C-SPAN: U.S. Constitution Vignette
Congress should be trying to hold him accountable
Mon Sep 18, 2006 21:15

 
Congress should be trying to hold him accountable—that's their job. Instead, some Republicans are trying to let President Bush off the hook completely. In fact, the legislation would give the president even more unchecked power.

Here are some quick facts about the Cheney-Specter bill:

* It allows President Bush—and every president after him—to wiretap Americans indefinitely, in secret, without a warrant and without any oversight. 3

* It effectively pardons the president for any illegal behavior by forcing Congress to concede that he has the inherent authority to conduct the program4—something federal courts, numerous legal experts and many leading Republicans disagree with. 5

* It completely guts FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) which has protected the privacy of Americans against illegal wiretaps for close to 30 years.6

* It prevents any legal challenges from taking place in the public court system. Instead, it moves all cases to a secret court, where only Bush administration officials can argue it. 7

* It would help "immunize" any officials who broke the law in this program from being held accountable in the future. 8

Since the program was exposed in December of last year, we've learned that President Bush personally blocked a Justice Department investigation of the program, Vice President Cheney also personally intervened to stop telecom companies from testifying to Congress about it, and a federal court recently ruled the program unconstitutional.9 In an effort to protect himself from further consequences, the president is pressuring Congress to let him off the hook.

This is an important issue and it will help remind Americans, in an election year, what Republicans are all about—accumulating power for themselves, and trampling the system of checks and balances designed to stop that. Can you sign the petition today?

http://pol.moveon.org/dontpardon/?id=8810-7044335-F.MzHvSlmDtHlX75J_Jqpg&t=3

It's the Senate's job to act as a check on the president's power. If they can't do it, they shouldn't be in Washington.

Thanks for all you do,

–Nita, Eli, Jennifer, Wes and the MoveOn.org Political Action Team
Monday, September 18th, 2006

Sources:

1. "Today's Republican circus trick: Legislating in the Dark," Senator Leahy, provided by the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, September 13, 2006
http://www.bordc.org/threats/leahy91306.php

"NSA Whitewash Passes Judiciary Committee on Party-Line Vote," People for the American Way, September 13, 2006
http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?oid=22373

2. "NSA Whitewash Passes Judiciary Committee on Party-Line Vote," People for the American Way, September 13, 2006
http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?oid=22373

3. "Top 5 things Sen. Specter won't tell you about the Cheney-Specter bill," ACLU
http://action.aclu.org/site/PageServer?pagename=SpecterTop5

4. ACLU Letter to the Senate Regarding Strong Opposition to the Substitute Version of S. 2453, the "National Security Surveillance Act of 2006" May 16, 2006
http://www.aclu.org/safefree/nsaspying/25578leg20060516.html

**Note: The bill has changed slightly from when this letter was written, however the sections accepting the president's claim of inherent authority remains

5."Judge Rules Against Wiretaps," Washington Post, August 18, 2005
http://www.moveon.org/r?r=2096&id=8810-7044335-F.MzHvSlmDtHlX75J_Jqpg&t=4

"On NSA Spying: A Letter to Congress," New York Review of Books, February 9, 2006
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/18650

McCain: Bush Does Not Have "The Legal Authority To Engage In These Warrantless Wiretaps," ThinkProgress, January 22, 2006
http://thinkprogress.org/2006/01/22/mccain-wiretaps-illegal/

6. "Top 5 things Sen. Specter won't tell you about the Cheney-Specter bill," ACLU
http://action.aclu.org/site/PageServer?pagename=SpecterTop5

7. "NSA Bill Performs a Patriot Act," Wire News, September 13, 2006
http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,71778-1.html?tw=wn_story_page_next1

8. "Today's Republican circus trick: Legislating in the Dark," Senator Leahy, provided by the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, September 13, 2006
http://www.bordc.org/threats/leahy91306.php

9. ACLU Slams Senate Judiciary Committee Approval of NSA Spying Bills, ACLU, September 13, 2006
http://www.aclu.org/safefree/nsaspying/26722prs20060913.html

"Rule of Law"
President Bush wants Congress to pass legislation that would authorize indefinite detention, unfair trials, and immunity for torture and cruel treatment.
HTTP://www.PFAW.org/go/RuleOfLaw


C-SPAN: U.S. Constitution Vignette




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Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear. --Harry S. Truman
http://www.apfn.net/


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