Sadly, the Senate on Tuesday approved new rules for government eavesdropping on phone calls and e-mails, giving the White House much of the latitude it wanted and granting legal immunity to telecommunications companies that helped in the snooping after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The immunity measure still faces opposition in the House though. Dems prevailed, 222-196, in beating back the Republicans effort to substitute the Senate version of the FISA bill for the a 21 day extension of the Protect America Act, which itself failed, 191-229. We will have to see how the reconciliation between the two chambers plays out.
Today the Senate voted to prohibit the CIA from using waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods on terror suspects, as part of the intelligence authorization bill. Specifically, it would restrict the CIA to the 19 interrogation techniques outlined in the Army field manual. The House had approved the measure in December. However, President Bush has promised to veto any bill that restricts the methods the CIA can use.
UPDATE: House Democrats finally vote to hold Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten in contempt. Crybaby Republicans walk out. The White House said the Justice Department would not ask the U.S. attorney to pursue the House contempt charges. However, the measure would allow the House to bring its own lawsuit on the matter. It is the first time in 25 years that a full chamber of Congress has voted on a contempt of Congress citation, so we'll see what happens.