On The Eavesdropping Bill

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I wrote an item in the new print issue of Time about the “FISA modernization” bill that passed and how it’s likely to remain law through the end of this president’s term and beyond, despite the sunset provision. Even if President Bush’s successor is a Democrat, he or she will likely face enormous political pressure — from Republicans and nervous Democrats — not to narrow the law. Which is why passing it last weekend was such a major defeat. Glenn Greenwald makes a persuasive case that Democrats need not have been afraid of the political cost of opposing the law. (Scroll down to his Monday post). But they were afraid. Unfortunately, it’s easy to imagine them not wanting to revisit the issue in the future for the same reason.