Senator Merkley's Spy Bill
Pass? Fix? Or Kill?
It's Up to Us!
Muslims in America can (and should) make the difference.
Right now there is a "Spy on Ameircans" Bill about to be passed (again) - And we are being offered a chance to say something and do something.
Here is the letter sent to us today - We want your feed back. Do you think they are serious? Will they really do it? Should we support these people?
(comments at bottom)
The U.S. House of Representatives recently voted to renew the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, a sweeping, Bush-era law that allows our government to trample our
Ostensibly designed to target people on foreign soil who don't enjoy the constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure afforded to American citizens, loopholes in the law allow massive amounts of warrantless spying on innocent Americans.
The FISA Amendments Act will expire unless it's renewed before the end of the year, but rather than use this opportunity to carefully consider how to fix the law, the Senate is on track to follow the House and rubberstamp its renewal.
Progressive champion Sen. Jeff Merkley recently introduced the Protect America's Privacy Act (S. 3515) to end warrantless spying on Americans.
We need to back up Sen. Merkley, who is courageously standing up for our constitutional rights — something few politicians have been willing to do in the decade since September 11.
While Sen. Merkley's bill does not repeal telecom immunity for illegal spying, restore privacy protection to library and bookstore records, end National Security Letter abuse, or roll back the worst abuses of the PATRIOT Act (all issues CREDO will continue to fight for, in addition to the full repeal of the PATRIOT Act), it does make three major changes to the warrantless wiretapping program that help us end some of the abuses of the Bush era.
First, it would put stronger protections in place to ensure that spy agencies are not using this program as an indirect way to target someone in the U.S.
Second, current law allows the government to collect information in anticipation of having its request to do so approved by a special type of top-secret court. Sen. Merkley's bill would ensure that if this court decides the procedures the government is using to collect information are improper, any information collected from Americans cannot be used in a legal proceeding.
Third, the bill would establish a new process for ensuring that if security agencies determine that information is being collected on Americans, that information cannot be accessed or searched until a proper warrant is obtained.
As ACLU Legislative Counsel Michelle Richardson said:
"This bill will give the FISA Amendments Act the overhaul it so desperately needs, restraining the government from unconstitutionally collecting and using vast amounts of data about innocent Americans. These amendments would allow collection against foreigners to continue while better protecting Americans and should be considered a win-win for both the intelligence community and the Constitution."
We need to stand up for our constitutional rights and end warrantless government spying on Americans.
Sen. Merkley's bill represents the best chance for making progress on this front this year.
Thank you for speaking out for our constitutional rights.
Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
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