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View Diary: Counting votes on FISA (252 comments)

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  •  Senator Bingaman (D-NM) (1+ / 0-)
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    Just spoke to a DC staffer.  As is typical, he has not issued an official position on either the cloture vote or granting amnesty to telecoms.  Bingaman can be a good guy, but I never really see him sticking his neck out on anything.

    Got a revolution behind my eyes - Battleflag

    by TigerMom on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 12:00:44 PM PST

    •  This is what I got from Bingaman's office (1+ / 0-)
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      Thank you for contacting me regarding granting immunity to telecommunications companies.  I appreciate your sharing your concerns with me on this important issue.

      As you may know, S. 1927, the Protect America Act, was signed into law on August 5, 2007.  I voted against this legislation because I do not believe that it adequately protects the rights of American citizens whose communications may be inappropriately included in the broad scope of this bill.  With this said, I am encouraged that this legislation is currently being revised to give greater priority to civil liberties.  However, I also share your concerns regarding granting immunity to telecommunications companies and will keep them in mind as the Senate debates this issue.

      At a time when the President has asserted vast powers with regard to indefinitely detaining U.S. citizens without charges, conducting warrantless domestic surveillance, and using interrogation techniques that amount to torture, it is essential that we also recognize the dangers of unrestrained Executive authority.  We must not surrender the rights we cherish in the name of national security.  

      During the 109th Congress, I cosponsored S. 2362, the Surveillance Activities Commission Act, which was aimed at establishing an independent commission to investigate the use of warrantless domestic surveillance of American citizens by the Federal government after September 11, 2001.  In addition, when the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act came before the Senate in March 2006, I voted against the final version of this bill because I did not believe that it represented a proper balance between civil liberties and national security.  While I strongly support giving law enforcement the tools necessary to aggressively fight terrorism, I also believe that we can defeat terrorism in a manner consistent with our nation's long-standing commitment to the rule of law and basic civil rights.  Please be assured that I will keep your letter in mind as I continue to press for increased oversight of the Administration's actions with regard to surveillance programs.

      Again, thank you for writing.  It is my hope that you will keep me informed of other issues of importance to you and your community.

      I had written urging no telcom immunity, but it was before the cloture issue came up.

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