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HUMAN EVENTS White House Correspondent John Gizzi reports from The White House on FISA legislation and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's dialogue with Turkey

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Bush on FISA and Turkey

HUMAN EVENTS White House Correspondent John Gizzi reports from The White House on FISA legislation and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s dialogue with Turkey

Bush Draws Line in Sand on FISA

As congressional rhetoric over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) grew more incendiary, the White House this morning drew a line in the sand over what it wants in terms of the national security legislation.  The legislation that was passed in August of this year doesn’t expire until February, but Democrats appear eager to take action now.

When I asked Acting Press Secretary Tony Fratto at The White House this morning whether the President was contacting "Blue Dog" Democrats to support President Bush’s version of FISA, he replied that "there were a number of Democrats voting with the President on FISA, in favor of the Protect America Act."

Although Fratto would not specify which lawmakers the President was lobbying, he did say that Mr. Bush "was in communication with a lot of Members of Congress" and would continue this "over the next few weeks, with the House and Senate."

Then Fratto drew the proverbial line in the sand.

"It is clear the President is not going to accept legislation that reopens the intelligence gap," Fratto told me, underscoring the White House insistence on its version of FISA and not that of the Democrats on Capitol Hill.  He also insisted that the final FISA measure must have language with "retroactive [immunity from civil] liability on private firms that assisted the government"  in surveillance — leading to some grumbling from Helen Thomas in the front row of the briefing room.  (The "grande dame" of the White House press corps almost without fail raises the issue of retroactive liability on a daily basis).

As for the present version of FISA now being debated on the House floor, Fratto said, "We do not look favorably on it."  He promised a statement of the administration

Rice Is Working On Turkey, Insists White House

With all the press attention given Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s pronouncements on a Palestinian homeland these past two days, some have wondered:  Why is she spending so much time on this issue when every day brings a blistering broadside from Turkey in a reaction to the House Foreign Affairs Committee vote in favor of the Armenian genocide resolution?

Six days after that vote, five days after HUMAN EVENTS spoke to the Turkish ambassador as he was being recalled to Ankara in protest, that’s what I wondered today.  At the early morning press briefing  at the White House, I asked Deputy Press Secretary Tony Fratto: Why is Rice so focused on the Palestinian issue when Turkey is on the front-burner?

"I know that Secretary Rice has been in touch with her counterpart in Turkey," said Fratto, who filled in for Press Secretary Dana Perino this morning.  Fratto added that Rice has also sent Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Dan Fried and Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman, a past ambassador to Turkey, to Ankara to meet with government officials over the weekend.

"So there is a great deal of communication with the Turks," Fratto insisted to me. 

Written By

John Gizzi has come to be known as â??the man who knows everyone in Washingtonâ? and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on whatâ??s going on in the nationâ??s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as â??Gizzi on Politicsâ? and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of â??Gizziâ??s America,â? video interviews that appear on HumanEvents.com. Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. Johnâ??s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com

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