Thank you for contacting me regarding the White House's unwarranted invasion of Americans' privacy. I appreciate hearing from you on this issue.
I wanted to share with you my recent comments from the floor of the House in opposition to HR 6304, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) legislation. I believe that our civil liberties are undermined with the unfortunate passage of this legislation. I assure you, in my mind the only thing this bill succeeds in compromising is our constitutional freedoms and I know of no justification for this blanket disregard of the law and the public trust.
“Have we forgotten what our ancestors have done in the cause of liberty? Don’t we realize there are some lines we can never cross? Don’t we realize we should never legitimize illegal violations of America’s privacy rights, which this bill does? This bill says if the telecommunication companies violated America’s privacy willfully, knowingly, knowing it was illegal, we are giving them immunity. Where is the excuse for that? Where is the excuse for turning a nation of laws into a nation that will be led by a president who knows how to manipulate our fears? We have got to know the law is our ultimate guardian of liberty, and those on this side have accused us of having a pre-9/11 mentality. Let me remind them that July 4, 1776, was pre-9/11. And heaven help us the day that those values are shucked aside at the service of fear.”
As you are aware, FISA contains procedures for safeguarding Americans’ privacy by requesting warrants before spying on individuals suspected of espionage or terrorism. The House has twice faced the expiration of the Protect America Act amendments to FISA since its inception. While continuously we have fought to require that the president follow normal law enforcement precedents by obtaining a warrant before spying on Americans, the president still has insisted on several disconcerting loopholes to allow for warrantless eavesdropping on American citizens. We need to send the message that if the president comes to you and asks you to break the law, as appears to be the case here, then the right thing to do is tell him "no." Regrettably, and despite my strong opposition, H.R. 6304 passed the House by a vote of 293-129 and has moved to the Senate where it is expected to pass. This is not the message we should be sending to this administration, to the violators of our privacy. Where is the accountability? Haven’t the American people been lied to enough?
I want to say a few more words on the power of fear. It’s a theme that has prevailed under the Bush Administration. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt once used this word to inspire hope in the face of darkness, brotherhood in the face of personal uncertainty. In contrast, this administration has used this word as a means to inspire hatred and mislead the American people. Fear may have brought us here. Let it be hope that lifts us out. You can continue to count on me to demand accountability from this administration.
I invite you to view my full House Floor speech on this subject by visiting my website:
Very truly yours,
Member of Congress
I'm so proud to have this man as my Congresscritter, I can't even begin to tell you. So when I bitch and moan and scream about what inane fuckwits infest our House, when I tell you what a raving bunch of complete losers infest Congress, you'll know: Jay Inslee is one of the few that I adore without reservation. He's never let me down. That's something I never thought I'd say about a politician, but it's true of him. He's one of the most stalwart defenders of the Constitution we've got, and he deserves a tip o' the premium shot glass.
Jay - un mundo de gracias. ¿Funcionará para el presidente, por favor?