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Principles and Protest in Aftermath of FISA Vote

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August 10, 2007

The FISA fight has not died down. And after our filing Wednesday to get to the truth about the secret court’s opinions on the Bush wiretapping program, we hope, and expect, that it won’t. That is if the Democratic leadership, you know … leads.

Today on The Huffington Post, Anthony gave the background, the details and above all the principles behind our legal strategy to help undo this new, bad law:

We must decide what kind of country we want America to be. Are we a country that allows fear and vague threats to browbeat our leaders in Congress into passing laws that go against our values and violate our Constitution?

The answer, of course, should be no. The new law is not about protecting us from terrorism. It’s about cutting legal corners and giving more power to the executive branch, with the attorney general and director of national intelligence deciding, on their own, to intercept any American’s international phone calls or emails, so long as the “target” of the surveillance is overseas. There isn’t even a requirement that someone on the call is suspected of terrorism.

This fundamentally flawed legislation was passed with appallingly minimal deliberation. In the almost six years since 9/11, the Bush administration never publicly claimed that this change was necessary.

Meanwhile, bloggers fumed and wondered in the aftermath of Sunday’s vote. Scarecrow on Firedoglake called our elected lawmakers sheep. “The upshot,” wrote Matt Stoller, picking through the debris on OpenLeft, “is that the Democratic leaders chose to pass this bill through procedural failures and by cutting out civil liberties groups.”

There’s more on Huffington about Congress’s “blank check” to Bush from Marjorie Cohn of the National Lawyer’s Guild.

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