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Stop Specter's NSA Surveillance Bill

From the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

The White House and Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) have reportedly come to a sham compromise that would sweep the illegal NSA warrantless wiretapping activity and any further government surveillance under the rug, shuffling legal challenges out of the traditional court system and into the shadowy FISA courts. Tell Congress to reject this proposal and let cases like EFF's have a fair hearing in court.
Please take a moment right now and lend your support to this crucial effort. It's easy:
  1. Visit this site
  2. Add your name and address to the form.
  3. Click to submit the letter -- EFF will route it to your Congressmen, based on your address.
It's important that you do it right now -- don't read another blog post, don't get another cup of coffee, don't make another phone call. Specter's bill will move quickly to the floor for a vote and it is vital that you act NOW before it is too late to make a difference.

Please do it now -- it'll only take a moment of your time. Thanks.

Here's the text of the letter I sent:

As a constituent who cares deeply about respect for the rule of law, a fair judicial system, and the Fourth Amendment, I write to urge your opposition to Senator Specter's draft bill transferring challenges to the "Terrorist Surveillance Program" and future "electronic surveillance program[s]" to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and Court of Review (FISC and FISCR). I also urge you to oppose any other bill that would take such challenges out of the traditional court system.

If anyone involved in the NSA's spying has broken the law, he or she should be held accountable. This determination can only be made fairly in open federal and state courts. FISC and FISCR's secret, one-sided proceedings violate our nation's tradition of open judicial proceedings and due process of law.

The bill would also remove crucial Congressional and judicial checks on Executive power, gutting current statutory limitations in FISA. While FISA and the Wiretap Act are currently the "exclusive means" for conducting electronic surveillance within the United States, Specter's bill would gut these Congressional restrictions by endorsing the Executive's authority to bypass them.

Our government should not be able to secretly obtain blanket approval for current or future dragnet surveillance programs. The Fourth Amendment exists precisely to prevent such general warrants -- it was a direct response to the English Crown's indiscriminate, abusive searches during colonial times. Specter's end-run around this founding principle is plainly unconstitutional.

The bill attempts to evade meaningful judicial review, eliminate existing challenges to the spying program, and squash public debate. Please oppose Specter's bill and allow challenges to the spying program to have a fair hearing in court.

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