Friday, June 20, 2008

Larsen Votes NO On Telecomm Immunity

Among those Democrats who opposed immunity for the telecomm's and stood up for the rule of law, equal justice and the Constitution was our own Democratic Representative Rick Larsen (WA-02).

Today in the House of Representatives, "The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act update passed 293-129, with support from just 107 Democrats. Opposing the measure were 128 Democrats and one Republican, Rep. Timothy Johnson of Illinois."

House votes to expand Bush wiretap powers, telecom immunity
Nick Juliano -
Published: Friday June 20, 2008

Less than 24 hours after introducing a controversial measure to expand President Bush's authority to spy on Americans, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives on Friday voted to approve the administration- and Republican-supported bill, sending it to the Senate where it will likely be adopted.

Civil liberties and privacy advocates forcefully panned the measure, which was crafted behind closed doors in negotiations among moderate Democrats, Republicans, the White House and telecommunications lobbyists.

"It’s Christmas morning at the White House thanks to this vote," Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office, said in a news release. "The House just wrapped up some expensive gifts for the administration and their buddies at the phone companies." ...(full article)
Unfortunately our Washington State Congressional delegation wasn't covered with glory today. Only three of our nine Representatives voted against the "FISA Amendments Act of 2008".

FISA Amendments Act of 2008

WA-03 Baird, Brian (D)
WA-06 Dicks, Norm (D)
WA-09 Smith, Adam (D)
WA-04 Hastings, Doc (R)
WA-05 McMorris, Cathy (R)
WA-08 Reichert, Dave (R)

WA-01 Inslee, Jay R (D)
WA-02 Larsen, Rick (D)
WA-07 McDermott, Jim (D)


Larsen Votes “No” on Retroactive Immunity

For Immediate Release
June 20, 2008

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Representative Rick Larsen (WA-02) voted today against the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act of 2008. Larsen released the following statement:

“Americans who may have been the targets of illegal surveillance have the right to a fair hearing in a federal court. But as a result of this bill, the Bush Administration could be let off the hook for its warrantless wiretapping program.

“The question our federal courts should be allowed to decide – free from congressional intervention -- is whether the law was broken, not whether the Administration wrote permission slips to break it.

“I have supported legislation to establish a strong, effective FISA court and provide the intelligence community with the tools it needs to protect us. But the Bush Administration has placed greater importance on retroactive immunity. This is nothing less than an attempt to protect itself from the legal consequences of its actions at the expense of our national security.”

In November 2007 and in March 2008, Larsen voted for legislation which would have clarified and expanded current FISA law to provide the intelligence community with the tools it needs to keep us safe while maintaining basic rights for American citizens.


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