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A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have! - Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bob Barr Criticizes Congress for Capitulating on Constitution by Approving FISA Amendments

“Nearly three years ago the American people became aware that the president was systematically breaking the law by spying on phone calls and emails without seeking a warrant under the Constitution or even the relaxed standards of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Instead of holding the president and his aides accountable for violating the law, Congress has ratified his conduct by approving amendments which weaken FISA’s requirements,” notes Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party candidate for president. “Unfortunately, failing to uphold the law creates a golden invitation for future administrations to similarly take the law into their own hands.”

Advocates of the legislation, including presumptive Democratic Party nominee Barack Obama, claim that the amendments balance security and privacy. “To the contrary, the bill grants the government unprecedented power to surreptitiously spy on the phone calls and emails of American citizens in our own country, so long as the government claims to believe that they are communicating with someone not in the U.S.,” argues Barr. The measure “also grants immunity to telephone companies which aided the government’s law-breaking. So much for the rule of law,” Barr adds.

“The administration and its supporters have used the terrorist attacks of September 11 as an excuse for a host of power grabs, even though the government failed to protect Americans on that tragic day because it didn’t use the authority that it already had,” explains Barr. Warrants were virtually never refused under FISA, “yet rather than updating the law, the Democratic-controlled Congress decided to gut it.”

“Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats can be trusted to protect the privacy and civil liberties of the American people,” says Barr. “As president, I would never forget that it is a free society which we must defend. We must never sacrifice the individual freedoms that make America so unique.”

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