Congress suffered a collective failure of courage this past August by failing to stand up for Americans’ due process and privacy rights when it mattered most. The Senate and House caved under White House pressure and voted to OK the gutting of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Put in place after the overreaching of Nixon’s White House, FISA has helped protect Americans’ liberties for 30 years by acting as a check on the government’s surveillance activities for intelligence purposes.
That all changed in August, when Congress – cowering in the face of the White House’s threats – agreed to ratify and expand the Bush-Cheney Administration’s power to spy on Americans, at home and abroad, without warrants.
Take action now: send your Representatives and Senators in Congress a spine so that they can stand up to the White House and fix FISA. We can’t accept anything less than a law that will protect Americans’ constitutional rights and provide oversight of government surveillance.
Sign the online petition here: http://www.pfaw.org/go/Spine
S.1927 gutted FISA of the minimal due process protections and government oversight mechanisms put in place to check the government’s power to spy on its own citizens. Any phone call or e-mail an American makes or sends to someone outside the United States—including to other Americans—is fair game for warrantless government spying and that is not what the Constitution permits. The FISA court, intended to protect citizens’ privacy interests through judicial review of government surveillance, cannot simply be reduced to a post-surveillance rubber-stamp factory, but must have a meaningful role in authorizing such surveillance.
I urge you to show some backbone, stand up to White House pressure, and take the steps necessary to fix FISA. Our free society will not remain so if the government has untrammeled ability to spy on its own citizens.