Please use the link at the bottom of this post to oppose letting Bush off the hook.
This week, the Senate is planning to quietly hold a vote that would pardon President Bush for breaking the law by illegally wiretapping innocent Americans without warrants. According to Senator Leahy, the bill would "...immunize officials who have violated federal law by authorizing such illegal activities."
President Bush broke the law, and courts are starting to agree. Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter once said the program was illegal "on its face." But he has now caved to pressure from Vice President Cheney, and introduced legislation that marks a new low: the bill justifies everything the president did. Worse, it makes it legal to wiretap Americans, in secret, without warrants or oversight, whenever the administration wants to.
So far, Democrats and some Republicans are holding strong against the bill, and there are good chances to stop it if enough of us speak up.
Many legal experts agree that the president's program to wiretap Americans who have nothing to do with terrorism violates the law. President Bush already has the authority to wiretap suspected terrorists—and we support that. In fact, his administration can tap anyone it likes as long as it gets an OK from a court a few days later.
Congress should be trying to hold him accountable—that's their job. Instead, some Republicans are trying to let President Bush off the hook completely. In fact, the legislation would give the president even more unchecked power.
Here are some quick facts about the Cheney-Specter bill:
- It allows President Bush—and every president after him—to wiretap Americans indefinitely, in secret, without a warrant and without any oversight.
- It effectively pardons the president for any illegal behavior by forcing Congress to concede that he has the inherent authority to conduct the program4—something federal courts, numerous legal experts and many leading Republicans disagree with.
- It completely guts FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) which has protected the privacy of Americans against illegal wiretaps for close to 30 years.
- It prevents any legal challenges from taking place in the public court system. Instead, it moves all cases to a secret court, where only Bush administration officials can argue it.
- It would help "immunize" any officials who broke the law in this program from being held accountable in the future.
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