Passed: "Protect America Act" Pisses On Constitution
Posted by Pile
(7451 views) [E-Mail link]
|If you e-mail or phone or otherwise contact anyone outside of the United States, you'll be pleased to know that now Congress has given Bush the power to tap your conversations without any court order.|
Oh Wait, get this.. it's called "The Protect America Act."
The Senate bowed to White House pressure last night and passed a Republican plan for overhauling the federal government’s terrorist surveillance laws, approving changes that would temporarily give U.S. spy agencies expanded power to eavesdrop on foreign suspects without a due process.
The 60 to 28 vote, which was quickly denounced by civil rights and privacy advocates, came after Democrats in the House failed to win support for more modest changes that would have required closer court supervision of government surveillance. Earlier in the day, President Bush threatened to hold Congress in session into its scheduled summer recess if it did not approve the changes he wanted.
The legislation, which is expected to go before the House today, would expand the government’s authority to intercept without a court order the phone calls and e-mails of people in the United States who are communicating with people overseas.
No Republicans voted against the bill.
The following Democrats voted for it: Evan Bayh (Indiana); Tom Carper (Delaware); Bob Casey (Pennsylvania); Kent Conrad (North Dakota); Dianne Feinstein (California); Daniel Inouye (Hawai‘i); Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota); Nancy Mary Landrieu (Louisiana); Blanche Lincoln (Arkansas); Claire McCaskill (Missouri); Barbara Mikulski (Maryland); Bill Nelson (Florida); Ben Nelson (Nebraska); Mark Pryor (Arkansas); Ken Salazar (Colorado); Jim Webb (Virginia).
Senators Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Christopher Dodd and Barack Obama all opposed the bill, as did 23 other Democrats and Bernie Sanders, the independent from Vermont. Joe Lieberman voted ...well, you know how he voted.
Democrats "have a Pavlovian reaction: Whenever the president says the word 'terrorism,' they roll over and play dead," said Caroline Fredrickson, Washington legislative director of the American Civil Liberties Union.
"Al Qaeda is not going on vacation this month," said Sen. Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. "And we can't either until we know we've done our duty to the American people." ...
Before the vote, Democrats excoriated the GOP plan, which Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-West Virginia, said "provides a weak and practically nonexistent court review."
Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisconsin, angrily chastised his colleagues for bending to the administration's will.
"The day we start deferring to someone who's not a member of this body ... is a sad day for the U.S. Senate," Feingold said. "We make the policy -- not the executive branch."
The last hope for this bill is to convince your Representative to not vote for it, but the way things have been going, the House will sell out the Constitution as well...
Contact your Representative and demand they vote AGAINST the revisions to FISA.
UPDATE: The House of Representatives sold out the Constitution as well. See how your representative voted.
These are the Dems who ... failed us. Who failed our country.
Jason Altmire (4th Pennsylvania)
John Barrow (12th Georgia)
Melissa Bean (8th Illinois)
Dan Boren (2nd Oklahoma)
Leonard Boswell (3rd Iowa)
Allen Boyd (2nd Florida)
Christopher Carney (10th Pennsylvania)
Ben Chandler (6th Kentucky)
Rep. Jim Cooper (5th Tennessee)
Jim Costa (20th California)
Bud Cramer (5th Alabama)
Henry Cuellar (28th Texas)
Artur Davis (7th Alabama)
Lincoln Davis (4th Tennessee)
Joe Donnelly (2nd Indiana)
Chet Edwards (17th Texas)
Brad Ellsworth (8th Indiana)
Bob Etheridge (North Carolina)
Bart Gordon (6th Tennessee)
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (South Dakota)
Brian Higgins (27th New York)
Baron Hill (9th Indiana)
Nick Lampson (23rd Texas)
Daniel Lipinski (3rd Illinois)
Jim Marshall (8th Georgia)
Jim Matheson (2nd Utah)
Mike McIntyre (7th North Carolina)
Charlie Melancon (3rd Louisiana)
Harry Mitchell (5th Arizona)
Colin Peterson (7th Minnesota)
Earl Pomeroy (North Dakota)
Ciro Rodriguez (23rd Texas)
Mike Ross (4th Arkansas)
John Salazar (3rd Colorado)
Heath Shuler (11th North Carolina)
Vic Snyder (2nd Arkansas)
Zachary Space (18th Ohio)
John Tanner (8th Tennessee)
Gene Taylor (4th Mississippi)
Timothy Walz (1st Minnesota)
Charles A. Wilson (6th Ohio)
The key provision of S.1927 is new section 105A of FISA (see page 2), which categorically excludes from FISA's requirements any and all "surveillance directed at a person reasonably believed to be located outside of the United States."
For surveillance to come within this exemption, there is no requirement that it be conducted outside the U.S.; no requirement that the person at whom it is "directed" be an agent of a foreign power or in any way connected to terrorism or other wrongdoing; and no requirement that the surveillance does not also encompass communications of U.S. persons. Indeed, if read literally, it would exclude from FISA any surveillance that is in some sense "directed" both at persons overseas and at persons in the U.S.
The key term, obviously, is "directed at." The bill includes no definition of it.