You’ve heard about the telecom immunity debate in the Senate.
(One place where it is discussed is in Carolyn’s Livejournal: (http://kadath.livejournal.com/631883.html)
Some months ago, I emailed one of my Senators, Amy Klobuchar, about her previous vote to authorize an extension on FISA rules. She had emailed me back, then, explaining that she thought it was right and necessary.
On the recent spate of votes for amendments to the FISA bill, my Senator voted to deny the telecom companies immunity. Even though those votes failed, and the immunity remained, at least she voted the right way.
Today, unsolicited and unprompted, she emailed me about the bills, explaining her vote. She remembered that it was an issue I gave a damn about, and took the time to contact me.
Her email is reproduced below. I emailed her back immediately praising her for her vote, and taking the time to tell me about it.
Thank you for contacting me concerning the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. I appreciate hearing from you.
I believe that long-term FISA legislation must strike the right balance between protecting our safety and protecting our civil rights. Both the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees of the Senate passed bills that proposed to elevate the role of the FISA court and provide more oversight of the government’s surveillance activities. While both bills represented improvements over the temporary law, I believe the Judiciary bill struck a more appropriate balance between security and privacy considerations, and I voted to move that version of FISA reform forward.
After a majority of the Senate rejected the Judiciary Committee’s bill, I voted for several amendments to incorporate key elements of the Judiciary bill into the Intelligence Committee’s bill, including an amendment to remove the provision granting blanket retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies. Unfortunately, each amendment was defeated. Since blanket retroactive immunity was included in the final version of the bill, I could not support the legislation passed by the Senate on February 12, 2008.
Thank you again for your input, and please don’t hesitate to contact me again regarding this or any other issue.
United States Senator