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Letter to Congress about FISA S2248

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To: Senator Feinstein

      Senator Boxer

      Representative Susan Davis

CC: Senator Dodd

       Senator Reid

       Representative Nancy Pelosi

       Senator Snowe

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       Senator Hagel

Dear Senators Feinstein and Boxer and Representative Davis;

I am writing to you as your constituent and after spending the day watching speeches on CSPAN regarding S2248 (FISA, amendments). I am also writing after receiving Senator Feinstein’s email dated 12/18/2007 at the time of 5:22PM, which included “additional views” of Senator’s Snowe and Hagel.

I am copying Senator Reid and Representative Pelosi as they are the Congressional leaders of the respective houses and think they should be aware of my writing. And I’m copying Senator Dodd, as it was his willingness to put Constitutional principle above practical regarding his Presidential bid that ought be the byword for how members of Congress engage in politics.

There is a real need to mention certain points regarding this legislation and how it came about that do not pertain to the need to enhance surveillance regarding ‘terrorists’.

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  1. September 11th, 2001 did NOT occur because this legislation wasn’t in place; simply stated, it occurred because of the failure of the Bush Administration to act on warnings (especially those of foreign governments) and the lack of co-ordination between and within various ‘intelligence’ agencies.
  2. To think that ‘terrorists’ are not aware of the technical prowess of the United States to monitor communications simply ignores reality. Do any of you remember the United Nations scandal where the United States was ousted for planting bugs and tapping phone lines in the offices of the United Nations? And that an official of one of the countries bugged indicated that ‘everyone assumes that communications are monitored and take the necessary steps to ensure private communications?”
  3. The ‘Protect America Act’ was pushed through by the Bush Administration as part of its strategy to avoid culpability for knowingly violating the law and, as you know, is EXTREMELY flawed legislation. And EVERY time civil liberties are sacrificed on the altar of ‘security’, that is but another victory for terrorism.
  4. ANY legislation that Bush doesn’t concur fully with gets a ‘signing statement’ that according to his legal advice allows him the discretion to do what he please regarding legislation he signs. And NO ONE in Congress has taken him to court to regarding such legal reasoning. Adding amendments to legislation is inviting the Bush Administration to interpret such legislation as he sees fit and the ‘exclusivity’ Senator Feinstein has introduced will simply be swept aside via ‘signing statement’.
  5. It is now been reported that the Bush Administration started the processes by which all communications in the United States –regardless of status or citizenship- just two weeks after taking office in 2000. This ‘should’ tell you all you need to know of the real intent in pushing for legal immunity within the changes to the FISA.  How many times do you need to be lied to before you ‘get it’?    


Putting aside the specious reasoning that allowing citizen lawsuits to proceed would bankrupt the telecommunications companies and the rhetoric of fear and uncertainty that the Senators Hatch and McConnell put forth, I would like to mention Senator Bond’s citation of United States Code regarding a ‘person’ (though I believe his cite was mistaken).

Simply stated, the driver of a car used for a robbery is judged as guilty of the crime as the persons who actually engaged in the ‘holdup’. To say that the telecommunications companies should be immune from prosecution because Bush and his legal advisors asked them to is saying the getaway car driver should be immune from prosecution because the getaway car driver did not participate in the actual holdup. And I would also reference you to the Texas case where a death penalty was recently commuted to life for someone who happened to be driving a car that someone got out of and killed someone. These telecommunication companies have very skilled lawyers and, given the example of Qwest rejecting such ‘assistance’, knew that such actions were against the law (or should have, given their expertise). And I also will mention that it has been drummed into my head since I was much younger that ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking it. Even the Unified Military Code of Justice has provisions within it for not following an unlawful order.

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Just a 60 year old white male who cares about the ideas upon which this country was founded.

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Letter to Congress about FISA S2248


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 ....and your letter exposes it nicely, Bruce... by Mark E. Smith on Friday, Dec 21, 2007 at 3:51:06 PM