Leave Us Alone!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

More FISA Links

In this video clip, Sen. Russ Feingold concisely makes the argument against warrantless international wiretaps:

(link via Open Left)

Julian Sanchez makes an important point:

Recall here that since we're breaking down the old "wall," information gathered as part of a foreign intel sweep—without a warrant or meaningful oversight if the intel bill passes—can be passed on to domestic law enforcement for use in plain vanilla criminal prosecutions.
(entire post here)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

FISA Links

Tim Tagaris of Open Left reports that a cloture vote is scheduled for tomorrow at 4:30 pm:

There will be a cloture vote at 4:30 on Monday. There are two potential outcomes here.

a.) Republicans get 60 votes. In which case, there will only be one amendment pending to the final bill, and that is Feingold/Dodd on blanket warrants, I believe. That will get tabled quite easily (much like Judiciary was today), and then the Intelligence Bill as we know it will get a a vote for final passage.

b.) We stop Republicans from getting 60 votes, and we're right back where we left off today -- with no agreement on whether or not there is a 50 or 60 vote threshold to pass amendments.

Why is this a big deal?

Well, because there are a number of amendments out there that would serve as "poison pills," forcing a presidential veto. One or two of those might even get 50 votes (Feinstein's call to make FISA the exclusive means of electronic surveillance).

Julian Sanchez has more at Ars Technica:
While cloture would pass if it garnered the support of all those who voted to kill the alternative FISA reform bill, produced by the Judiciary Committee, at least some Democrats who crossed the aisle for that vote seem unwilling to close off debate just yet. If cloture is defeated, an extension of the Protect America Act seems likely. Meanwhile, any legislation passed by the Senate must still be reconciled with the RESTORE Act approved in the House last year, which contains provisions establishing tighter restrictions and more oversight on surveillance, and lacks the immunity grant for telecoms.

At Salon.com, Glenn Greenwald notes that victory seems possible:
Even just a two-week or one-month extension will allow more time to marshall the opposition to telecom immunity and a new FISA bill and to do what's possible to encourage the House to stand firm behind their bill -- in exactly the way that the Dodd Delay in December prevented quick and easy resolution. The longer this drags on without resolution, the more possible it is to push the opposition to a tipping point, and sometimes unexpected developments or even some luck (such as McConnell's overplaying his hand on Thursday) can prevent it all from happening.

Please keep the pressure on your senators to do the right thing and kill any bill that provides for telecom immunity or wiretaps without warrants based on individualizes suspicion. Once again, here's a link to the ACLU's action alert.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

FISA Update 1/24

The U.S. Senate voted today to table the Judiciary Committee's version of the bill to amend FISA, thus defeating an attempt to strip the telecom immunity provision from the bill. In looking at the roll call, I noticed a couple of prominent names. Senators Clinton and Obama couldn't be bothered to do their jobs. They were too busy pandering to South Carolinians. If these two won't show up to vote on the most important issue to face the 110th Congress, then I'm wondering why I should show up to vote for either of them.

Please keep the phone calls coming to your senators. The ACLU makes it easy to find your senators' phone numbers, and provides talking points.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

FISA Update

Once again, the Senate is taking up legislation to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and, once again, so-called Democratic Leader Harry Reid is doing all he can to help the other side. Glenn Greenwald has the details.

I don't understand why the so-called Democrats in Congress are so eager to do Bush's bidding on this legislation. According to a poll conducted for the ACLU by the Mellman Group, solid majorities oppose warrantless wiretapping of Americans' international telephone calls and oppose immunity for the telecom companies that helped Bush break the law, yet Reid and company are standing firmly against the will of the people and against the rule of law.

Senator Chris Dodd (D-Ct.) has pledged to filibuster Reid's legislation to gut FISA, and Tim Tagaris, formerly of the Dodd campaign writes " I wouldn't bet on Dodd backing down if a bill contains retroactive immunity."

Senator Dodd's actions on this bill have been admirable, but he needs other senators to back his filibuster. Please call or e-mail your U.S. senators, and tell them to vote against cloture on any bill that allows warrantless wiretaps without individualized suspicion, or that provides for retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies, or both. The ACLU makes it easy to contact your senators.

Additionally, Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama need to do their jobs and vote against cloture on the FISA bill. Back in December, Senators Clinton and Obama signed onto a letter supporting Senator Dodd's efforts, but couldn't be bothered to show up for work to vote against cloture because they were too busy shaking hands with Iowans. Please contact Senators Clinton and Obama, and tell them that if they want your presidential vote, they'll be there in the Senate to stop this legislation. Senator Clinton can be contacted here. Senator Obama can be contacted here.