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Friday, February 15, 2008

Congressman fires back against warrantless wiretaps on Americans

On Feb. 13, New Jersey Congressman Rush Holt took to the House floor to excoriate the president for supporting warrantless wiretaps.

During his speech, Holt specifically attacked the Bush administration for showing what Holt considered a lack of respect for the American people.

"There has been a fundamental shift under the Protect America Act in the relationship between the people of this country and their government. It is whether or not the government regards the ordinary American with suspicion first," Holt said.

"Think about it. The reason this country and our liberty have survived so well is because the government understands they are subservient to the people."

The Protect America Act just recently passed the Senate by a 68-29 margin.

The act includes a warrantless wiretapping provision for foreign-to-foreign communications and retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.

The bill also states that the government would not have to obtain a warrant for foreign-to-American communications and would allow the government to install monitoring stations in telephone and internet facilities inside the United States without obtaining a warrant.

Conversely, the Restore Act Holt mentioned in the clip does not grant immunity for telecoms or give the government the authority to wiretap American-to-foreign communications without a warrant.

However, the Restore Act does include a provision that would allow the Bush administration to wiretap foreign-to-foreign communications without a warrant.

Original here

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