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U.S. Rep. Rush Holt: Stopping the Blank Check on Warrantless Spying

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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 11:30 AM
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U.S. Rep. Rush Holt: Stopping the Blank Check on Warrantless Spying
from HuffPost:

Rep. Rush Holt
Stopping the Blank Check on Warrantless Spying
Posted November 16, 2007 | 02:43 PM (EST)

Last summer, the Bush administration launched a propaganda campaign to try to frighten Congress into believing that if we failed to pass its domestic surveillance legislation -- the so-called "Protect America Act" -- the United States would miss critical intelligence that might prevent a terrorist attack that could be imminent.

In reality, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) -- created in 1978 to be the exclusive means by which the government collected foreign intelligence -- only needed modest adjustments: a clarification that any communications between foreigners that happened to pass through U.S. telecommunications switches could be collected without the need to get a court order and to reaffirm the protections of U.S. persons against warrantless search and seizure.

Instead of making these changes, the administration got what it wanted. Congress, in haste and in fear unfortunately passed unconstitutional legislation that gave the government a blank check to spy on anyone, any time, any where, with little oversight from the courts or Congress.

I voted against the bill and argued that we must do better. In passing the RESTORE Act, I am pleased the House of Representatives has done so.

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed legislation to restore the protections for individual rights that were not contained in the "Protect America Act" while providing the Intelligence Community with the tools it needs to conduct surveillance of those who would do America harm.

Since August, I have fought hard to ensure that Congress gets it right this time. We have passed a bill that gives our citizens the best protection we can provide them: good intelligence collection against our adversaries and court protection against an executive branch that could seize and search the communications of its own citizens without cause.

Specifically, I worked to include language to:

Ensure that the government must have an individualized, particularized court-approved warrant based on probable cause in order to read or listen to the communications of an American citizen. ....(more)

The complete piece is at:

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