In the FISA debate, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has been a clear and consistent speaker on the importance of providing immunity to telecommunications companies that assisted in surveillance of foreign communications. His remarks today on the Senate floor made the case in as straight-forward of way as we’ve seen, and he also punched holes in the more conspiratorial arguments that comes from the left.
From his prepared remarks:
It’s very simple – Congress should not condone oversight through litigation. The lawsuits seize on the President’s brief comments about the existence of a limited program to go on a fishing expedition of NSA activities. But this is really worse than a fishing expedition; this is draining the Loch Ness to find a monster. Sometimes what you are looking for just doesn’t exist. Yet we consistently hear as justification for the apparent paranoia that some wiretaps were warrantless. But lest we forget, the 4th Amendment does not proscribe warrantless searches, it proscribes unreasonable searches.
The fact is the President created an early warning system to prevent future attacks;
essentially a terrorist smoke detector. But rather than appreciate the protection it offered,
critics rushed to pull out the batteries so that it couldn’t work. My feelings of admiration
and respect for the companies who did their part to defend America are well known. As
I’ve said in the past, any company who assisted us following the attacks of 9/11 deserves
a round of applause and a helping hand, not a slap in the face and a kick to the gut.
As an antidote to the pyretic claims about the police state, the Senator remarks:
In the over 40 outstanding civil lawsuits, is there any proof that any litigant was specifically targeted by the government? Can any of the plaintiffs show that they are “aggrieved persons” under the definition of FISA? The answer to both questions is no. Rather, many of the lawsuits utilize the following logic: I have long distance service, so I am going to sue because I think you listened to my calls. Even though they have no proof; even though the government has more important things to do than listen to their random phone calls, they push on in their desire to justify their view of self importance and irrational belief in government conspiracy. I don’t want to bruise anyone’s ego, but if Al Qaeda is not on your speed dial the government is probably not interested in you.
And in the litigation that follows, either intelligence and national security secrets are revealed, or the companies cannot defend themselves.
A very good summary of the case for immunity and passage of H.R. 6304. Thanks, Senator.
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