June 23rd, 2008 16:10 EST
Oppose Warrantless Wiretapping
CAIR is urging American Muslims and other people of conscience to call their senators today and urge them to vote against legalizing President Bush`s warrantless wiretapping program. The U.S. Senate is likely to vote on such legislation this week.
Concerned citizens should also express strong opposition to any legislation that provides immunity for telecommunications companies, some of which may have reportedly violated customer`s privacy rights by providing personal information to the government.
By a vote of 293-129, legislation known as the FISA Amendments Act passed the U.S. House last week. The bill not only extends the government`s ability to legally listen in on the telephone conversations of persons of interest, it also effectively grants legal immunity to telecommunications companies that helped in this surveillance.
Leslie Harris, CEO of the Center for Democracy and Technology President, said: "Under this flawed bill, intelligence agencies can authorize themselves to conduct surveillance."
According to the New York Times, the legislation confers "what amounts to legal immunity to the telephone companies that took part in President Bush`s program of eavesdropping without warrants after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001."
SEE: House Passes Bill on Federal Wiretap Powers (NY Times)
Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin said the bill "is not a compromise; it is a capitulation." Representative Zoe Lofgren of California said provisions of the bill "turn the judiciary into the administration`s rubber stamp."
SEE: Surveillance Bill Offers Protection to Telecom Firms (Washington Post)
SEE ALSO: House Passes New Surveillance Law (AP)
"The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act needs updating, but this bill moves too far in the direction of giving intelligence agencies unconstitutional powers," said CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor. "Not trusting unchecked authority is what the Constitution is all about."
ACTION REQUESTED: (As always, be POLITE and RESPECTFUL.)
1) CALL BOTH OF YOUR SENATORS and politely insist that each senator vote against legalizing warrantless wiretapping and telecom immunity.
Call the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. A switchboard operator will connect you directly with the offices of senators representing your state.
* As your constituent, I urge you to vote against any legislation that legalizes President Bush`s warrantless wiretapping program.
* I also want you to ensure that legislation that provides immunity for telecommunications companies, some of which may have violated my privacy rights by providing information to the government, are not granted any form of legal immunity.
2) ASK YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY to call their senators and urge them to vote against legalizing warrantless wiretapping and telecom immunity.