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Commentary :: Third Parties

Democrat’s New Spy Bill – Lulling Americans Into False Sense of Security

The war on terror and the war on freedom are nonpartisan issues. Both Democrats and Republicans alike have consistently voted for legislation that, through the illusion of protecting our families and our homeland, have actually removed critical components of the U.S. Constitution. Will the Democrat’s new FISA Spy Bill be any different?
HR 3773, The FISA Amendments Act of 2008, recapitulates a series of executive checks, requiring the Executive Branch to apply to a secret court asking for a search warrant BEFORE conducting the necessary wiretap. This sounds perfectly reasonable at first glance. However, under an “Emergency Authorization” detailed in the bill, the White House is allowed to conduct warrant-less wiretaps within a seven-day window before seeking the approval from the FISA court. In other words, if the President believes that an emergency exists, he then has the authority, under the new law, to conduct surveillance on literally anyone and he doesn’t need a search warrant or probable cause to legally issue the orders.

Quoting noted constitutional attorney Jonathan Turley from the new docu-patriotic film, “Washington, You’re Fired,” he states, “The Constitution says that you need probable cause for a crime, and yet they routinely ignore it. Why? Because they want to.”

Along with 196 other votes against the bill, Rep. Ron Paul weighed in on HR 3773 by saying, “This bill will allow the federal government to engage in the bulk collection of American citizens’ communications. In effect, it means that any American may have his electronic communications monitored without a search warrant. As such, the bill clearly violates the Fourth Amendment.” Rep. Paul went on to point out that of the 50,000 National Security Letters issued around 30,000 were issued, NOT for suspected terrorists, but for Americans. He later added, “When we come to accept that the government can spy on us without a court order, we have come to accept tyranny.” [1]

These policies of spying go way beyond simply blanket data-mining every American. The current administration has shown a certain autocratic willingness to serve as judge, jury, and executioner and now with HR 3773 the President will have his seven day window to violate the one fundamental principal that binds, unites, and defines all Americans, everywhere – the right to privacy.

The President himself admitted to the existence of the NSA’s illegal wiretap program set into motion on his direct orders. This stunning admission coupled with whistleblower testimony from Mark Klein, dates these data-mining and eavesdropping programs back to mid-2000, well before any terrorist threat and well before the Bush Administration’s stated need to blanket data-mine every American citizen… Yet, they did it. Verizon and AT&T; along with a handful of other telecommunications corporations, willfully violated U.S. laws at the request of the White House by data-mining the daily communications of millions of Americans.

We would eventually learn from a Defense Department document obtained by NBC News, that the Bush Administration was targeting and closely watching Quakers, peace activists, and anyone who disagreed with his key policies. This also corroborates a New York Times report released in December 2005, which states that President Bush had authorized domestic spying and had bypassed the Secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Will HR 3773 really fix FISA and protect American’s right to privacy? Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by legislation that promises to fix OTHER pieces of broken legislation. FISA and a growing number of other spy bills CANNOT be fixed because they are fundamentally flawed with the notion that we must relinquish freedom in order to protect freedom.

We need to begin anew. The only way to do that is to completely remove laws from the books that violate our U.S. Constitution. Those laws being The Military Commissions Act, which ended Habeas Corpus; The John Warner Defense Act, which ended Posse Comitatus; The Detainee Treatment Act, which protects torture; The Real ID Act rider attached to HR 1268, which will give us a national ID card; and a half dozen others…

Our freedoms and liberties are not derived and assigned by men or by governments. They are yours by the very birthright of being born. Our founding documents refer to these rights as being “unalienable.” Put simply, this means that your rights cannot be transferred or removed – not by a man, not by a president, and not by a law.

“If we permit our constitutional rights to be watered down out of fear, we have given up our democracy. Congress must stand firm and defend the Constitution.” -- Dennis Kucinich [2]

The only question is, “Will they?”

By: William Lewis, Writer / www.TakeBackWashington.com


1 Revolution Radio - Statement on H.R. 3773 FISA Amendments Act of 2008 revolutionradio.org/2008/03/15/statement-on-hr-3773-fisa-amendments-act-/

2 Kucinich Opposes FISA Bill That Infringes on Fourth Amendment Rights

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