Reaction and excerpts from statements and news releases on the Senate passage Wednesday of H.R. 6304, the FISA Amendments Act.
- President Bush’s statement, “President Bush Pleased by Passage of FISA Reform Legislation“: “This bill will help our intelligence professionals learn who the terrorists are talking to, what they’re saying, and what they’re planning. It will ensure that those companies whose assistance is necessary to protect the country will, themselves, be protected from lawsuits for past or future cooperation with the government. It will uphold our most solemn obligation as officials of the federal government to protect the American people.”
- Sen. Jay Rockefeller news release, “Rockefeller Calls Final Pasage of New FISA Law Critical for National Security“: “Far too often, national security issues have been sidelined or delayed because of accusations and attempts to score political points. That’s what makes today so remarkable. Both sides have come together for the sake of national security and passed a bill that will modernize the nation’s surveillance laws so that they are effective and relevant in the 21st Century.
- Sen. Kit Bond news release, “Bond hails Senate passage of surveillance bill“: Bond praised his colleagues for rejecting the misinformation spread by left-wing fringe groups like Moveon.org and instead putting our intelligence community back in the business of listening in on foreign terrorist in foreign countries. Before the final vote, the Senate again rejected attempts to kill the terrorist tracking program by stripping civil liability protection for telecommunications providers. Bond stressed that it is only right to give these patriotic companies who assisted the government in the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks protection from frivolous law suits. Also, civil liability protection is critical to the future cooperation of our private partners, without whom the terrorist surveillance program could not operate.
- ACLU news release, “Senate Passes Unconstitutional Spying Bill And Grants Sweeping Immunity To Phone Companies“: “This fight is not over. We intend to challenge this bill as soon as President Bush signs it into law,” said Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU National Security Project. “The bill allows the warrantless and dragnet surveillance of Americans’ international telephone and email communications. It plainly violates the Fourth Amendment.”
- Electronic Frontier Foundation news release, “Senate Joins House in Caving to White House Immunity Demands…Telecoms Let Off the Hook for Illegal Spying – For Now”: “”We thank those senators who courageously opposed telecom immunity and vow to them, and to the American people, that the fight for accountability over the president’s illegal surveillance is not over,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. “Even though Congress has failed to protect the privacy of Americans and uphold the rule of law, we will not abandon our defense of liberty. We will fight this unconstitutional grant of immunity in the courtroom and in the Congress, requesting repeal of the immunity in the next session, while seeking justice from the Judiciary. Nor can the lawless officials who approved this massive violation of Americans’ rights rest easy, for we will file a new suit against the government and challenge warrantless wiretapping, past, present and future.”
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