Congressman Wexler Statement on the FISA “Compromise”:
I cannot in good conscience support the so-called FISA “compromise” bill, as the only thing that is really being compromised is our civil rights.
In spite of the earnest hard work of many Members of Congress, the President has continued to demand that Congress rubber-stamp his illegal wiretapping program.
Every American wants to protect our country from terrorists; but, the President is not asking for tools to thwart terrorists. He is demanding unchecked power. He expects the Congress to throw out even the most modest, expedited court review on the absurd premise that a specially designed court with over 30 years of experience handling surveillance requests is suddenly going to bring our nation’s intelligence operations to a standstill.
The rights of everyday Americans are at issue here, and full accountability needed. A court that is given full and appropriate review of the particular circumstances in each case is the only appropriate venue for making decisions about immunity for actions that may or may not have violated the civil liberties of some individuals.
In addition, while I am sympathetic to the difficult position telephone and Internet service providers, who may have thought they were doing their patriotic duty, the fact remains that I simply cannot support offering retroactive immunity. I have had the opportunity to view some of the documents in question, and I can say that my position on this subject is unchanged.
I will continue to support the March 14th House bill that preserves the appropriate court review of all surveillance of US citizens and gives judges the discretion to review all the necessary documents related to telecom lawsuits without offering blanket immunity.
- Congressman Robert Wexler