Thursday, January 24, 2008

John Edwards Against FISA Bill

John Edwards has come out publicly against the FISA bill.

In Washington today, telecom lobbyists have launched a full-court press to win retroactive immunity for their illegal eavesdropping on American citizens. Granting retroactive immunity will let corporate law-breakers off the hook and hamstring efforts to learn the truth about Bush's illegal spying program.

"It's time for Senate Democrats to show a little backbone and stand up to George W. Bush and the corporate lobbyists. They should do everything in their power -- including joining Senator Dodd's efforts to filibuster this legislation -- to stop retroactive immunity. The Constitution should not be for sale at any price."

I received an Edwards campaign asking Floridians to voice their disapproval of the Bush administration-backed FISA bill to Bill Nelson and Mel Martinez.

Mel Martinez, (R): (202) 224-3041
Bill Nelson, (D): (202) 224-5274

Edwards has come out against the bill. Are Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama going to show leadership and use their pulpits to sway colleagues. Their silence have spoke volumes about their political courage.

The lobbying power of the telecommunication companies can not be underestimated. The telecom industry has contributed $2,834,423 this election cycle. The Senate voted 76 to 10 to vote on the bill. The bill would have easily passed if not for Christopher Dodd placing a hold on the bill.

The issue is that the bill violates the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court secretly presides over federal requests for wiretaps. The FISA court rarely turns down requests. The first appeal was filed by the Bush administration. Judge James Robinson resigned in protest. The Justice Department incompetently improperly filed 75 applications. FISA historically rubber stamps wire tap requests. The Bush administration went beyond the court's legal tolerance. The Bushies decided they would still wiretap.

The White House refused to allow Congress to see documents pertaining to the warrantless wiretapping program. The administration relented, to convince Congress to grant retroactive immunity to telecom companies. Which begs the question: if the program is legal then why is legal immunity needed.

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