As the Senate votes on FISA amendments today, we offer the point of view of an ACLU attorney who's on the front line of the battle to hold phone companies accountable for colluding with the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping program.
Ann Brick is co-counsel in Campbell v. AT&T and Riordan v. Verizon Communications, Inc. These cases were joined together with over 40 others that are now pending before U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker in California. Ann says:
The ACLU is pursuing this case for the same reason it brings all its cases: to protect civil liberties from illegal encroachments by the government. In this case, that meant also bringing litigation against the telecommunications carriers who abdicated their responsibility to protect customers from illegal government spying, and violated the plain language of the law in the process. By granting amnesty to the telcos, Congress will do more than give them a free pass on their decision to disregard their customers' privacy rights; it will prevent the courts from ruling on the legality of the government's claims that it is entitled to spy on all of us - in disregard of the Constitution and federal statues.
Can you hear us now, Representative Boehner?
CORRECTION: Ann is co-cousel in Campbell v. AT&T and Riordan v. Verizon Communications, Inc., not ACLU v. AT&T and Verizon.