I have written on this before and just want to send a quick thank you to those House members who found their backbone today and stood up for our Constitutional rights.
The bottom line is this. If the President wants to spy on us, he has to have enough proof to convince a judge and short of that, he and his accomplices should be prosecuted. The Fourth Amendment is really really clear on this.
I don't believe this bill is great in anyway. It gives the President guidelines that are way too loose for my taste and that I believe are unconstitutional that allow him to spy without judicial oversight. It loosens the laws too much for my taste.
WHY CAN'T THEY JUST GO TO A JUDGE??? I mean if they have enough evidence to know they need to watch a bad guy, just get the okay from the FISA court right?
I actually know the answer to this. Since the FISA court was created after the Nixon Watergate spying for political advantage fiasco, only one president has had his requests for warrants to spy on Americans denied by the court. You guessed it, Bush. Not just one though, last I heard 8 requests were denied for lack of evidence to start an investigation!!! I.e. Bush is the ONLY president who has made a request to the FISA court to spy on someone where the request was denied for no just cause presented! He went around the FISA court not because the bureaucracy of it all was too slow as he's claimed over and over, but because he wanted to spy on people he couldn't legally spy on and didn't want to have to justify his reason to ANYONE! Not even the super secret always says yes until Bush came around FISA court!
That said, the President and the telecom industry broke the law, and they KNOW it which is why they so desperately want retroactive immunity.
Let the courts decide who was in the wrong after all the evidence is presented in the 400 cases so far that have been brought where people were spied on without ANY just cause. Let the courts decide for the people and let the people find out HOW MANY of us they have been watching! It's critical for the health of our constitution that the individual citizens who have been spied on without cause get their chance to prove it in court.
The House has put their foot down finally and said NO to this president. It's about time and let's hope this is the start of a trend!