|Dear Mr. (Mike): |
Thank you for writing regarding the Bush Administration's request for legislation that would provide liability relief for telecommunications companies that are alleged to have provided assistance to the National Security Agency after September 11, 2001. I appreciate your thoughts on this topic, and welcome the opportunity to respond.
The Senate Intelligence Committee approved a bill on October 18th amending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) by a vote of 13-2. That bill, among many provisions, would provide immunity for such companies if they were specifically requested or directed to provide assistance to the government.
The Intelligence Committee's report on the bill includes declassified text stating that the Executive branch provided letters to electronic communication service providers at regular intervals. These letters all directed or requested assistance and noted that the assistance was authorized by the President and was legal. The Committee's report can be found at http://intelligence.senate.gov/071025/report.pdf.
I voted for the FISA legislation that passed out of the Intelligence Committee by a bipartisan vote of 13-2. The Senate Judiciary Committee did not take action on the portions of the bill dealing with immunity. The bill is now scheduled to go to the Senate floor. I am keeping an open mind to whether some other legislative approach besides immunity would be best.
Rest assured that I will make every effort to ensure that new FISA legislation will protect the privacy rights of all Americans without restricting the intelligence community's ability to protect us from attack.
Again, thank you for writing. I hope that you will continue to write on matters of importance to you. Should you have any further comments or questions, please feel free to contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841. Best regards.
United States Senator
In nutshell, she feels that since the Bush Administration told the telecoms to illegally hand over private information on U.S. citizens, they shouldn't be held liable. Senator Feinstein apparently believes that corporations have more rights than citizens. She is very much like Hillary Clinton in this regard. Which is why I can't support either of them. I thought women, on whole, were more pragmatic and progressive than men?! I guess that's no longer the case.