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Nadler: Fix FISA Law to Restore Freedoms

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 7:45 am    Post subject: Nadler: Fix FISA Law to Restore Freedoms
From Wed Sep 19, 2007 3:00 am to Fri Sep 21, 2007 2:59 am (included)
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8th Congressional District of New York

Nadler: Fix FISA Law to Restore Freedoms

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, September 18, 2007

CONTACT: Shin Inouye, 202-225-5635

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-08), Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, today delivered the following remarks at the House Judiciary Committee hearing titled, "Warrantless Surveillance and FISA: the Role of Checks and Balances in Protecting Americans' Privacy Rights (Part II)":

"I would like to thank Chairman Conyers for holding this hearing today.

"It is vitally important that we continue to examine the recently enacted White House bill that drastically altered the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The 'Protect America Act' was rushed through Congress just before the August recess and gives unnecessary license for the Administration to wiretap Americans without court supervision.

"I am particularly troubled by the Administration's ongoing 'charm offensive.' We have seen similar campaigns waged around other controversial and overbroad programs - the Patriot Act, the National Security Letter authority, the Military Commissions Act and others.

"Just last week, the Director of National Intelligence, Michael McConnell, had to retract earlier statements that the Act helped German authorities thwart a suspected terrorist plot earlier this month. Also, Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Wainstein wrote lawmakers to say the Act does not authorize physical searches of homes, domestic mail or people's personal effects and computers.

"Let's have some truth in advertising. The Act gives the President almost unfettered power to spy, without judicial approval, not only on foreigners, but on Americans. The National Security Agency is now permitted, without a warrant, to access virtually all international communications of Americans with anyone outside the US, so long as the government maintains that the surveillance is directed at people, including citizens that are "reasonably" believed to be located outside the US.

"I, for one, have little confidence in what this Administration may consider 'reasonable.'

"We must not forget the lessons of history. Both the Fourth Amendment and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act were responses to abuses by government officials who thought they were above the law.

"We all agree that we want to protect our national security and that foreign intelligence gathering is fundamentally different from domestic surveillance. However, we should also agree that the power to invade people's privacy cannot be exercised unchecked.

"As we consider how to fix the Protect America Act, we must restore the fundamental freedoms that were lost. We must focus surveillance on terrorist activity and provide meaningful court review to protect the rights of Americans who will be spied on in our country. We must act now to restore much-needed checks and balances into this damaged law.

"Thank you and I yield back the balance of my time."


Jerrold Nadler has served in Congress since 1992. He represents New York's 8th Congressional District, which includes parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn.
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