ACLU Says Specter Substitution Misses the Mark in FISA Debate

December 5, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: 202-675-2312 or media@dcaclu.org

Washington, DC – The American Civil Liberties Union today urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to thoroughly scrutinize a new bill offered by ranking member Senator Specter (R-PA). Senator Specter’s bill, the FISA Intelligence Surveillance Substitution Act of 2007, would remove the telecommunications companies and insert the federal government as the defendant in cases currently pending over domestic spying. The bill will be marked up by the full Judiciary Committee this Thursday.

The following can be attributed to Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:

"Letting the administration step in as the defendant in these cases may prevent a public airing of the facts. Three daunting hurdles could derail these cases if the administration steps in as the defendant – state secrets, executive privilege and sovereign immunity. Unless something is done to ensure that these defenses cannot be used to shut down these legitimate and crucial lawsuits, substitution is just immunity in sheep’s clothing.

"This substitution proposal does not put up a roadblock to immunity - it just lengthens the journey. Since the revelation of this program in 2005, the American people have been waiting for an answer to why government and the telecoms violated our privacy. We’ve waited too long. We deserve our day in court."

For more information about FISA and telecom immunity, go to:
www.aclu.org/fisa

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