Feingold (and ACLU): I Told Congress So

I’ll have more on this shortly. But if I were Feingold, my statement about the abuse of the warrantless wiretapping program would have been even stronger.

Since 2001, I have spent a lot of time in the Intelligence Committee, the Judiciary Committee, and on the floor of the Senate bringing attention to both the possible and actual effects of legislation that has dangerously expanded the power of the executive branch to spy on innocent Americans.  Despite these efforts, Congress insisted on enacting several measures including the USA PATRIOT Act, the Protect America Act, and the FISA Amendments Act, embarking on a tragic retreat from the principles that had governed the sensitive area of government surveillance for the previous three decades.  Congress must get to work fixing these laws that have eroded the privacy and civil liberties of law-abiding citizens. In addition, the administration should declassify certain aspects of how these authorities have been used so that the American people can better understand their scope and impact. [my emphasis]

Update: Caroline Fredrickson of the ACLU engages in some well-earned "I told you so" speech, too.

“Congress was repeatedly warned that this type of abuse would be the obvious outcome of passing the FISA Amendments Act,” said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “Congressional leadership promised after this law’s passage that it would be reexamined along with the Patriot Act. It’s time to fulfill that promise and restore the checks and balances of our surveillance system. Warrantless surveillance has no place in an America we can be proud of. These revelations make it clear that Congress must now make a commitment to rein in government surveillance.”

11 replies
  1. WilliamOckham says:

    No kidding. Btw, has anybody figured out who in Congress was targeted? Have we started a betting pool?

  2. emptywheel says:

    Spencer’s got a post with the CODELs that might quality. Of those he lists, my money is on either Issa or Waxman, Issa bc I imagine the GOP considers him suspect as a Lebanese-American, and Waxman for obvious reasons.

  3. Arbusto says:

    One thing the Tea Baggers go right, by accident I’m sure, is “Taxation without representation”. FISA, as amended, was passed and action to repeal (let alone moonlight the Act) non-existent, because it supports Congress’s Corporate constituents actions, in lieu of the Constitution or Citizens rights.

  4. BoxTurtle says:

    I’m gonna guess Kerry. His trip created some wingnut outrage because of some of the folks he planned to meet, as I recall.

    I’m sure this will generate at least one more sternly worded memo, perhaps with an unenforced subpoena attached. Wonder if this congress will be as skilled at identifying those with memory loss for targetting as the prior congress.

    Boxturtle (Oo! Sunlight!!! Look at the roaches scatter)

  5. Mauimom says:

    Does anyone have a link to an “Obama site” where we could all go and register our disgust?

  6. timbo says:

    How about calling for a cancellation of all survelliance programs until how they were conducted can be reviewed? Seriously, is there a single survelliance program under the Bush Regime–or Obama Regime for that matter–that hasn’t violated the spirit and letter of the laws on the books at the time? Oh, and not to mention the Bill of Rights…

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