Who stands with the President? News that the President authorized thousands of wiretaps on American citizens has been out for days now. The President has admitted repeatedly violating your civil liberties, in what amounts to at least 30 violations of the Foreign Intelligence Security Act (FISA). Even though the secret court set up by FISA has rejected only four warrant requests out of 15,000 since it began in 1979, the President violated the law because, as Senator Russ Feingold said, "[W]hen this revelation came out, no one claimed that the FISA procedure wasn't adequate; they just simply decided to do their own thing."
What can we do locally? We can get every one of our elected officials in Congress and the Senate on record as to whether they support violations of Federal law, and your Fourth Amendment rights, by the President. I encourage you to start with Representative Elton Gallegly, member of the majority and a senior member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Here are some questions you can consider asking him:
- Do you support the President's spying on American citizens without a warrant?
- Were you ever briefed on warrantless wiretaps before the New York Times published its story on December 16?
- As a member of the Intelligence Committee, have you ever voiced any objections to warrantless wiretaps to the President or to the Vice President?
- Do you have any handwritten notes in your desk like Senator Jay Rockefeller had?
- Did the government spy on me?
Of course, you should also ask at least the first of these questions to any representative who has not made a public statement, including Representative Lois Capps.
Your Senators have already spoken. You may want to thank Senator Barbara Boxer for taking a stand against illegal wiretaps by the President. Please thank Senator Dianne Feinstein for her efforts, too.