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Rick Noriega Responds to Sen. Dodd


by: Karl-Thomas Musselman

Mon Dec 17, 2007 at 10:11 PM CST


A number of your were probably paying attention to the huge FISA debate today in the Senate. Chris Dodd led the effort to block a version of the bill being put up for debate which included provisions to give amnesty (retroactively, no less) to telecom companies for potentially violating privacy rights to assist government surveillance efforts. Complicated sounding for the un-initiated so for more background information you may want to go here or here.

In short, "retroactive immunity", would wipe out a series of pending lawsuits alleging violations of privacy rights by telecommunications companies that provided telephone records, summaries of e-mail traffic and other information to the government after Sept. 11, 2001, without receiving court warrants. Bush had repeatedly threatened to veto any legislation that lacked this provision.

In Sen. Dodd's opinion (and many others) that doesn't quite square with the Constitution which is why he took to the floor and was prepared to filibuster. But luckily (at least until January), the Senate has chosen not to suspend reality or the Constitution resulting in a win for Chris Dodd and the progressive movement. We can have security (which many other parts of the FISA bill grant us) without having to sacrifice our liberties and privacy.

Rick Noriega backed up those thoughts today in this rather unique statement in support of Sen. Dodd's efforts.

"On Christmas morning 2004, outside of Kabul,  Afghanistan, my buddies and I drove to our base camp to use the computers. We wanted to be with our kids when they woke up that Christmas. To get there  we drove through a near ambush--anytime we drove on the Jalalabad Road, it was risky, and we had an incident on our way.

That Christmas morning, I suspect the government listened to our conversations. They occurred between two countries; Afghanistan and the US. They probably didn't realize the difference in tone in my voice as I spoke to my wife and children that morning as my heart raced still from our encounter on the road. My wife did.  

I fought to defend our country and our constitution in Afghanistan. I fought for the right to privacy for every Texan. Mr. Cornyn must now stand up for the privacy of every Texan and American too. We as a nation cannot grant anyone sweeping amnesty if they violated the law.

Americans understand the need for safety and the need for intelligence gathering. What they will not accept is an abuse of power, of crossing the line on American's privacy.

I would join Sen. Dodd in opposition to any retroactive provisions that allow a "get out of jail card" for violating the Constitution. If Mr. Cornyn had ever had the opportunity to have his Christmas conversation listened to by the government, on a day that he feared for his life in a convoy on Jalalabad Road, he would do the same."

Visit: Chris Dodd Online
Visit: Rick Noriega Online

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Hear! Hear! (0.00 / 0)
Good for Rick Noriega.  This horrible telecom amnesty bill must be stopped.

I really hope Bush... (0.00 / 0)
and his Republicans lose this one. Just another example of The Bush Administration dismissing Americans Constitutional Rights. I'm frustrated with how Bush constantly uses The War on Terror as a means to justify his violations.    

These telecom companies should be held responsible for their bad decision making, as should those government officials who suggested their service.


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