Our Constitution and laws deserve no less... Renee
Our voices are making a difference. It looked like Congress might roll over and whitewash the President’s illegal and warrantless NSA spying, but yesterday our leaders in the Senate spoke out, and now they are asking the President to give us the facts.
It is crucial that you keep the pressure on by contacting your senators immediately.
Take action now at http://action.aclu.org/nsa
For months, civil libertarians across the country have been building the momentum: making calls, sending emails, contacting the media with letters to the editor. Taken together, these efforts send a clear message to our lawmakers: the American people want Congress to hold the President accountable for his actions.
If you have called Congress about warrantless wiretapping, I urge you to call again right now. And if you have not yet taken action we need you - this is a critical day to get involved.
Here is what is happening:
Yesterday, thanks in large part to your efforts, the Senate Judiciary Committee refused to act on two bills that would have whitewashed the president's warrantless NSA spying program and made it legal. Frustrated with the White House's stonewalling of Congress, Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, told President Bush that he plans to submit legislation that would cut funding of the surveillance program unless the White House gives Congress key facts about the program. But this legislation may go nowhere without pressure from people like you.
That's why I am asking you to call your senators right now and tell them to support the amendment to cut the funding of the illegal NSA spying program.
President Bush has refused to answer even basic questions about the NSA program, such as how many American citizens have had their telephone calls or e-mails monitored. Senator Specter's amendment to cut off funding is needed if we are going to get the facts. This latest amendment to cut funding is distinct from Specter's bill, S.2453, which we strongly oppose because it would effectively authorize the NSA spying program. This key difference is one example of how, with your help, attitudes are beginning to change.
This is how our government is supposed to work. Right now, Congress is hearing our message: The Bush Administration must come clean with the facts. Speak out now so they hear us loud and clear.
Call your senators and tell them to demand that the White House come clean about NSA spying. Go to http://action.aclu.org/nsa to look up their phone numbers.
Or, read more about what is happening with NSA warrantless spying.
Sincerely,Anthony D. RomeroExecutive DirectorAmerican Civil Liberties Union
P.S. Please spread the word by sending your friends an electronic postcard asking them to call their senators. With their help and yours, we will be heard.
Senate Judiciary Committee Delays Consideration of NSA Spying Bills;
Move Follows House Failure to Rein in Warrantless Eavesdropping Program
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Contact: Shin Inouye(202) 675-2312
WASHINGTON - The Senate Judiciary Committee today delayed consideration of several bills concerning the warrantless domestic surveillance of Americans by the National Security Agency. The American Civil Liberties Union welcomed that step and continued to urge members of that panel to reject attempts to legislate on the issue without a full investigation into the illegal program.
The following can be attributed to Anthony D. Romero, ACLU Executive Director:
"We applaud the Senate Judiciary Committee for rejecting an attempt to legislate in the dark on the warrantless spying on Americans by the NSA. We hope that this hesitation will be accompanied by a true assertion of Congress’s right and obligation to provide oversight of the executive branch. Too many questions remain unanswered about the NSA program.
"In particular, we welcome the statements of Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who is also a member of the special subcommittee of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that has been briefed on the NSA operation. She stated that nothing she has been told leads her to believe that the current NSA operation could not achieve the same goals if it were conducted under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. She also forcefully pointed out that going ahead with this legislation would be like a physician diagnosing a patient without seeing either the patient or their medical records. We also commend Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) for proposing an amendment to withhold funding for the program in response to the stonewalling of the administration.
"Today’s meeting follows the disappointing actions taken by the House last night. In approving an intelligence authorization bill, the House failed to adopt a bipartisan measure, offered by Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA), Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Jane Harman (D-CA), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. Their simple amendment would have required that all domestic surveillance of American residents comply with federal law, and would have required the reporting to Congress of the names of those surveilled.
"Congress needs to investigate, not rubber-stamp the president’s warrantless surveillance program. We hope that today’s actions will mean that the illegal NSA program to spy on Americans will be fully investigated. The American people are entitled to know how many of their phone calls and e-mails have been monitored by the NSA without any judicial check or congressional approval. Congress must serve as a check on the executive and affirm the belief that in America, no one is above the law, not even the president."
For more on the ACLU’s concerns with the warrantless NSA eavesdropping program, go to:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----------------
Sen. Specter Threatens to Block NSA Funds
Apr 27 1:09 PM US/Eastern
By LAURIE KELLMAN
Associated Press Writer
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter said Thursday he is considering legislation to cut off funding for the Bush administration's secret domestic wiretapping program until he gets satisfactory answers about it from the White House.
"Institutionally, the presidency is walking all over Congress at the moment," Specter, R-Pa., told the panel. "If we are to maintain our institutional prerogative, that may be the only way we can do it."
Specter said he had informed President Bush about his intention and that he has attracted several potential co-sponsors. He said he's become increasingly frustrated in trying to elicit information about the program from senior White House officials at several public hearings.
According to a copy of the amendment obtained by The Associated Press, it would enact a "prohibition on use of funds for domestic electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes unless Congress is kept fully and currently informed."
Specter also agreed with Democrats who say that any of the bills to tighten guidelines for National Security Agency program and increase congressional oversight could be flatly ignored by an administration with a long history of acting alone in security matters.
"It is true that we have no assurance that the president would follow any statute that we enact," Specter said. He said he's considering adding an amendment to stop funding of the program to an Iraq war- hurricane relief bill being debated by the Senate this week and next.
Senior Republican officials said they had not received guidance about the legislation and could not say when it might come to the Senate floor.
Bush has insisted that the program falls within his authority.
"The appropriate members of Congress have been and continue to be informed with respect to the Terrorist Surveillance Program," said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino. "The Administration remains confident that a majority of members of Congress continue to recognize the importance of protecting Americans through lawful intelligence activities directed at terrorists."
Specter's announcement came a day after the House passed an bill 327- 96 to dramatically increase spending on intelligence programs. In the process, Republicans blocked an amendment to expand congressional oversight of the NSA's warrantless surveillance program.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., said allegations that NSA domestic wiretapping operations are abusive or unconstitutional are outrageous and that Congress is committed to vigorous oversight of the program