Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dodd, Feingold, Wyden and Boxer to Oppose Cloture on FISA Bill

D Kos - mcjoan

Chris Dodd and Russ Feingold released this statement (via e-mail):

"This is a deeply flawed bill, which does nothing more than offer retroactive immunity by another name. We strongly urge our colleagues to reject this so-called ‘compromise’ legislation and oppose any efforts to consider this bill in its current form. We will oppose efforts to end debate on this bill as long as it provides retroactive immunity for the telecommunications companies that may have participated in the President’s warrantless wiretapping program, and as long as it fails to protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans.

"If the Senate does proceed to this legislation, our immediate response will be to offer an amendment that strips the retroactive immunity provision out of the bill. We hope our colleagues will join us in supporting Americans’ civil liberties by opposing retroactive immunity and rejecting this so-called ‘compromise’ legislation."

Sen. Ron Wyden announced that he will oppose cloture for wiretapping bill:

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a senior member of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, announced today that he would oppose new legislation amending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) due to his continued opposition to a provision that would grant blanket retroactive immunity to any telecommunications company that participated in the President’s warrantless wiretapping program.

"This is not the first time that the President has pressured Congress into interfering in federal court cases to cover-up his attempts to secretly rewrite the law. Congress’s previous attempts to bail-out the President—from the Detainee Treatment Act to the Military Commissions Act—have not only failed to solve the legal mess, but have often provided cover for the Administration’s failed counterterrorism policies," said Wyden.

"I see no reason for Congress to grant blanket immunity to companies that went along with the President’s wiretapping program for the better part of six years, even as it became increasingly clear that the legal foundation for this program was built on sand," Wyden continued. "It is not the role of Congress to substitute its judgment for the judgment of the courts. And while this bill offers the illusion of a fair judicial process, in reality, as the House Republican Leadership has noted, this is a mere ‘formality.’" ...

Here's a portion of Sen. Boxer's floor statement:

I know that many of my colleagues in the Senate think we know enough about this program.

But we do not know enough. The Bush Administration trampled on the Constitution, and we are not doing anything in this bill to provide accountability.

This bill goes along with the premise that we hold up the Constitution when it suits us, and we set it aside when it hinders what we want to do.

Simply put, this bill is a fig leaf that attempts to hide the truth about the warrantless surveillance program at the expense of the rights of our citizens.

And if we vote for it today, we are perpetuating a cover-up.

I want to be clear – I support giving our government every tool necessary to track down terrorists and protect our citizens.

I voted to go after al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden, and I believe it is the responsibility of the Congress to provide all of the tools necessary to fight terrorism and protect the American people.

But we have another responsibility, I believe, of equal importance; and that is our responsibility to uphold the Constitution and the rights of our citizens....

We can and must do better, and therefore I oppose this bill.

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