Cheney-Specter Spy Deal Threatens Basic Constitutional Freedoms
A disturbing deal cut by Dick Cheney and Senator Arlen Specter is moving through
the Senate Judiciary Committee toward the Senate floor. This horrible bill would
set government spies loose in new ways that further undermine our constitutional
The Cheney-Specter bill would make presidential compliance with federal procedures
that help protect Fourth Amendment rights optional.
The bill would also vastly expand the government's power to search and spy
on American homes and businesses without any judicial checks. It would allow
the government to listen to Americans' international calls, and to read any
domestic or international email message of Americans -- if they don't know that
every sender and recipient is in the United States -- without any warrant or
evidence an American is conspiring with al Qaeda.
"President Nixon had ordered warrantless wiretapping of Americans and
claimed that he was above the law," said Lisa Graves, ACLU Senior Counsel
for Legislative Strategy. "History -- and current events -- show us that
FISA, although not perfect, is still needed to help protect our Fourth Amendment
rights. Congress should not weaken those protections. These proposed changes
ignore the very reasons FISA was enacted in the first place."
The White House has stonewalled congressional attempts to investigate the administration's
circumvention of FISA. And two weeks ago, President Bush personally blocked
an investigation by the Justice Department regarding the NSA's warrantless wiretapping
The ACLU will be pulling out all of the stops to prevent this "Patriot
Act on steroids" legislation from passing - stay tuned in the coming weeks
to learn how you can be involved.
To read more about illegal NSA spying, go to: www.aclu.org/nsaspying.