Jeff Merkley: FISA bill is "unacceptable"

At DailyKos yesterday, Jeff Merkley spoke out about the FISA bill in the U.S. Senate today. His post, in full:

Last Friday, the House of Representatives passed the FISA Amendments Act of 2008. It was the wrong move and I urge Congress and the President to reverse course.

The bill will force federal district courts to immediately dismiss any cases against telecommunications companies that participated in illegal surveillance. This is unacceptable. The Constitution of the United States was violated. Over several years telecommunications companies turned over the records of millions of innocent Americans to the federal government without proper oversight and without a warrant.

The Bush Administration disregarded the Fourth Amendment when it authorized this surveillance and now Congress may provide the Administration and these companies a free pass. This is a mistake. The Senate is set to vote on the FISA bill this week. For the sake of our constitution and the foundation of our democracy, I urge all Senators to unite in opposition to this bill.

If I'm elected to the Senate, I will not hesitate to fight to protect our civil liberties and the laws this nation was founded upon.

I have spoken out against immunity for telecommunications companies throughout this campaign. Last February, I urged my supporters to sign a petition to pressure my opponent, Republican Senator Gordon Smith, to vote against the FISA bill that granted retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.

Unfortunately, Gordon Smith voted in favor of granting retroactive immunity. I expect him to do the same when the Senate votes on this issue in the coming days. For years, the Bush Administration has been undermining the balance of powers. Checks and balances must be restored and a vote against the immunity bill would be a critical starting point.

Discuss over there.


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