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Thursday, June 19, 2008

FISA Fight: Leahy, Feingold Say "No"

Democrats on both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees should take note of Chairman Leahy's opposition (via e-mail):

"After months of negotiations, the legislation unveiled today to replace the so-called Protect America Act, which Republicans refused to extend, is not a bill I can support.  I have said since the beginning of this debate that I would oppose a bill that did not provide accountability for this administration’s six years of illegal, warrantless wiretapping.  This bill would dismiss ongoing cases against the telecommunications carriers that participated in that program without allowing a judicial review of the legality of the program.  Therefore, it lacks accountability measures that I believe are crucial.  My interest is not in harming telecommunications carriers.  I would have supported indemnification by the government or substitution of the government for them in these lawsuits.  But for me, there must be accountability...." [emphasis mine]

Sen. Feingold:

"The proposed FISA deal is not a compromise; it is a capitulation. The House and Senate should not be taking up this bill, which effectively guarantees immunity for telecom companies alleged to have participated in the President’s illegal program, and which fails to protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans at home. Allowing courts to review the question of immunity is meaningless when the same legislation essentially requires the court to grant immunity. And under this bill, the government can still sweep up and keep the international communications of innocent Americans in the U.S. with no connection to suspected terrorists, with very few safeguards to protect against abuse of this power. Instead of cutting bad deals on both FISA and funding for the war in Iraq, Democrats should be standing up to the flawed and dangerous policies of this administration." [emphasis mine]

The Judiciary Chairs were essentially shut out of the recent round of negotiations, if press reports are to be believed. That should be enough to make the Democratic majority members of those committees vote against this bad bill. It likely won't. But you can add them (links above show committee members with links to their pages) to the other calls.

Call Barack Obama and urge him to make a public statement reiterating his opposition to telco amnesty. His opposition could kill this deal: Phone  (202) 224-2854, Fax (202) 228-4260

Call Steny Hoyer and tell him this is a bad deal: Phone (202) 225-4131, Fax (202) 225-4300

Call Nancy Pelosi and urge her to pull the bill from the House schedule:  Phone (202) 225-4965, Fax (202) 225-8259

Call your representative and tell them to vote no on the FISA rewrite tomorrow.

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