Because of your interest in the Foreign intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), I want you to know that I voted against H.R. 6304, the FISA Amendment Act on June 20, 2008. The bill unfortunately passed the House by a vote of 293 to 129.
Let me begin by saying that this legislation is a vast improvement over previous law. The bill very importantly establishes that FISA is the exclusive means for electronic surveillance by the
Over the past year I have fought hard against and voted against granting retroactive immunity to the telecommunications companies who participated in the President's secret surveillance program which monitored thousands of
While the bill does not explicitly grant retroactive liability protection to telephone companies for information they provided under the warrantless surveillance program, the measure requires federal and state courts to promptly dismiss lawsuits against such communications service providers. The attorney general must certify that 1) the phone companies received written requests that certified that warrants were not required by law to collect such information, 2) the
information provided was intended to be used to prevent terrorism, and 3) the requests for information were authorized by the President. I believe this threshold is too low and is tantamount to retroactive immunity.
Throughout our nation's history, the judiciary has been the most important check on an overzealous executive, and it is often through the judicial process that we uncover and remedy some of the most egregious executive misconduct. This legislation undermines and effectively nullifies the courts' ability to hold the Administration accountable for its actions, which I believe violated the Constitution.
If you have any questions or comments, let me hear from you. I value what my constituents say to me because I need your thoughts and benefit from your ideas.
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Sincerely,Anna G. Eshoo
Member of Congress