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FISA fail.

Many of us hope that, come January, Barack Obama will put his hand on a holy book and say these words:

I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Perhaps he should begin now by showing us that he WILL preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States by taking a stand against this flawed and corrupt FISA bill.


A handfull of reasons why Obama should support a filibuster of this bill -- courtesy of the ACLU:

• H.R. 6304 permits the government to conduct mass, untargeted surveillance of all communications coming into and out of the United States, without any individualized review, and without any finding of wrongdoing.

• H.R. 6304 permits only minimal court oversight. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court) only reviews general procedures for targeting and minimizing the use of information that is collected. The court may not know who, what or where will actually be tapped.

• H.R. 6304 contains a general ban on reverse targeting. However, it lacks stronger language that was contained in prior House bills that included clear statutory directives about when the government should return to the FISA court and obtain an individualized order if it wants to continue listening to a US person’s communications.

• H.R.6304 contains an “exigent” circumstance loophole that thwarts the prior judicial review requirement. The bill permits the government to start a spying program and wait to go to court for up to 7 days every time “intelligence important to the national security of the US may be lost or not timely acquired.” By definition, court applications take time and will delay the collection of information. It is highly unlikely there is a situation where this exception doesn’t swallow the rule.

• H.R. 6304 further trivializes court review by explicitly permitting the government to continue surveillance programs even if the application is denied by the court. The government has the authority to wiretap through the entire appeals process, and then keep and use whatever it gathered in the meantime.

• H.R. 6304 ensures the dismissal of all cases pending against the telecommunication companies that facilitated the warrantless wiretapping programs over the last 7 years. The test in the bill is not whether the government certifications were actually legal – only whether they were issued. Because it is public knowledge that they were, all the cases seeking to find out what these companies and the government did with our communications will be killed.

• Members of Congress not on Judiciary or Intelligence Committees are NOT guaranteed access to reports from the Attorney General, Director of National Intelligence, and Inspector General.



The New FISA Bill: A Bad Deal: Courtesy of Senator Russ Feingold

Highlights:
On retroactive immunity, the bill virtually guarantees it, despite the fig-leaf of a district court review.

In their infinite wisdom, Hoyer and the negotiators set the bill to sunset in the fall of 2012--just before the next presidential election. This bad bill should not be in effect for that long, and shouldn't be subject to election year politics, again.

The protections against reverse targeting are inadequte--the guidelines for targeting someone in the U.S. are not subject to judicial review, or the requirement of a court order for that surveillance.

The bill doesn't prohibit bulk collection--"the collection of all international communications into and out of the U.S. to a whole continent or even the entire world."

The bill contains a far too broad "exigency" exception to the idea of FISC exclusivity--the Attorney General or DNI can certify that they don't have time to get a court order.

Even if the FISC determines after that fact that the surveillance violated the law, the government can still keep and use any of the information it obtains under those illegal warrants.

The bill doesn't provide additional checks and balances for Americans at home whose international communications are obtained because they are communicating with someone overseas.

And, just so the point gets hammered in a little more, here's a tidbit from Salon.com entitled George Bush's latest powers, courtesy of the Democratic Congress.

AND, because I refuse to let it go, What Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer and Fred Hiatt mean by "bipartisanship". Pelosi. What a fucking disappointment you are.

You can contact Senator Obama's presidential campaign at (866) 675-2008 and give him a piece of your mind.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
hackess
Jun. 24th, 2008 04:34 am (UTC)
Yer Feingold link doesn't link, so here it is for everyone else: http://feingold.senate.gov/issues_fisafacts.html

I'm so incredibly proud that Russ Feingold is from Wisconsin.
kebechet
Jun. 24th, 2008 05:07 am (UTC)
My links are all getting weird lately, aren't they? XD

Thanks! =)
alicia_stardust
Jun. 24th, 2008 05:40 am (UTC)
You can contact Senator Obama's presidential campaign at (866) 675-2008 and give him a piece of your mind.

*adds this to tomorrow's work list*


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )