Blunt on FISA: ‘We’re Not There Yet’

Posted June 17, 2008 at 3:51pm

House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said negotiations on stalled electronic spying legislation are “not there yet” but that a bipartisan deal may be possible before the July Fourth recess.

Blunt said lawmakers still lack agreement on three key aspects of the bill, which seeks to reauthorize and extend the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Unresolved provisions relate to prior court approval for obtaining warrants, exclusivity of the secret FISA court in overseeing surveillance matters and retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies that aided the Bush administration in warrantless wiretapping.

Blunt dismissed the suggestion that lawmakers have a deal on one of those points: whether cases involving the use of electronic surveillance should be limited to the FISA court or go before federal district courts.

“Nothing is done until its all done,” said the GOP Whip. There is the “potential to have an agreement in the next two weeks, but we’re not there yet.”