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    House to Vote on FISA Amendments Bill Today

    The House and Senate negotiators have agreed on language (pdf) for the FISA Amendments bill, which concerns the NSA warrantless wiretapping program. The House will vote on this new language today. I urge you to go to the Action Alerts below and make your voice heard against this unreasonable and unnecessary legislation that would allow broad surveillance of U.S. citizens without meaningful Fourth Amendment protections.

    For those who need background on this, I have discussed the various issues before here and here and here. The new language gives immunity to the telecommunications companies — though legislators say that there will be a court review process, even Sen. Kit Bond and House Minority Whip Roy Blunt have admitted the inevitable result is retroactive immunity for all telecommunications companies that participated in the warrantless wiretapping program.

    CNN reports: “At a press conference, House Minority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Sen. Christopher Bond, R-Mo., said the only result that could occur from a court review of the lawsuits against the [telecommunications] companies would be that plaintiffs would be prevented from pursuing the cases.”

    Here is the Bush Administration’s analysis (pdf) of the FISA Amendments bill.

    Here is Sen. Russ Feingold’s response to the new language.

    Numerous civil liberty groups have provided analysis of the new language: 

    — American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

    American Civil Liberties Union and its Action Alert

    Cato Institute

    Center for Democracy and Technology

    Electronic Frontier Foundation and its Stop the Spying site Action Alert

    MAS Freedom

    Also, here’s an interesting New York Times Editorial: “Mr. Bush v. Bill of Rights”

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