Attorney General Michael Mukasey on Wednesday weighed in on the ongoing Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act debate in Congress with an opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times.
The Protect America Act, a temporary six-month FISA amendment hastily passed by Congress in August, expires Feb. 1, Mukasey writes, and time is running out to get a permanent fix.
While the Senate has yet to take up competing bills that were passed in that chamber's Judiciary and Intelligence committees, Mukasey leaves no doubt which version he prefers.
"The bill that came out of the Senate Intelligence Commitee was carefully crafted and is a good starting point for legislation," Mukasey wrote. "Neither the House bill nor the Senate Judiciary Commitee's version addresses protection for [telephone] companies that face massive liability."
In line with White House and federal agencies' requests, the Senate Intelligence Committee's version provides retroactive immunity to communications companies suspected of cooperating in the warrantless National Security Agency surveillance program.
Mukasey criticizes the House and Senate Judiciary Committee bills because they do not include that provision and also restrict the government's ability to surveil U.S.-based individuals abroad.
Mukasey's piece follows another one by Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell published Monday in The New York Times.