Get Ready (OR The longest 6 months ever)

Earlier, I mentioned that I sent an email to Speaker Pelosi.

I also sent a similar message to Rep. Mark Udall. Since I’m one of his constituents, I received a reply:

Dear Shane:

Thank you for telling me you oppose shielding telecommunications companies from lawsuits related to their cooperation with federal authorities as part of the Bush Administration’s program to intercept suspected terrorist phone traffic. I appreciate hearing from you.

President Bush has asked Congress to include such a shield in legislation to extend the law that temporarily authorized some electronic surveillance to obtain important intelligence information. In November, 2007, the House of Representatives passed a bill (H.R. 3773) to extend this surveillance authority through 2009 that did not include such a provision. I voted for that bill. In February, just before expiration of the temporary law, the Senate passed a bill including the shield the president sought. To provide time to resolve differences, the House considered a bill again extending the temporary law. I voted for it, but no Republicans did, so it was defeated and the temporary law expired. On March 14, I voted for a new bill that was passed by the House. It differs regarding the lawsuits, which have been stalled by the Bush Administration’s claim no court can hear them because they involve “state secrets.” The new House bill would allow the companies to defend themselves by freeing them from this barrier so they can try to convince the court they should not be penalized for whatever actions they took. I think that is a fair way to resolve the matter. Differences between the House and Senate versions still must be resolved, and I do not know what action may be taken next. But I will keep your views in mind.

Thanks again for contacting me. To do my job well, I need to hear critical feedback from my fellow Coloradans. For more information about my positions, please visit my website at www.house.gov/markudall and sign up for my email newsletter

And that pretty much seals it…  the new FISA bill is going to pass. Hopefully, it’ll get stuck in the Senate for 6 months. Cross your fingers.

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5 Responses to Get Ready (OR The longest 6 months ever)

  1. Claire says:

    It may not be what you’re looking for, but at least it allows the companies to be tried in the courts. And, if the cases get back in motion it means that the [former] Quest exec will be able to mount an appropriate appeal and hopefully “expose” whatever it is he knows, yes? (The slight conspiracy theorist in me thinks that the government will still find a way to avoid making those trials available to the public – i.e. bar media from the court room, find a way to seal the records or get parts blacked out, etc.)

    On a different note, at least you received a bit more than a form letter in response from Udall, that’s encouraging. I’m guessing someone on his staff wrote it for him, but at least it addressed the topic of your concern.

  2. truth=freedom says:

    You realize, of course, that the law under which they are allowed to spy on us is the FISA law. The arguments that have surrounded the issue of warrantless wiretapping (and other forms of electronic surveillance) have been over extending the even more execrable law known as the Protect America Act.

    Other than that, you pretty much hit the nail on the head.

    Spying on anyone under any circumstance should require a warrant. Otherwise the plain language of the Fourth Amendment:

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    Sounds pretty clear to me. Effects is pretty much anything else not otherwise listed, yes? And this amendment amends the parts of the Constitution that anyone might think give the President powers to the contrary.

    Can we please start impeachment proceedings?

  3. truth=freedom says:

    Oh! Right. I forgot that it doesn’t matter what the facts are. See, just for example, http://thinkprogress.org/wonkroom/2008/06/21/gitmo-report/. I mean, really, we’re now going to use urban legends to support our denial of people’s human rights?

    Can we please impeach Scalia? And anyone else who voted with him?

  4. […] to, for instance, the opinion well laid out by commenter “truth=freedom” here, I don’t believe that the FISA law should be revoked.  I can absolutely imagine situations, […]

  5. […] (OR FISA, PAA, and other acronyms) After reading, and finally absorbing, some comments to my previous FISA posts, and to keep the conversation going (if nothing else) I thought […]

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