In their rush to get home for their Fourth of July vacations, the members of the Senate left some important work on their desks — the FISA Amendments Act of 2008. The bill is a rare bit of common sense in this election-year cycle and should be passed first thing upon the Senate’s return.
After much political rancor, House Republicans and Democrats came together last month and passed a compromise bill that will bring the country’s surveillance laws into the 21st century, yet still protect individual civil liberties. The Senate is dragging its feet because the compromise bill’s opponents — mostly Democrats — want also to punish the telecommunications companies that answered President Bush’s order for help with his illegal, warrantless wiretapping program. That is the wrong target.