the Protect America Act establishes a Big Brother spy network that has powers beyond anything George Orwell could have imagined. Thanks to the new law, the governmentâ€™s electronic spy network now has the power to listen to your telephone calls, read your emails, intercept your online financial transactions, and watch where you go and what you do on the Internet. Because thereâ€™s no court approval or oversight, the Bush White House can direct this spying to take place against American citizens who arenâ€™t suspected of any crime, for political or personal reasons, without anyone being able to stop it.
And yes, Virginia, the Protect America Act is not just a bill sitting there on Capitol Hill but a fully-fledged law. Fortunately, it expires on February 1, 2008. Unfortunately, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid seems intent on bringing up legislation (the FISA Amendments Act) to extend it either for a long time or indefinitely. The National Journal reports that Senator Reid will bring up a bill to reauthorize the Protect America Act for consideration TOMORROW.
Read the FISA Amendments Act for yourself. Listen to the audio of a ACLU conference call made yesterday with updates on the subject. Then call the Congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to the offices of the Senators from your states.
But don’t just call your senators. Call Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut. In December, Dodd mounted a filibuster effort that kept the FISA Amendments Act from being reauthorized as distracted Americans prepared for Christmas. Now Americans are distracted by the presidential campaign and the death of Heath Ledger (you can always depend on Americans to be distracted by something). Will Senator Dodd lead another filibuster, or will he remain silent and let the bill pass?
Dodd has been suspiciously silent about his plans so far, and I can’t find a reference of anyone else willing to do the same. Call Chris Dodd’s Senate office at (202) 224-2823 and ask him to make a stand for liberty and the rule of law again. We need another filibuster.