Harman On Need To Amend FISA: ‘Congress Is On Trial Here,’ We Have To Correct Our Mistake

This morning, ThinkProgress interviewed Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), the chairwoman of the subcommittee on intelligence within the Homeland Security committee, regarding the Bush administration’s aggressive push for permanent expansive spying powers.

Harman, who has been critical of Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, said he is “devaluing [his] office by being so close to the White House and by carrying messages that in fact — like the German message — don’t comport with the facts.”

Harman said she is working hard to implement changes to the recently-passed FISA legislation, which she said provided a “blank check for the White House…without any effective review.” Harman said her goal is to “instill changes in the FISA law that would ensure a “legal framework applies and nothing can be done outside the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act which provides for checks and balances.”

“I think [Congress] made a mistake,” Harman said of Congress’s passage of FISA changes shortly before the August recess. Highlighting the need to rein in the recent unchecked expansion of power, Harman issued a challenge to her colleagues in Congress:

Congress must act. Congress is on trial here. I think we did the wrong thing in August. We have to correct it this fall.

Watch it:


Harman urged the need to restore “the 4th Amendment to the Constitution, which prevents searches and seizures of Americans without probable cause.”

UPDATE: Glenn Greenwald warns there may be more capitulations by Congress on the horizon.