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Update on FISA warrantless wiretapping Bill ( HR 6304 ) URGENT! ACT NOW! Watch the video from Mark Klein's testimony about this warrantless wiretapping.

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  • John Perna
    Update on FISA warrantless wiretapping Bill ( HR 6304 ) URGENT! ACT NOW! Watch the video from Mark Klein s testimony about this warrantless wiretapping.
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 9, 2008
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      Update on FISA warrantless wiretapping Bill ( HR 6304 ) URGENT! ACT NOW! Watch the video from Mark Klein's testimony about this warrantless wiretapping.
      Call your Senators through the switchboard at 202-224-3121
      Mark Klein's testimony about this warrantless wiretapping: 
      Why is the government unwilling to let these facts be aired in open court?
       
      Ben Siegrist, who works for Senator DeMint, told me that Mark Klein's testimony  is of no concern. See if you think that this is just a "disgruntled employee".

      The Senate could cast its final vote on warrantless wiretapping as soon as today. We need to flood Congress with letters and calls demanding a no vote on the FISA bill. There are relevant amendments to the FISA warrantless wiretapping Bill. Ask your Senator to stand for liberty and the law, and vote in favor of the Dodd-Feingold-Leahy Amendment. Dodd-Feingold-Leahy Amendment stops retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.

      Call your Senators through the switchboard at 202-224-3121 or dial direct
      http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
      or let BlueAmerica connect you for free:
      http://tools.advomatic.com/7/fisa
       
       
      Speeches And Statements

      Statement on HR 6304, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments

      20 June 2008

      Rep. Ron Paul, M.D.

      Madam Speaker, I regret that due to the unexpected last-minute appearance of this measure on the legislative calendar this week, a prior commitment has prevented me from voting on the FISA amendments. I have strongly opposed every previous FISA overhaul attempt and I certainly would have voted against this one as well.

      The main reason I oppose this latest version is that it still clearly violates the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution by allowing the federal government to engage in the bulk collection of American citizens’ communications without a search warrant. That US citizens can have their private communication intercepted by the government without a search warrant is anti-American, deeply disturbing, and completely unacceptable.

      In addition to gutting the fourth amendment, this measure will deprive Americans who have had their rights violated by telecommunication companies involved in the Administration’s illegal wiretapping program the right to seek redress in the courts for the wrongs committed against them. Worse, this measure provides for retroactive immunity, whereby individuals or organizations that broke the law as it existed are granted immunity for prior illegal actions once the law has been changed. Ex post facto laws have long been considered anathema in free societies under rule of law. Our Founding Fathers recognized this, including in Article I section 9 of the Constitution that “No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.” How is this FISA bill not a variation of ex post facto? That alone should give pause to supporters of this measure.

      Mr. Speaker, we should understand that decimating the protections that our Constitution provides us against the government is far more dangerous to the future of this country than whatever external threats may exist. We can protect this country without violating the Constitution and I urge my colleagues to reconsider their support for this measure.

       
       

       
      Senate Schedules FISA Debate for Next WeekPDFPrintE-mail
      Written by JBS Staff   
      Thursday, 03 July 2008 11:09

      The Senate is presently on its Independence Day recess but will take up debate on an overhaul of electronic surveillance rules next week. The bill under consideration would rewrite the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

      Senator Harry Reid

      Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

      Majority Leader Harry Reid said that the Senate would take up the House-passed bill (H.R. 6304) on July 8. He and other leaders agreed to a plan for consideration of the bill that is expected to lead to the Senate passing the legislation for President Bush’s signature.

      Reid had hoped to finish the bill last week, but the Senate agenda was crowded and some Democrats who oppose the legislation refused to go along with efforts to speed its consideration.

      Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin cited the opposition of Russ Feingold as the major factor in the delay. Feingold argues the bill would jeopardize the privacy of U.S. citizens and shield the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance program from any investigation.

      The bill would rewrite FISA to allow warrantless surveillance of foreign targets who may be communicating with people in the United States, although with some court supervision of surveillance procedures. It is the result of a bipartisan deal by House and Senate leaders reached this month; the House passed it on June 20 by a vote of 239-129.

      The issue drawing the most opposition is a provision that effectively would grant retroactive legal immunity to telecommunications companies being sued for assisting the warrantless surveillance program. The Senate will vote next week on an amendment that would strip the bill of its immunity provision. The amendment would need only a majority vote for adoption, although a vote on a similar amendment during consideration in February of another FISA bill (S. 2248) received only 31 votes. On top of that, the bipartisan deal has gained the support of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

      It is ironic that, at a time when we are celebrating our precious freedoms and rights, our representatives in Washington want to eviscerate our treasured right to privacy in our own homes and let lawbreaking telecommunications companies off the hook for handing over private information without a warrant.

      Contact your senators and tell them what the 4th of July means to you and ask them to defend your freedom by opposing the unconstitutional FISA bill.
       
      Mark Klein's testimony
      Why is the government unwilling to let these facts be aired in open court?
       
       

      AT&T Whistleblower: Spy Bill Creates 'Infrastructure for a Police State'

      By Ryan Singel EmailJune 27, 2008 | 1:14:59 PMCategories: NSA  

      Klein_002

      Mark Klein, the retired AT&T engineer who stepped forward with the technical documents at the heart of the anti-wiretapping case against AT&T, is furious at the Senate's vote on Wednesday night to hold a vote on a bill intended to put an end to that lawsuit and more than 30 others.

      [Wednesday]'s vote by Congress effectively gives retroactive immunity to the telecom companies and  endorses an all-powerful president. It’s a Congressional coup against the Constitution.

      The Democratic leadership is touting the deal as a "compromise," but in fact they have endorsed the infamous Nuremberg defense: "Just following orders." The judge can only check their paperwork. This cynical deal is a Democratic exercise in deceit and cowardice.

      Klein saw a network monitoring room being built in AT&T's internet switching center that only NSA-approved techs had access to. He squirreled away documents and then presented them to the press and the Electronic Frontier Foundation after news of the government's warrantless wiretapping program broke.

      Wired.com independently acquired a copy of the documents (.pdf) -- which were under court seal -- and published the wiring documents in May 2006 so that they could be evaluated.

      The lawsuit that resulted from his documents is now waiting on the 9th U.S. Appeals Court to rule on whether it can proceed despite the government saying the whole matter is a state secret. A lower court judge ruled that it could, because the government admitted the program existed and that the courts could handle evidence safely and in secret.

      But the appeals court ruling will likely never see the light of day, since the Senate is set to vote on July 8 on the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which also largely legalizes Bush's warrantless wiretapping program by expanding how the government can wiretap from inside the United States without getting individualized court orders.

      Klein continues:

      Congress has made the FISA law a dead letter--such a law is useless if the president can break it with impunity. Thus the Democrats have surreptitiously repudiated the main reform of the post-Watergate era and adopted Nixon’s line: "When the president does it that means that it is not illegal." This is the judicial logic of a dictatorship.

      The surveillance system now approved by Congress provides the physical apparatus for the government to collect and store a huge database on virtually the entire population, available for data mining whenever the government wants to target its political opponents at any given moment—all in the hands of an unrestrained executive power. It is the infrastructure for a police state.

      Neither the House nor the Senate has had Klein testify, nor have telecom executives testified in open session about their participation.

      The bill forces the district court judge handling the consolidated cases against telecoms to dismiss the suits if the Attorney General certifies that a government official sent a written request to a phone or internet provider, saying that the President approved the program and his lawyers deemed it legal. Judge Vaughn Walker of the California Northern District can ask to see the paperwork, but would not be given leeway to decide if the program was legal.

      Photo: Mark Klein in the offices of his lawyers in San Francisco. Credit: Ryan Singel/Wired.com

      See Also:

       

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