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Hill’s Bipartisan Deadlock on Phone Records May Be Easing
Posted at 5:55 p.m. on March 25
Much more enthusiastic was Calfornia’s Dianne Feinstein, the Democratic chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who said she generally supports the House proposal and views Obama’s plan “a worthy effort.” Her committee’s top Republican, the retiring Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, was a bit more equivocal but gave a strong indication he was eager to cut a deal based on the ideas from the House and the White House.
There are plenty of important points over which to haggle: about the ways the metadata is to be retained, the format for FBI to view the information, the liability for the telecommunications companies, the specificity of the search requests and the reach and secrecy of the judicial oversight.
And the American Civil Liberties Union said it had already found enough differences between the two measures unveiled Tuesday to give its “crucial first step” blessing to the Obama plan while rejecting the Rogers-Ruppersberger bill. The ACLU said that proposal would end up expanding the FBI’s investigative reach instead of limiting it.
But in a year when all sides say they are still ready to share the credit for at least one more top-tier legislative accomplishment, the knot over surveillance may be starting to unravel.