Stop Spying on Americans! Ask Congress to Roll Back Executive Powers Allowing Warrantless Wiretapping
Washington, DC | Friday, October 16, 2007 | www.adc.org | This week the
House of Representatives and Senate will separately consider bills that would roll back some of the more egregious provisions of a new law which gives the government sweeping new powers to spy on Americans through the interception of electronic communication.
Tell Congress to repeal the Protect America Act (PAA) and fight attempts to make the law permanent. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is encouraging members and supporters to call, rather than email, their congressional offices as the vote on this issue is happening in the next two days. Find contact information for your representative and two senators at the following link:
1. Vote in *support of individualized warrants*-The government should not be granted “basket” warrants that apply to several cases. Rather, the government should be required to obtain a warrant on a case-by-case basis from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court in an effort to limit government abuse.
2. Vote *against telecom immunity*-Courts are currently hearing several cases to determine whether telecommunication companies violated privacy rights of Americans when they handed over data to the National Security Agency (NSA). The White House and some members of Congress are attempting to grant these telecom companies retroactive immunity from future prosecution.
3. Vote *against making the Protect America Act permanent*-The PAA must be rolled back.
4. Vote *against a motion to recommit*-The motion to recommit is a procedural measure offered in an attempt to make the PAA permanent and grant retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies.
The Protect America Act (PAA) was rushed through Congress with little review before the August Congressional recess. The PAA could potentially allow the warrantless surveillance of any international communication by persons in the US or international communications coming through the US.
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is especially concerned that the Arab-American community is the target of much of the government’s surveillance. There is no doubt that communication between Arab Americans and their family and friends abroad in the Middle East
are under particular scrutiny by the National Security Agency (NSA). ADC believes our nation can be vigilant on national security without stripping the civil liberties of innocent Americans or creating a negative image of our nation overseas.
*LEGISLATION & TIME FRAME*
Two bills were recently introduced in the House of Representatives to roll back some of the more egregious sections of the Protect America Act (PAA). House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) and Congressman Silvestre Reyes (D-TX) sponsored HR 3773, the Responsible Electronic Surveillance That is Overseen, Reviewed, and Effective (RESTORE Act). Separately, Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) introduced HR 3782, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Modernization Act. (/Find links to bill text
Last week, the House Committee on the Judiciary and the House Committee on Intelligence reviewed and passed the RESTORE Act. Attempts were made in both committees to attach amendments making the PAA permanent and giving retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies.
On Wednesday, October 17, the full House of Representatives will consider the RESTORE Act. Congressman Holt may offer his bill as an amendment during the debate. ADC supports the adoption of the Holt amendment. Additional amendments, similar to those offered in committee to make the PAA permanent and grant retroactive immunity to telecoms will likely be offered again during floor consideration.
On Thursday, October 18, the Senate will consider their version of a bill to roll back parts of the Protect American Act (PAA). Only members of the relevant Senate committees and the Bush Administration have seen text of this bill. It will be *voted on in committee without being made public*. Congressional sources have said the Senate bill will contain
retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies that have handed information and data over to the government since September 2001.
.HR 3773, the RESTORE sponsored by Congressmen Conyers and Reyes
.HR 3782, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Modernization Act
sponsored by Congressman Holt https://www.adc.org/PDF/holt.pdf
.ADC Press Release: ADC Joins Coalition Letter Opposing Warrantless Spying