20 July 2008

Thank you Senator Feingold! “History will not judge this senate kindly” for the warrantless surveillance of Americans and humans throughout the world.

Thank you Senator Russ Feingold! In this floor speech by Senator Feingold on 9 July 2008 he makes a last appeal to his fellow Senators urging them to reason and constitutionality, urging them to vote against the new (enacted 10 July 2008) FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (a.k.a. the new FISA bill or FAA) that allows for the warrantless surveillance of humans throughout the world, including American citizens. To quote, "If we grant these new powers to the government, and the effects become known to the American people, we will realize what a mistake it was." Senator Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, is a member of the Senate Judiciary and Intelligence Committees. He is also the only member of the Senate who voted against the USA Patriot Act. (Thank you for this, too, Senator Feingold.) By the way, the black and white image just above is the American Civil Liberties Union's great "spy flag" illustration. Click on it to view the ACLU’s detailed information page on the new FISA bill, though I do recommend first watching Senator Feingold's speech on YouTube embedded below.

Senator Feingold's floor speech condemning the new FISA bill:

A short quote from this floor speech:
“This body should certainly not grant the government new overexpansive surveillance authorities…Let me explain why I’m so concerned about the new surveillance powers granted in this bill…the FISA Amendments Act would authorize the government to collect all, all communications between the United States and the rest of the world. That could mean millions upon millions of communications between innocent Americans and their friends families or business associates overseas can now be legally collected. Parents calling their kids studying abroad, emails to friends serving in Iraq, all of these communications could be collected with absolutely no suspicion of any wrongdoing at all under this legislation...Members of this body will regret that we passed this legislation. I am also familiar with the collection activity that have that have been conducted on 'The Protect America Act' that will continue under this bill… If we grant these new powers to the government, and the effects become known to the American people, we will realize what a mistake it was. Of that I am sure. Mr. President, I hope my colleagues will think long and hard about their votes on this bill, and consider how they and their constituents will feel about this vote 5, 10, or 20 years from now. I am confident that history will not judge this Senate kindly…"

Two statements about the new FISA bill on Senator Feingold’s website:
1. The New FISA Bill: A Bad Deal June 23, 2008
2. Statement of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold On the FISA Deal June 19, 2008

The ACLU’s information page on the new FISA bill:

And lastly, a flash from the past, Senator Feingold fighting the USA Patriot Act:
Statement Of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold On The Anti-Terrorism Bill From The Senate Floor October 25, 2001

The FISA Amendments Act of 2008, H.R. 6304, is also called The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 Amendments Act of 2008.

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