I added the following personalized thank you to the ACLU’s message to U.S. House leaders who let the “Protect America Act” expire in order to allow full debate on FISA legislation.
Thank you for defending the freedoms of Americans and supporting the cause of government accountability by not conceding to President Bush’s call for immediate passage of flawed FISA legislation.
While I accept that in an era of global terrorism certain nonessential privacies and privileges may need to be foregone in order to enhance our security, I demand accountability from those who would diminish our freedoms. We must proceed in such a way to ensure that power is not centralized and abused. We must maintain mutual transparency whenever possible and accountability in all cases. FISA was drafted specifically to allow the executive branch to engage in intelligence gathering with necessary secrecy while at the same time enforcing appropriate judicial checks to prevent abuse. Checks and balances are an essential feature of our republic and must be preserved to protect us against the corruption that unmitigated authority inevitably brings with it. Given its technology-neutral applicability to any communications medium and the latitude it grants for ex post facto warrants, I see no compelling reason to amend FISA to allow additional unsupervised, classified, wiretapping authority. Further, I see no reason to grant retroactive immunity to telecommunications providers who complied with prima facia illegal NSA requests for such wiretaps in the past.
Allow U.S. citizens to demand accountability for past misdeeds, ensuring that the rule of law is upheld, by not granting retroactive immunity for telecommunications carriers, and ensure government accountability going forward by granting appropriately flexible, but checked, wiretapping authority in any future FISA legislation.