senate bows to bush, approves surveillance bill
from ap: Bowing to President Bush's demands, the Senate approved and sent the White House a bill Wednesday to overhaul bitterly disputed rules on secret government eavesdropping and shield telecommunications companies from lawsuits complaining they helped the U.S. spy on Americans.
congress votes to immunize lawbreaking telecoms, legalize warrantless eavesdropping
from salon: The Democratic-led Congress this afternoon voted to put an end to the NSA spying scandal, as the Senate approved a bill — approved last week by the House — to immunize lawbreaking telecoms, terminate all pending lawsuits against them, and vest whole new warrantless eavesdropping powers in the President. The vote in favor of the new FISA bill was 69-28. Barack Obama joined every Senate Republican (and every House Republican other than one) by voting in favor of it, while his now-vanquished primary rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton, voted against it. John McCain wasn’t present for any of the votes, but shared Obama’s support for the bill. The bill will now be sent to an extremely happy George Bush, who already announced that he enthusiastically supports it, and he will sign it into law very shortly.
update: bush signs fisa bill, aclu sues
from threat level: The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit Thursday over a controversial wiretapping law, challenging the constitutionality of the expanded spy powers Congress granted to the president on Wednesday. The federal lawsuit was filed with the court just hours after Bush signed the bill into law. The ACLU is suing on behalf of journalist and human rights groups, asking the court put a halt to Congress's legalization of Bush's formerly secret warrantless wiretapping program. The ACLU contends (.pdf) the expanded spying power violates the Constitution's prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures.