by Adam | Good morning all. This is the first of what will hopefully be an occasional series of guest posts of mine. Those who read Deb and Damozel's posts regularly know that I've been spending time here commenting since early February.
What follows is the text of an e-mail I sent my lone Democratic senator, Ken Salazar, yesterday. Salazar voted for the previous Rockefeller FISA bill which had contained retroactive immunity for the telecom companies, and he voted against the Dodd Ammendment (along with 16 of his fellow Democratic senators). The actual bill passed the senate with essentially the same set of senators crossing the aisle.
Subject: Please fight to oppose telecom immunity.
As a citizen of Colorado who supported your candidacy, I am writing to ask you to stand with your fellow Democratic senators such as Chris Dodd and Russ Feingold, and oppose a bill that grants retroactive immunity to telecommunication companies.
First, let us be clear: there is no great urgency in passing this bill. Intelligence services operated for years without this bill and can operate just fine if it expires. They are still allowed to tap international calls without this bill.
Furthermore, no matter what you may think of the need for intelligence services to have these powers, retroactive immunity for telecommunication companies does literally nothing to help our intelligence services. What it does is send the message to these corporations, which have extensive legal departments and knew full well that they were breaking the law, that they are above the law.
This vote is a vote about whether we are a nation of laws, and a nation that respects the civil rights of its citizens. A vote for the current bill is a vote that allows fear-mongering and corporate influence to undermine the core principles of our republic.
I was deeply disappointed to see you vote against senator Dodd's amendment to strip immunity in February. I hope you reconsider that vote this time around, and should that vote fail, I hope you will join other senators in supporting a filibuster so that a better bill can be drafted in conference committee.
Anyone is free to use that text in whole or part if they want. I urge you all to let your senator know how you feel about retroactive immunity for telecommunication companies.