The typically misnomered U.S.Protect America Act and telecom immunity and warrantless eavesdropping are some of the issues here.
Senator Chris Dodd has said the following:
For several months now, I've listened to the building frustration over this immunity and this administration's campaign of lawlessness. I've seen it in person, in mail, online — the passion and eloquence of citizens who are just fed up. They've inspired me more than they know.
There is never any shortage of super-sophisticated cynics to come along and say how none of this matters, how it's so pitifully naive to think that any difference can ever be made, how the System is so Corrupted and the Deck So Stacked Against Us that everything is doomed and defeat is the inevitable option. And there is an element of truth to the premises of that defeatist mindset. The principal reason blogs exist, after all, is precisely because all other institutions intended to provide some adversarial check on what our government does — the establishment media, the "opposition party," the Congress — typically do the opposite: they serve as enablers of it rather than checks on it. That's all true enough.
But what incidents such as this one conclusively demonstrate is that it is always possible, if enough citizen intensity is mustered and the right strategy is formulated, for citizens to disrupt and defeat the best-laid plans of our corrupt political establishment. There's a comfort and temptation in denying that truth. Those who insist that defeat is inevitable and All is Lost are relieved of the burdensome task of trying. But defeat occurs because the right strategy isn't found, not because it is inevitable. (by Glenn Greenwald. Salon. Saturday January 26, 2008.)
The real truth is that the house is doomed to fall. It is inherently divided. Nothing can join the irreconcilable. There are two diametrically opposed visions within the house. The house is not united. It can never be united. The only thing that can happen is that everyone of the selfish vision be separated away where he or she cannot any longer harm everyone else of the unselfish vision. The idea of fighting within the doomed system is what is wrong. We aren't saying though "everything is doomed and defeat is the inevitable" for the unselfish, quite the contrary. The selfish are doomed and their defeat is inevitable. This is true, because the inevitable outcome of continued enlightenment and revelation (being one and the same) is unselfishness. Unselfishness is going to become the guiding principle of all future humanity in spite of the throwbacks who fight against this inevitability. Don't go down on their ship.
You might want to read, "PAA & FISA — civil liberties boiling in alphabet soup," by Carol Gee. The Reaction. October 17, 2007.
The New York Times wrote the following:
The Senate (reportedly still under Democratic control) seems determined to help President Bush violate Americans' civil liberties and undermine the constitutional separation of powers. Majority Leader Harry Reid is supporting White House-backed legislation that would expand the administration's ability to spy on Americans without court supervision and ensure that the country never learns the full extent of Mr. Bush's illegal wiretapping program.
The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA — which Mr. Bush decided to ignore after 9/11 — requires a warrant to intercept telephone calls and e-mail messages between people in the United States and people abroad.
...Mr. Bush wants to weaken FISA as much as he can. And the Senate leadership has been only too happy to oblige.
[The] aim is to make sure the full story of the illegal wiretapping never comes out in court.
...Mr. Bush has always had the authority to order emergency wiretaps — and get court approval after the fact. That has never been the problem with FISA.
...Mr. Bush's version of this law does not make intelligence-gathering more robust. Opponents like Senators Christopher Dodd and Patrick Leahy want to spy on Al Qaeda, too. They're just not willing to do it in a way that undermines the very democracy that the spies, Congress and the president are supposed to be protecting. (Editorial: "The FISA Follies, Redux." Saturday, January 26, 2008.)