ACLU Condemns FISA Legislation

And with good reason. In the manic push to get legislation to Bush before the summer break, Congress is going all out to compromise. Yesterday, the House reached a settlement on the war spending/new GI bill. Today, the Dems, unfortunately, caved on civil liberties to back the Bush-favored FISA renewal.

According to the ACLU, “this bill allows for mass and untargeted surveillance of Americans’ communications. The court review is mere window-dressing – all the court would look at is the procedures for the year-long dragnet and not at the who, what and why of the spying. Even this superficial court review has a gaping loophole – ‘exigent’ circumstances can short cut this perfunctory oversight… In the end, there is no one to answer to; a court review without power is no court review at all.”

The bill also provides cover to the telecoms who aided spying without a warrant by forwarding decisions about retroactive immunity (again, why is this necessary unless the law was broken?) for the telecoms to U.S. district courts, where the Attorney General simply needs to certify that the spying was authorized by the president and took place in the period between September 11, 2001 and January 17, 2007 for the case to be dismissed.

I hate to keep telling people to contact Congress, but now is the time to make your voice heard. They are acting, and quickly, and they need to know what they are doing with this bill is wrong.

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