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Write a Letter to the Editor Today on Surveillance Reform and the JUSTICE Act

If you care about the expansion of government surveillance lacking the basic constitutional requirement of giving a judge a reason, I strongly suggest that you take some form of action today. A good start is to contact your senators and ask them to cosponsor the strongest surveillance reform bill in Congress today: the JUSTICE Act, S. 1686. A second step is to call the Senate Judiciary Committee Majority office at (202) 224-7703 and make plain your desire for Senate Democrats to incorporate the reforms of the JUSTICE Act when a surveillance bill is forwarded out of that committee next Thursday.

A third step is to spread the word. This is a necessary task because professional journalists are largely ignoring the fast-developing surveillance policy changes. The easiest, most effective way for Americans to share their views with large numbers of others is through a letter to the editor of a local newspaper. Here’s the text of a letter I just sent to the editor of the Portland Press Herald:

Politicians in Washington, DC have told us that it’s necessary to curtail our 4th Amendment rights and conduct warrantless “sneak and peek” searches of Americans and their property in order to protect us from foreign terrorists. But as Senator Richard Durbin revealed this week in Judiciary Committee proceedings, “Well over 90% of these sneak-and-peek operations take place in circumstances that do not involve terrorism in any way.” Indeed, according to further Judiciary Committee testimony, only 3 of the 763 sneak and peek searches in fiscal year 2008 were for terrorism cases.

Why, if search and seizure of Americans’ property without warrants is all about stopping terrorists, are so many of the warrantless sneak-and-peeks carried out in cases unrelated to terrorism? Why, if terrorism is the real reason for politicians to undermine our 4th Amendment rights, did the Senate Judiciary Committee vote on October 1 against restricting such searches to terrorism cases?

What’s really going on here? What are these searches really being used for? The American people have a right to know.

If ten of us write a letter to the editor today, and if just one of those ten letters is published, tens of thousands of Americans will know a little bit more about what’s going on.

Will you write a letter today?

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