Monday, July 07, 2008

Me and Claire

Text of the letter I sent to Claire McCaskill:

Dear Senator McCaskill,

In March you wrote to me about the Senate FISA legislation you supported. I appreciated your reply.

This week, new "compromise" legislation will come before the Senate. I urge you to join with Sen. Feingold and Sen. Dodd in their attempt to block this flawed legislation. Defeating this legislation will not leave our nation defenseless! It means we will be working under the FISA legislation that has been modernized almost a half a dozen times since it was enacted. Intelligence gathering will not suffer.

What will suffer if this legislation is passed will be our civil liberties guaranteed by the Fourth Amendendment to the constitution. In your March letter you wrote, "I just don’t think we should punish [the telecom companies] for their good-faith reliance on government assurances that they were assisting in a legal effort to combat terrorism." Senator, when did we come to the point in our national discourse where we believe that the U.S. President has the power to "order" private citizens to do anything, let alone to break the law! Do you view the President as a monarch -- someone who can issue "orders" that must be obeyed, even when the "orders" are illegal? I hope not, because that just isn't how our country works and it never was.

Besides the defacto telecom immunity this legislation provides for, there is another reason the legislation needs to be defeated: It allows the Government, for the first time, to tap physically into U.S. telecommunications networks inside our country with no individual warrant requirement. Claims that this new bill creates "an independent monitor to prevent abuses and to protect the civil liberties of the American people" are truly misleading, since the new FISA bill actually does the opposite -- it frees the Government from exactly that monitoring in all sorts of broad categories.

Please Senator, do everything you can to block this legislation.

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