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Washington, DC – The bruising battle over domestic surveillance that has been red hot since August took a dramatic turn today as the U.S. House of Representatives refused to bow to the president’s scare tactics. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) commends the Members of the House for standing up to the president and for allowing Americans to have their day in court against telecommunications companies that released private information to the government without a warrant.
“In spite of partisan scare tactics, the House of Representatives rose up today and put Americans’ civil liberties concerns ahead of politics,” said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the Washington Legislative Office of the ACLU. “The House bill, while allowing problematic basket warrants, does ensure judicial oversight of domestic surveillance and provides a mechanism for both the telecommunications companies and their consumers to make their case in a court of law.”
Fredrickson said, “The best course of action for the House is to let FISA do what it has been doing for thirty years. If the administration wants to spy on Americans, it should have to get a warrant.” She added, “There is an election coming up. Regardless of who the next president is, no president should have unlimited executive power. Leave the checks on the executive in place.”
“The House recognizes that America can be both safe and free, that our bill of rights and our constitution are the best weapons we have against terrorism and hatred,” Fredrickson said.
Fredrickson said, “Supporters of the draconian Senate bill overplayed their hand by issuing ominous warnings and refusing to negotiate with Democrats. Last night’s move to have the fourth secret legislative session in a century seems to have backfired.”
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