Rush Holt on Joe Klein

27 November 2007

Congressman (and physicist) Rush Holt (D-NJ) weighs in on Joe Klein's factually challenged Time article:

I was pleased to see Time Magazine columnist Joe Klein acknowledge that he "may have made a mistake" in his column attacking the House Majority ("The Tone Deaf Democrats") and misrepresenting the RESTORE Act. Unfortunately, Mr. Klein still professes confusion toward the bill's contents and continues to question whether the House should have passed it in the first place.

As one of the bill's authors, I want to set the record straight about what's in the RESTORE Act, why it's needed to safeguard Americans from unwarranted surveillance, and ultimately, why it will lead to better intelligence gathering.

In his original column, Mr. Klein incorrectly wrote, "Unfortunately, Speaker Nancy Pelosi quashed the House Intelligence Committee's bipartisan effort and supported a Democratic bill that - Limbaugh is salivating - would require the surveillance of every foreign-terrorist target's calls to be approved by the FISA court, an institution founded to protect the rights of U.S. citizens only." It contains no such provision.

(Also, as someone closely involved in trying to produce a good bill, I cannot figure out what bipartisan House Intelligence Committee effort Speaker Pelosi "quashed" that Mr. Klein could possibly be talking about. Several Republicans proposed something close to last August's Protect America Act, but that never got anywhere.)
I'd certainly like to see more of this. When a careless journalist (who says he has "neither the time nor legal background to figure out who's right") misrepresents a Congressional bill and then calls its proponents "well beyond stupid" based on his ignorant misrepresentation, you've got to call him out on it. Loudly.

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