Firedoglake has an important petition drive going. Happily, for what it’s worth (not much), Chelsea Green’s Senate contingent (Leahy and Sanders) held together more spine than too many of their pathetic brethren and sistren. Fingers are crossed for the House.
Tell House Members to Stand Firm Behind the RESTORE Act!
The FISA bill passed by the Senate is a disgrace. By legalizing warrantless spying on Americans and granting retroactive amnesty to lawbreaking telecoms, the Senate seeks to ensure that the Bush administration’s illegal spying programs are never investigated or subjected to the rule of law. The Senate bill is a profound betrayal of the votes of millions of Americans who voted in 2006 to put Democrats in control of Congress in order to increase, not eliminate, checks and oversight on this administration, and to restore the rule of law to our country. The House’s RESTORE Act is an infinitely superior bill. It provides real safeguards on the President’s spying powers while providing him with the surveillance powers he needs to protect the country. It enables the issue of the legality of the President’s spying programs to be decided where it belongs — in a court of law. And it preserves the crucial balance that has existed for decades between enabiling necessary surveillance on Americans and ensuring that our political leaders do not abuse that power.
In the wake of the discovery of the Watergate crimes and decades of surveillance abuses, the Congress of the mid-1970s acted on a bipartisan basis to put into place safeguards to ensure that even our highest political officials must adhere to the law and can only exercise eavesdropping powers with real safeguards. The RESTORE Act continues that tradition, while the Senate bill eviscerates it. We urge Democratic House members to stand firm behind the bill they passed and not capitulate once again to the bullying, manipulative demands of the Bush administration for ever-greater unchecked power, as embodied by the warrantless eavesdropping and telecom immunity provisions of the Senate bill.