Stop Secret Spying Deal

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May 6, 2008, 4:31:14 AM5/6/08

Caroline Fredrickson, ACLU

Let Congress Know We're Watching!

In February, the House of Representatives heard the demands of voters like you and stood up to Bush administration demands for expanded surveillance powers and immunity for big phone companies that broke the law. But now, House leadership is on the precipice of caving in and handing over everything the President has demanded.

Your representative must hear that there will be a major backlash if he or she caves on FISA. Let your representative know you're watching.


Late Friday night, the ACLU caught wind of a dangerous backroom deal brewing. The “deal” would rush a House vote that would push through a dangerous sellout on government spying powers, possibly in the next few days.

We need you to immediately contact your member of Congress. Let your representative know you’re watching and expect him or her to stand firm. That means no immunity for lawbreaking phone and internet companies, and no spying on Americans without a warrant.

Let your member of Congress know you’re watching!

Back in February, the House stood up to President Bush’s fear-mongering tactics by letting the so-called “Protect America Act” expire. This ill-named bill eviscerated the protections of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and violated the constitutional rights of Americans.

This breakthrough victory for civil liberties came only because you and other ACLU activists refused to yield. Because of your emails and phone calls, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer rallied defenders of freedom to hold their ground.

But now, word comes that House leadership may be working hand-in-hand with Senator Jay Rockefeller, the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who has spearheaded efforts to give immunity to law-breaking phone companies that provided mountains of customer data to the government without warrants.

As discussions continue, it’s critical that House leadership avoid buckling to pressure from the White House or Senator Rockefeller at all costs. House leadership -- and every representative -- need to draw a line in the sand by rejecting any compromise that would undo the achievement we fought so hard for in February.

Make no mistake: any "compromise" that is acceptable to Senator Rockefeller and the President will undoubtedly let lawbreakers off the hook and seriously put at risk -- or even end -- lawsuits that may be the only way to get to the bottom of crimes that were committed by phone companies and Bush administration officials.

Demand that the House Stand Firm on FISA!

Let’s make it clear. We won’t tolerate:
  • Backroom deals on telecom immunity. Lawsuits may be our last chance to expose the truth about illegal spying activities by telecom companies and the Bush administration.
  • Backroom deals that let election year fear-mongering steal our freedom and undermine the rule of law.
  • Backroom deals that give Bush new powers to spy on Americans without a warrant.

With your help, we have worked relentlessly to protect freedom in the long-running FISA debate. Now, we need to make sure all that work isn’t undone by backroom deals. So, please, urge your representative to stand firm.

Let’s make sure every member of Congress knows how proud we are that the House has stood its ground and how outraged we will be if our representatives and House leadership reverse themselves now.

Please act quickly,

Caroline Fredrickson
Caroline Fredrickson, Director
ACLU Washington Legislative Office

P.S. Once you’ve emailed your representative, don’t forget to follow up with a phone call.

© ACLU, 125 Broad Street, 18th Floor New York, NY 10004

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