DETROIT As the Senate debates a major overhaul of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan called on Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow to vote no on this unconstitutional measure. Last month, the House of Representatives passed the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (H.R. 6304), a bill that not only allows for the wide, sweeping and unwarranted collection of Americans’ communications, but also grants immunity to telecommunications companies for their role in domestic spying. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill on July 8. The ACLU of Michigan vehemently opposes this legislation.

"Since 9/11 it seems the Bush administration, with Congress as a willing accomplice, has reduced the U.S. Constitution to a mere list of suggestions that can be sidestepped whenever convenient,” said Shelli Weisberg, Legislative Director of the ACLU of Michigan. “We, as Michigan residents, have a responsibility to demand our senators stand up to this administration and protect the Constitution and the rule of law.”

"High-ranking Republicans have touted the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 as a victory for the administration. As Senate Intelligence Ranking Member Senator Christopher Bond (R-MO) told reporters, “I think the White House got a better deal than even they had hoped to get.” 

“After years of being outraged at the Bush administration’s flagrant disregard for FISA, Congress is now poised to give the president even greater powers to spy on our phone calls and emails,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “Not only will the FISA Amendments Act allow for the wholesale violation of Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights, it will shut the door on investigations into the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program by closing active court cases. The Senate is the last opportunity for any real improvements to be made to this legislation senators should fix the bill or vote it down.”

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