UPDATE: Another group has been added to the letter.
Privacy Lives joins 27 groups (including the ACLU, Center for National Security Studies, and United Methodist Church’s General Board of Church and Society ) in urging members of Congress to reject Sen. Kit Bond’s (R-MO) proposed legislation to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. In the letter (pdf), the groups said Sen. Bond’s bill, “unreasonably and unnecessarily authorizes broad surveillance of Americans’ international communications without meaningful Fourth Amendment protections: no individualized warrant issued by a court, no determination of probable cause of wrongdoing, and no specification of the location or means of the surveillance.”
House and Senate negotiators have been trying to reconcile the two chambers’ versions of the bill, which concerns the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program and FISA. Earlier, I blogged about a letter from Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Chris Dodd (D-CT) to Congressional leaders; the letter was highly critical of Sen. Bond’s “compromise” legislation.
The groups wrote in their letter, “Neither Sen. Bond nor the administration has made a persuasive case that these sweeping new powers are needed or that existing authorities are inadequate to ensure the effectiveness of U.S. intelligence-gathering activities.” The groups detailed five significant privacy, civil liberty, and security problems with Sen. Bond’s proposed legislation.