Monday, February 25, 2008

Dear Mr. Reid:

Thank you for writing regarding the Bush Administration's request for legislation that would provide immunity for telecommunications companies that are alleged to have provided assistance to the National Security Agency after September 11, 2001. I appreciate your thoughts on this topic, and welcome the opportunity to respond.

On February 12, 2008, the Senate passed legislation to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA). I voted against that legislation.

During the Senate's debate, I introduced an amendment on the Senate floor that would limit the grant of immunity. Under my amendment, cases against the telecommunications companies would go to the FISA Court for judicial review. The companies would only receive immunity if the FISA Court found that the alleged assistance was not provided, that assistance met legal requirements, or that a company had a good faith, reasonable belief that assistance was legal.

I believe this approach strikes the correct balance: it maintains court review and a judicial determination of whether companies provided assistance that they should have known violated the law.

I also offered an amendment to restore FISA's exclusivity, to ensure that no surveillance program can proceed outside the law in the way that the Terrorist Surveillance Program did for more than five years. Unfortunately, neither amendment was adopted.

The House and Senate are now trying to reach agreement on a bill that all parties can support. I strongly hope that the negotiations will provide an alternative to full telecom immunity and include strong language on the exclusivity of FISA, as I believe it is important to have judicial review of this very important issue.

Again, thank you for writing. I hope that you will continue to write on matters of importance to you. Best regards.

Sincerely yours,
Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dear Ms. Feinstein...

I read today that you were one of the 69 who voted Yea on the bill that would allow the telecoms to receive amnesty for helping the warrantless wiretapping of U.S. Citizens. I was going to compose an angry letter, but then I thought: "Why bother?" It's not like you people in congress really care at all about what we mere citizens think anyway, right? As long as you get re-elected, that's all that matters.
"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." (attributed to Benjamin Franklin)

Related Link