Sen. Feinstein Responds To Netroots On "Good Faith" FISA Amendment

(full disclosure: I work for the Courage Campaign) You have Senator Feinstein's attention. All of your calls are getting through to her. The proof:

(full disclosure: I work for the Courage Campaign)

You have Senator Feinstein's attention.

All of your calls are getting through to her. The proof: her Communications Director actually felt compelled to respond directly to the Courage Campaign this morning after bloggers, CREDO Mobile, MoveOn and others flooded her phone lines.

At issue: Besides the general argument for or against immunity for the law-breaking telecom companies are the two amendments Senator Feinstein is pushing forward, one of which is her "good faith" amendment, a "compromise". That amendment according to Glenn Greenwald has a reasonable chance of passage.

Here is why this "compromise" to have the FISA courts determine if the companies deserve immunity is such a bad idea:

Scott Gerber, Senator Feinstein's communications director, claimed that Feinstein's amendment to have the FISA court decide immunity is a "reasonable alternative." Gerber pointed out that the "state secrets" privilege would not apply, that those already in litigation could make their case against immunity to the FISA court, and that their decision could be appealed. But this plan is still far from reasonable. Americans not already party to a telecom lawsuit would not be able to go in front of the FISA court and if immunity were granted would never get to seek justice.

More importantly, the FISA court would still merely have to agree with the Bush Administration that the telecoms acted in "good faith" for immunity to be granted. The Senate has no place making any provision to immunize companies guilty of illegal activity, and Feinstein's amendment merely gives the appearance of protecting the rule of law while stacking the deck in favor of immunity.

The ACLU is on record opposing this concept, though they have not specifically commented on this official amendment.

Meanwhile, CREDO Mobile just released a statement on the "good faith" amendment:

"We oppose the Feinstein compromise on FISA. It plays into the hands of AT&T, Verizon and the Bush administration. Federal courts already have the power they need to handle cases against the telecom companies while protecting state secrets. Senator Feinstein's amendment is a recipe for immunity by secret court and amounts to an unnecessary turn away from the rule of law."


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Long story short. Sen. Feinstein "good faith" amendment bad. Your calls good.

Keep up the pressure. We have until Monday at 4:30 EST on Monday to make sure our Senators do not cave by passing "compromises" that undermine our Constitution, our privacy and the rule of law.

Here is the Capitol Switchboard, which will put you through to your Senator: 202-224-3121. Fill up their voicemail boxes at night and flood their phone lines during the day.

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