Sessions

6:20:27 to 6:20:39( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: that senator hatch has referred to that's been -- indicates a statement of administration policy, what they call a s.a.p., issue ed today, i believe, indicates that they would recommend to the president

Jeff Sessions

6:20:39 to 6:20:54( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: that this important, critical legislation be vetoed if certain matters are in it. and one of the matters they're concerned about is this question of liability, and i'd like to read from page 4 from that

Jeff Sessions

6:20:54 to 6:21:07( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: s.a. s.a.p. that deals with this issue, and it sort of sets it out clearly. it says, quote, "in contrast to the senate intelligence committee bill" -- the intelligence committee bill -- "the senate

Jeff Sessions

6:21:07 to 6:21:26( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: judiciary committee substitute would not protect electronic communication service providers who are allege ed to have assisted the government with communications intelligence activity ies in the aftermath of

Jeff Sessions

6:21:26 to 6:21:39( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: september 11 from potentially debilitating lawsuits, providing liability protection to these companies is a just result. in its conference report, the senate intelligence committee" -- quote -- "provided

Jeff Sessions

6:21:39 to 6:21:51( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: that the providers had a good-faith basis for responding to the request for assistance they received." close quote. that was a bipartisan vote 13,-2 13,-2. senator rockefeller, the democratic chairman,

Jeff Sessions

6:21:51 to 6:22:03( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: and senator bond shall the ranking republican, and all members vote the on --members voted on that. i'm still quoting now from this s.a.p. "the committee further recognize recognized that -- quote

Jeff Sessions

6:22:03 to 6:22:17( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: -- "the intelligence community cannot obtain the intelligence it needs without assistance from these companies." close quote. in other words, we can't get this intelligence without the cooperation

Jeff Sessions

6:22:17 to 6:22:31( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: of these companies, for heavens heaven's sakes. this is not a matter of dispute. this is an undeny iable fact. it goes on to say -- quote -- " "companies in the future maye less willing to assist the government

Jeff Sessions

6:22:31 to 6:22:49( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: if they face the threat of private lawsuits each time they are allege ed to have provided assistance. the senate intelligence committee conclude ed that -- quote -- "the possible reduction in intelligence

Jeff Sessions

6:22:49 to 6:23:03( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: that might result from this delay is simply unacceptable to the safety of our nation." close ote. it's unacceptable. going on -- this s.a.p. goes on to say, "allowing continued litigation also

Jeff Sessions

6:23:03 to 6:23:17( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: risks the dis disclosure of highly classified information regarding intelligence sources and methods methods. in addition to providing an advantage to our adversaries by revealing sources and methods

Jeff Sessions

6:23:17 to 6:23:36( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: during the course of the litigation, the potential dis disclosure of classified information puts both the facility ies and the personnel of electronic communication service providers and our country's

Jeff Sessions

6:23:36 to 6:23:48( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: continued ability to protect our homeland at risk. it is imperative that congress provide liability protection for those who cooperated with this country in its hour of need." close quote. it goes on

Jeff Sessions

6:23:48 to 6:24:02( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: to say this "the ramification of the judiciary committee's decision to afford no relief to private parties that cooperated in good faith with the united states government in the immediate aftermath of

Jeff Sessions

6:24:02 to 6:24:16( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the attacks of september 11 could extend well beyond the particular issues and activity ies that have been primary interest and concern of the committee. the intelligence community as well as law enforcement

Jeff Sessions

6:24:16 to 6:24:56( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: and home homeland security agency ies continue to rely on the voluntary cooperation and assistance of private parties. a decision by the senate to abandon those who may have provided assistance after september

6:26:16 to 6:26:19( Edit History Discussion )

11 will invariably be noted by those who may someday be called upon to help their nation." close quote. i think that's indisputable. so how we got in it in this, i don't know. it's being driven, i

6:26:19 to 6:26:23( Edit History Discussion )

know, by a lost leftist, "blame america first" crowd, who seek to go through every single thing that's done to protect america from attack and foreign adversaries, and they go thrgh it and they attempt

6:26:23 to 6:26:26( Edit History Discussion )

to find anything that can be complained about and we end up having a big complaint. but these matters have serious consequences. so i would say to my colleagues, we didn't deny moveonrg the right

6:26:26 to 6:26:29( Edit History Discussion )

to be heard. but we've listened to all their complaints and we've listened to the aclu and the intelligence committee has spent months looking at it and the department of justice has been involved in

6:26:29 to 6:26:32( Edit History Discussion )

it and the senate judiciary committee has been involved in it and i would submit, mr. chairman, that we have found that this is not an extreme thing, that this is all consistent with the law of america,

6:26:32 to 6:26:35( Edit History Discussion )

and that it's legitimate in the way it was done and we have now ratified it it.~ and i said a little earlier this morning that i know it's too much to expect that we would apologize to our security

6:26:35 to 6:26:39( Edit History Discussion )

officers and the president for saying, as some have done, that they violated our constitution to do these procedures, because after all this debate and effort, we have now passed laws, the protect

6:26:39 to 6:27:07( Edit History Discussion )

america act, that allows them to continue. if they were so horrible, why did we overwhelmingly vote to allow them to continue? i would just say there was nothing fundamentally wrong with what was being

Jeff Sessions

6:27:07 to 6:27:26( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: done to begin with. this was necessary, legitimate. and one more thought i would share on the basic question of surveillance abroad is this: american citizens abroad are protected by a rather strong

Jeff Sessions

6:27:26 to 6:27:45( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: presidential order, executive order that protects them from surveillance without probable cause having been shown. it's a pretty strong thing. why have we never had the supreme court who's ruled on surveillance

Jeff Sessions

6:27:45 to 6:28:00( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: in the united states, declare its power on the issue of surveillance abroad? think about this. can the supreme court -- can a federal judge in america approve a surveillance, electronic surveillance

Jeff Sessions

6:28:00 to 6:28:18( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: in a foreign country of an american citizen? well, the answer is, no, they don't have jurisdiction. the federal government, federal judges don't have jurisdiction in france or russia or afghanistan.

Jeff Sessions

6:28:18 to 6:28:34( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: if you don't have jurisdiction to authorize a surveillance, you don't have jurisdiction to issue warrants or to curtail that jurisdiction, and that's the way it's always been interpreted. but because people

Jeff Sessions

6:28:34 to 6:28:53( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: were concerned about american citizens abroad, we did -- the president has executed an executive order that can, that controls those situations and that is being followed today. so i just want to say that we

Jeff Sessions

6:28:53 to 6:29:12( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: need to be careful about our thought processes as we go forward. there's never ever, ever been any doubt that an american intelligence operative can surveil foreign persons abroad who may -- they believe

Jeff Sessions

6:29:12 to 6:29:22( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: may pose a threat to the united states or may possess information valuable to the united states. that has never been in doubt. so as we go through with this, i hope we'll listen to the work of the

Jeff Sessions

6:29:22 to 6:29:38( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: intelligence committee. i think for the most part it's pretty good. that bill is something i can support. it has some things in it i don't really believe are necessary, but people did, and they put

Jeff Sessions

6:29:38 to 6:29:52( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: it in there to further put restrictions on our efforts to make sure they don't overreach. and we can do that in a bipartisan way. and i hope that we will. and we need to do it soon because the current

Jeff Sessions

6:29:52 to 6:30:07( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: bill, the protect america act, expires in february. i went out a few weeks ago to the national security agency and got a full briefing as a number of senators have on what's being done there, and i was

Jeff Sessions

6:30:07 to 6:30:23( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: so proud of them. those are fabulous americans. the suggestions that have been made by some that they're sitting out there trying to listen in on somebody's private conversation about christmas

Jeff Sessions

6:30:23 to 6:30:38( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: or from paris or afghanistan is just beyond reality. they're out there trying to protect america. they're looking to see if they have any information that they can pick up that would indicate an

Jeff Sessions

6:30:38 to 6:30:57( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: attack make imminent or that people are plotting to attack the united states. madam president, i thank the chair. i hope that we'll move forward with this legislation based on the intel bill and that we

Jeff Sessions

6:30:57 to 6:31:12( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: will reject efforts to deny liability protection to americans who serve our country. and also that we would reject the wyden amendment language because i think it goes far too far in constricting the

Jeff Sessions

6:31:12 to 6:31:23( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: ability of our intelligence personnel to do their job without -- and it's not legally or constitutionally required. madam president, i thank the chair and would yield the floor. the presiding officer:

Jeff Sessions

6:31:23 to 6:31:37( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: thank you, madam president. i want to take this time to talk a little bit about the fisa bill that we are considering today. i heard my friend from alabama talk

Jeff Sessions

6:31:37 to 6:31:51( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: about the work that's being done at national security agency. i have also taken the opportunity to visit with n.s.a to see firsthand the work they're doing. it wasn't my firstisit. n.s.a., as you know,

Jeff Sessions

6:31:51 to 6:32:01( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: is located in maryland. i've been there on numerous occasions. i had the opportunity to observe the manner in which our security intelligence agencies operate. these men are dedicated public servants

Jeff Sessions

6:32:01 to 6:32:11( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: doing a great job on behalf of their country, trying to get it done right. they're trying to do it the way it's supposed to be done in complying with law. but they need the right legal basis, and

Jeff Sessions

6:32:11 to 6:32:23( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: that's our responsibility in congress to get the statutes right to allow them to obtain the information that they need in order to keep us safe. and there's a right way of doing it, and congress

Jeff Sessions

6:32:23 to 6:32:33( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: needs to get this bill done right. well, i could tell you we passed this bill in a hurry in august. we didn't have an opportunity at that time to review the classified information about the advice

Jeff Sessions

6:32:33 to 6:32:45( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: that was givenn regards to the collection of data. since that time, some of us have had that opportunity. i regret that all of us have not had that opportunity. i've taken advantage of that opportunity

Jeff Sessions

6:32:45 to 6:32:56( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: as a member of the judiciary committee, and i have seen the information. i've seen the opinions of counsel. i've seen the information that the telecommunications companies operated under. i've had a chance

Jeff Sessions

6:32:56 to 6:33:11( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: to review that information. it makes it a lot easier for me now to evaluate what we should do. madam president, i tell you, i want to get this bill done. i think it's important that our intelligence

6:33:11 to 6:33:22( Edit History Discussion )

community has the legal authority to be able to intercept communications that are foreign to foreign. and that was the basic reason why they asked for us to modify the fisa law, because technology changed,

6:33:22 to 6:33:31( Edit History Discussion )

and we had a lot of foreign-to-foreign communications, but it was through facilities that were located within the jurisdiction of the united states. and, therefore, the fisa laws apply. the administration

6:33:31 to 6:33:42( Edit History Discussion )

thought originally they didn't apply. but then the courts said, hey, wait a minute, read the statute. it does apply. you've got to come to congress and get it done right. and that's why they came

6:33:42 to 6:33:54( Edit History Discussion )

to us. they wouldn't have come to us if the courts didn't demand that they come to us. now it's our responsibility to get the statute right. and i want to thank senator rockefeller and senator bond

Jeff Sessions

6:33:54 to 6:34:04( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: for the work that they did in the intelligence committee. i serve on the judiciary committee. i can tell you senator leahy, senator specter and every member of our committee has taken our responsibility

Jeff Sessions

6:34:04 to 6:34:18( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: very seriously to try to understand the circumstances. but i could tell you, it's important that we modify the bills that come out of the intelligence committee. and i really call your attention

Jeff Sessions

6:34:18 to 6:34:29( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: to the work of the judiciary committee, because we wanted to make sure that the bill that we recommended gives the intelligence community the tools they need, particularly as it relates to foreign-to-foreign

Jeff Sessions

6:34:29 to 6:34:41( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: communications but also protects the constitutional rights of the citizens of our ownountry. and it will be defensible before our courts. that was our responsibility. and i think we got it right.

Jeff Sessions

6:34:41 to 6:34:50( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: so you're going to see some differences between these two bills, besides the big difference which is the immunity. i'm going to get to the retroactive immunity in a moment. but there are other differences

Jeff Sessions

6:34:50 to 6:35:01( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: differences that are very important exclusivity, to make it clear that this statute controls. that the administration can't just say, well, we have additional authority and we're going to do it our

Jeff Sessions

6:35:01 to 6:35:14( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: way regardless of what the congress. that's an important provision that's in the senate bill. we need to make sure that is in the final bill that's sent to the president. there's other provisions that

Jeff Sessions

6:35:14 to 6:35:26( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: are important that are in the senate bill but not in the house bill. changes in the minimization rules, changes on how we -- when we targeted an american overse, that in fact we do get appropriate

Jeff Sessions

6:35:26 to 6:35:39( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: court authorization to do it. i thank senator white house for his contributions in that regard. these might be technical changes, but they're important to make sure they get into the bill that is

Benjamin L. Cardin

6:35:39 to 6:35:50( Edit History Discussion )

Benjamin L. Cardin: finally passed and sent to the president. but let me talk for a moment if i might about the retroactive community because there has been a lot of conversation here about retroactive immunity.

Benjamin L. Cardin

6:35:39 to 6:45:00( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Benjamin L. Cardin

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