The Senate just passed the FISA Amendments Act Reauthorization Act of 2012 with 23 (mostly Democratic) senators opposed. Before passage of the overall bill, the Senate held votes on three amendments. An amendment offered by Ron Wyden of Oregon would have required a report on the impact on people’s privacy of the FISA amendments of 2008. An amendment offered by Rand Paul of Kentucky purported to provide “adequate protection” of our Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure. An amendment offered by Jeff Merkley of Oregon would have required the Attorney General to “disclose each decision, order, or opinion of a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that includes significant legal interpretation of section 501 or 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 unless such disclosure is not in the national security interest of the United States.” All three amendments were rejected.

I encourage you to examine the roll calls of all four votes (provided in the links above). You will notice a strong correlation between Democrats sitting on the Select Committee on Intelligence and Democrats who opposed some or all of the three amendments. It is, of course, not unusual for members of a committee that has crafted a bill to oppose amendments to that bill, but you should take note of the degree of capture these Democrats are demonstrating.

You should ask your senators about why they voted they way they did. I, for one, would like to know why Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania voted against the Merkley Amendment.

One final note: I was unable to retrieve the language of these amendments off the Senate clerk’s server, so I do not know the specifics of Rand Paul’s amendment. However, I did notice that he only received 12 votes, nine of which were cast by Democrats. That speaks to Sen. Paul’s lack of allies and his failure to be an effective senator.

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