In July 2008, Congress capitulated to the White House’s demands and scare tactics by passing the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, giving the NSA even more power to spy on Americans without warrants than it exercised under its illegal surveillance program. The ACLU is asking the court to protect the privacy rights of all Americans and declare the FAA unconstitutional.
THE GUTTING OF FISA
For years, the Bush administration illegally intercepted the emails and phone calls of millions of Americans. Rather than rein in this abuse of power, lawmakers on Capitol Hill caved in to the administration and gave the National Security Agency (NSA) even more expansive powers to spy on Americans than it had under the illegal warrantless wiretapping program President Bush secretly authorized in 2001.
The Constitution is the bedrock of our democracy; it ensures Americans the right to privacy and free speech. Electronic surveillance is highly invasive. By reading our emails and listening to our phone calls the government gets direct access to our thoughts, our feelings, our associates and our political views. Unrestrained and unchecked government surveillance not only intrudes upon Americans’ right to privacy, it also has the dangerous effect of chilling speech and political dissent. The power to spy is one that is easily abused and history is full of examples of what leaders are willing to do when tempted with unchecked power.
Electronic surveillance is a necessary tool in protecting our nation’s security, but it must be conducted constitutionally. That is why the ACLU is in court fighting on behalf of non-profits, attorneys and prominent journalists to strike down the FISA Amendments Act of 2008.
The ACLU has also asked the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to ensure that any proceedings relating to the scope, meaning or constitutionality of the FAA be open to the public to the extent possible and that the ACLU be allowed to make arguments about the constitutionality of the new law. The FISC oversees intelligence surveillance, typically operates in secret, and hears arguments only from the government.
The AccountabilityNowPAC was originally formed by our leftist Strangebedfellow members as a fundraising vehicle to block a Congressional leadership “compromise” on the corrupt FISA reauthorization bill now pending in the Senate. Over $300,000 has already been raised by the PAC, but we can do so much better than that! The goal of AccountabilityNowPAC is to become a permanent entity on the Washington DC political landscape which will let our politicians know that civil liberties MATTER. Our message to politicians in Washington is loud and clear: uphold constitutional rights and we will support you; abridge freedom in America and we will not be on your side. Democrat or Republican—it makes no difference to us. Our standard will be the same for all, so let’s end the surveillance insanity and take our country back. It starts right here—with AccountabilityNowPAC. This is our vehicle to enforce the sworn oath our political leaders take to preserve and defend the constitution. Make our politicians live up to their core pledge and promise. Make them ACCOUNTABLE—NOW.