Thursday, March 13, 2008

FBI uses blanket searches, ACLU members respond on FISA

news for today...

Domestic Spying
More on the Patriot Act's National Security Letters... This shows why FISA is so important. We need honest judges to approve warrants for wiretapping, not blanket searches by the FBI, to protect Americans' privacy. Do we trust the FBI to only go after terrorists when they can wiretap anybody? Peace activists? Politicians? Businesses?

The ACLU sent out a thank you email. They sent lots of petitions to legislative leaders who heard the need to stand up to the Bush Administration's fear mongering.

Read on for the message from Caroline Fredrickson.

"When we asked you to throw your support behind the ACLU and our FISA fight -- you didn’t just throw it -- you hurled it and then some! Your efforts helped get House leadership to reject Bush's fear mongering.

I last wrote to you after hearing that administration officials would use any means necessary to get Congress to pass Bush’s spying bill -- a bill that would give the president a free pass to spy on the emails and phone calls of Americans without a warrant and whitewash illegal spying.

But thanks to you, key members of the House have introduced compromise legislation on FISA. While we have concerns about aspects of the new bill, it is important to note that the House is standing up to the executive branch and its demands to engage in unchecked wiretapping on US soil -- and the House compromise legislation does not grant retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that facilitated years of illegal surveillance.

Even with administration officials issuing ominous warnings, the American people are prevailing. House leadership -- at least for now -- is finally standing up to Bush fear mongering.

Here are just a couple highlights of what we recently accomplished together:

- On Monday, we delivered our "Keep Standing Up to Fear Mongering" petition with more than 50,000 signatures to House Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Hoyer and representatives who stood up to President Bush.

- Last week, our Calling for Freedom campaign generated tens of thousands of phone calls to Congress.

- Congress still has not passed Bush’s spying bill and in fact, House leadership introduced a better bill. The president threatened to veto the compromise bill, but the House is planning to vote on it today anyway.

Nobody would have imagined that we could have held them off this long, and we truly could not have done it without you. That’s why we have to keep going now, more than ever. We’re making some progress but we can’t lose sight of our ultimate goal: We must throw Bush fear mongering out of our national conversation.

Don’t think for a second that Bush and his henchmen are going to give up on using fear to scare Congress into selling out the Constitution and our most fundamental rights. If Congress doesn't cave in now, we can be sure the spin machine will grow even louder. That's because the longer this fight goes on, the less likely it is that Congress will pass a spying bill that gives President Bush everything he wants.

We never could have accomplished so much without you. Thank you for your steadfast commitment, and for all you have done to protect our most fundamental rights.

We’ll keep you posted about our next steps very soon.
Caroline Fredrickson, Director
ACLU Washington Legislative Office"