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“One of the Greatest Intrusions, Potentially, on the Rights of Americans Protected Under the 4th Amendment”–Sen. Feingold Blasts Telecom Spy Bill
SEN. RUSS FEINGOLD: Well, this is a great blow to the rights of the American people. And much of the publicity has been about a very important aspect: giving these telephone companies immunity that cooperated with the President’s illegal program. We think that should be decided based on current law, not some kind of a retroactive immunity. But that’s essentially what this bill does.hey, russ... when is your buddy, chris dodd, going to speak out publicly...?
But you know what? Even worse are the provisions of the bill that will make it very easy for the government to essentially suck up the communications, all communications of Americans that go overseas, whether it’s an email or a text message or a phone call to a daughter, junior year abroad, or a child who’s in Iraq or a reporter or a business associate. This is one of the greatest intrusions, potentially, on the rights of Americans protected under the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution in the history of our country.
And unfortunately, it’s going to go through with the help of some Democrats. So this is a very, very sad day for our Constitution and for our rights, and it’s not justified by the terrorism issue, because we do not have any problem at all with going after anybody that we have reasonable suspicions about. It has to do with sucking all this information into a huge database in a way that is very intrusive on the privacy of all Americans.
The President takes the position that under Article II of the Constitution he can ignore the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. We believe that that’s absolutely wrong. I have pointed out that I think it is not only against the law, but I think it’s a pretty plain impeachable offense that the President created this program, and yet this immunity provision may have the effect not only of giving immunity to the telephone companies, but it may also allow the administration to block legal accountability for this crime, which I believe it is.
AMY GOODMAN: Senator Feingold, explain exactly what you think is an impeachable offense.
SEN. RUSS FEINGOLD: Well, you know, this is one of the things that’s been debated over the centuries, but I believe that when—it has to do with the rule of law and the very structure of our system of government, in other words, not just the issue that many have been concerned about, misleading the country into war, the Iraq war. That was a terrible thing, and, you know, some say that’s an impeachable offense. But to me, when the law is clear, when it’s absolutely clear that there is a clear statute and the President creates his own idea of a law and says he doesn’t have to follow the duly elected laws of the land, to me, that’s right at the core of what the founders of this country meant when they talked about high crimes and misdemeanors.
AMY GOODMAN: Senator Feingold, will you filibuster this bill?
SEN. RUSS FEINGOLD: We are going to resist this bill. We are going to make sure that the procedural votes are gone through. In other words, a filibuster is requiring sixty votes to proceed to the bill, sixty votes to get cloture on the legislation. We will also—Senator Dodd and I and others will be taking some time to talk about this on the floor. We’re not just going to let it be rubberstamped.
AMY GOODMAN: Would you filibuster, though?
SEN. RUSS FEINGOLD: That’s what I just described.
Labels: 4th Amendment, Chris Dodd, Congress, filibuster, FISA, Impeachment, Russ Feingold, Telecom Immunity, US Senate, warrantless domestic wiretapping
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