July 8, 2008
Last Call: Tell Your Senators, No New Wiretapping Powers!
The Senate is expected to vote tomorrow (Wednesday) on the FISA Amendments Act that the House passed in June.
Today and early tomorrow are the last opportunities to call on your senators to reject this bill, which would do the following:
- Give the president the authority to spy on individuals without a court warrant.
- Provide immunity to the phone companies that broke the law.
Amendments: Before the Senate votes on the actual bill, it will consider three amendments:
- Dodd-Feingold-Leahy amendment would strip immunity from the bill.
- Bingaman-Specter-Casey amendment would delay immunizing the telecoms until 90 days after the release of the Inspector General's audit report on the program. This compromise would ensure that Congress knows what it is immunizing.
- Specter amendment would require district courts to determine the legality of the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program prior to granting immunity to the telecoms.
The message: Urge your senators to support the amendments BUT reject the underlying bill, because none of the amendments alter the fact that the bill would legalize surveillance without court-approved warrants based on the suspicion of wrongdoing, which the Fourth Amendment requires.
Breaking news! Remind your senators that the Bush administration's letter to the Senate yesterday threatening a Bush veto if the Bingaman amendment is passed appears to be motivated by the desire to cover up illegal actions rather than to protect the security of our country. If the administration believed its wiretapping program was justified, it would not reject an amendment aimed at preserving Congress's authority to determine whether the warrantless wiretapping program violated Americans' Fourth Amendment rights to privacy before it immunizes the telecoms.
To make your calls:
- Look up your senators' direct phone numbers at www.senate.gov or
- Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask the operator to connect you to both of your senators' offices.
Thank you for all you do.