ACLU, MoveOn, People For the American Way and 250,000 Americans tell Congress - “Don’t Let the Bells Off the Hook”

October 31, 2007 12:00 am

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Washington, DC – After the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing to consider domestic surveillance legislation, activists sent a clear message to Capitol Hill – don’t let the bells off the hook for domestic spying. The American Civil Liberties Union, Political Action, People For the American Way and bloggers from Open Left, Salon, Fire Dog Lake and others delivered petitions to Senate and House offices today illustrating Americans’ widespread opposition to granting immunity to telecom companies that may have aided in the violation of Fourth Amendment and privacy rights. Petitions circulated by the groups garnered more than 250,000 signatures from concerned constituents.

“Members of Congress should listen to their constituents and not just their donors,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “Granting sweeping immunity to corporations who sold their customers’ records and sold out their privacy without a court order will set a dangerous precedent. Today’s petition delivery should be seen as a line in the sand – no get out of jail free card for telecom lawbreakers.”

“Americans have a right to know what laws were broken. Congress shouldn’t let George Bush whitewash over his illegal spying by shielding the telecoms from court,” said Tanya Clay House, Director of Public Policy at PFAW. “It’s time to end this administration’s pick-and-choose approach to obeying the law.”

“President Bush is trying to convince us that protecting our security means giving up our liberty. Congress must protect our security AND our liberty–there is no trade off,” said Nita Chaudhary, Campaign Director for Political Action.

Momentum is building towards preventing a repeat of the August disaster that resulted in the so-called Protect America Act. This law allows for Americans’ communications to be intercepted by government agents as they gather foreign intelligence. Legislation moving through the Senate (S. 2248) seeks to add a provision that would grant immunity to telecom companies involved in the president’s domestic spying program, potentially excusing illegal activity.

For more information about domestic surveillance visit:

To take action at the ACLU’s website, go to:

To take action at’s website, go to:

To take action at PFAW’s website, go to:

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