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Important Feingold Civil Liberties Amendments to Bush Anti-Terrorism Bill

By hillct in News
Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 10:16:26 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)

Sen. Russ Feingold, ( D - WI ) today blocked Bush's anti-terrorism bill which was being fast-tracked through congress with the help of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, (D-S.D). The fast-track process would have prevented debate or amendments to the `Uniting and Strengthening America Act' or the `USA Act of 2001', a bill which would place considerable new restrictions on our civil liberties. The Center for Democracy and Technology urges Support of the Feingold Amendments to the USA Act. For more information on the problems Sen. Feingold proposes to address, please read the CDT or ACLU legislation analysis. This is a very important issue, so please contact your representatives and encourage them to support the Feingold Amendments.

NOTE: The full text of the amendments will be available at 10:00am Thursday, October 11. I will post it soon thereafter

Update [2001-10-11 20:37:42 by Driph]:Declan McCullagh has posted drafts of the Feingold Amendments (PDFs) as well as a summary of their goals. He also has a Wired News Article on the subject.


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Liberty or Security?
o Liberty 54%
o Security 3%
o Ben Franklin 42%

Votes: 59
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Russ Feingold
o blocked Bush's anti-terrorism bill
o Tom Daschle
o `Uniting and Strengthening America Act' or the `USA Act of 2001'
o Center for Democracy and Technology
o Support of the Feingold Amendments
o Also by hillct

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Important Feingold Civil Liberties Amendments to Bush Anti-Terrorism Bill | 20 comments (14 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
Feingold Comments from the Senate Floor (4.70 / 10) (#2)
by gsaal on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 07:26:34 PM EST

This is what Sen. Feingold had to say about why he was holding up the vote on this bill that was scheduled for for 5:00.
I understand and certainly appreciate the urgency of this bill. It is very important we give the Department of Justice and our intelligence agencies the tools they need to combat and prevent terrorism, but it is also crucial that civil liberties in this country be preserved. Otherwise, I am afraid the terrorists win this battle without firing another shot.

It is our constitutional duty in this body to preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States. Our freedoms in part are what the terrorists hate about us. We cannot be expected to limit those freedoms without careful study and debate, and I do know--and the majority leader, of course, is right--how hard the leaders, the chairman, and the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee have been working on this measure, and I appreciate all they have done. But there has not been an open process in the Judiciary Committee, much less the full Senate, for Senators to have an opportunity to raise concerns about how far this bill goes in giving powers to law enforcement to wiretap or investigate law-abiding U.S. citizens.

Feingold attempts to save our asses yet again... (4.60 / 10) (#4)
by nstenz on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 07:38:32 PM EST

I've noticed that Feingold has been rather outspoken about civil liberties and privacy matters, and generally raises a stink about stuff like this... It makes me happy that someone I voted for is actually doing exactly what I wanted him to. I don't see that much (or the guy I vote for doesn't get elected).

I plan to write him a letter thanking him for all of the work he's doing. I hope the media doesn't tear him to shreds about him being 'unpatriotic' or something... Some of the comments made lately by our government officials about not cooperating with them have been just plain stupid... At least someone is trying to uphold a few of the beliefs this country was founded on... (Everyone is welcome to start the "...rich white guys who didn't want to pay taxes?" comments now.)

Let Feingold Know What a Wonderful Job He's Doing (4.25 / 4) (#6)
by grasshopper2 on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 07:51:46 PM EST

You can let him know what a wonderful job he's doing here.

Remember though, when contacting your congressional leaders to let them know what you think of this issue, do it by phone or FAX because most legislators still tend to ignore email.


[ Parent ]
Done.. (4.00 / 1) (#10)
by Danse on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 11:05:01 PM EST

I'm not a constituent of his, but I wrote him a message (via his website submission form) after I found out about this on that other site. Just thanked him as an American citizen rather than a constituent for what he is doing here. At least he'll know that some of us appreciate it.

An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
I actually like Feingold (none / 0) (#12)
by Spatula on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 09:23:54 AM EST

I'm a Wisconsinite, too, and I definitely voted for him last time around. I'm impressed that he actually gives a shit, unlike some other Senators I have voted for in the past.

Another respondent to your post recommended that we let Feingold know how much we appreciate his efforts, and I have, and I *definitely* will. This spring, I am going to D.C. once again to attempt to lobby my Representative and Senators on behalf of the Wisconsin Prison Moratorium Coalition, and even if this flops, I will let him know (in person, if possible) that I honestly appreciate his efforts on behalf of privacy and civil liberty.

Last time I was there, I stopped by Senator Feingold's office (with a previously arranged appointment) and personally thanked him for the good things he's done with his power. He was just a groovy guy, very down to earth and receptive. He *almost* had me convinced that he was interested in what I had to say (I still don't trust any politicians, sorry), and he actually went to Tommy Thompson a month or so later and asked him to put a moratorium on private prisons in Wisconsin. A result of my action? Not likely. More likely a result of the personal letter campaign organized by the coalition, but nonetheless, it was good-feeling-making for me.

The point of this anecdote is that much can be done by writing personal letters (with pens, not printers) to Senators and Representatives. They definitely notice the personal touch, and are much more apt to respond to the attention their constituents are giving to [enter issue here]. When I'm done with my morning surfing, information collecting and relaxing (3rd shift 0wnZ!), I'm going to send him yet another letter.

Please, do the same yourself, and urge your colleagues to do so as well. Nothing says "I took time to think about this situation, and I'm even willing to use pen, paper, envelope and stamp to make my feelings known to you" than a hand-written letter. I think they really do like getting them, too.

someday I'll find something to put here.
[ Parent ]

what's ashcroft's hurry? (3.50 / 4) (#11)
by mickj on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 12:29:49 AM EST

At best, any security or law changes won't really be effective until much later. Waving a wand and passing laws does not make threat of terrorism magically dissappear.

At worst, these laws just end up doing jack shit. That is of course, if terrorists get lawful all of a sudden.

The Sunset Provision (none / 0) (#13)
by Merc on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 09:37:51 AM EST

The lack of a "Sunset Provision" is the most worrysome feature of most of these bills. Bush says "we're fighting a war on terror, and we're going to win". Supposedly these bills are to stop terrorism. So, when terrorism has been eliminated from the planet, there will be no need for any of these measures, right? So why do so few of them have an expiration date? (Check out the ACLU chart).

Once all terrorists have been successfully bombed off the planet, and everybody loves the US, why will it still be necessary for the police to be able to share wiretap content with "any executive branch employee". Isn't this basically making the events that led up to the Watergate scandal completely legal?

"I am not a crook, I merely was given the wiretap information on some suspected terrorists in the opposition party."

oh man - lol! (none / 0) (#15)
by el_guapo on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 02:03:10 PM EST

"Once all terrorists have been successfully bombed off the planet, and everybody loves the US" we should be *really* close to succeeding with this, right? like i tell my kids when they ask "are we there yet", 10 more minutes....
mas cerveza, por favor mirrors, manifestos, etc.
[ Parent ]
Watergate (none / 0) (#18)
by rusty on Fri Oct 12, 2001 at 04:19:08 AM EST

Not really. The Watergate scandal was mainly the result of a B&E job by All the President's Bagmen. As far as I know, this legislation still doens't make it legal to break into opposition headquarters and steal all their files.

Although it might.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Feingold in Milwaukee this weekend (5.00 / 1) (#14)
by bmasel on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 11:24:38 AM EST

Friday and Saturday at the Wisconsin Academy of Letters and Sciences' forum on the Bill of Rights
Along with Representative James Sensenbrenner (R. WI) who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, and will undoubtedly sit on the Conference Committee, which will wrestle out differences between the versions of the Terrorism Act the House and Senate eventually pass.

I am not currently Licensed to Practice in this State.
The "smallness" of Government (none / 0) (#16)
by Ressev on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 04:11:18 PM EST

While I am mainly a Republican, I am greatly bothered by the apparent "power grab" by the executive branch. It is all fine and well to want to protect the citizens of this country and those from elsewhere who visit, but without provisions of ending the power granted or other gaurantees that would safegaurd the basic rights recognized 220+ years ago, we may as well tear up the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, and the Fedralist Papers.

I had mixed feelings about that particular Senator who defected and the results that would occur: on one hand it seemed unfair to his constituency and on the other it maintained the tension between the branches of Government that are needed. I am glad now that he did.

I am also glad that Feingold is taking the stance he is. While he recognizes the need for security he also recognizes the cost by which that security comes and the long term issue of abuse of power.

I run along the vein that a smaller government is better for those who consent to be governed (i.e. less taxes and less restrictions on freedoms) and for the government itself. There is nothing worse than a profesional bureaurocrat who is neither accountable to the electorate and outlasts those who appoint/hire him.

Hopefully the rest of Congress and the Senate will not forget the importance of our basic and essential freedoms that we enjoy and others may hate. Hopefully there can be more fat cut from the government's grip on our freedoms and rights that it itself is based upon.

sorry if this seems scattered, I am suffering from a rushed work schedule at present. Please forgive the typoes too.
"Even a wise man can learn from a fool."
"There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact." - Mark Twain

Game Over - Bill Passes 96-1, Amendments Defeated (5.00 / 1) (#17)
by EdFox on Fri Oct 12, 2001 at 02:47:58 AM EST

Senate passes anti-terrorism legislation (CNN)

The important paragraphs are as follows:

Citing concerns that the bill still infringes on Americans' civil liberties, Feingold offered three amendments to narrow the roving wiretap provision, limit law enforcement's access to workers' records after receiving permission from their employers, and to limit access to business records under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

After an appeal by Senate majority leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota, to keep the process intact, the Senate voted to defeat all of Feingold's attempts to alter the legislation.

"We have come up with a delicate, but yes, successful compromise," said Daschle. "There is no question all 100 of us could go through this bill with a fine-tooth comb and cherry pick and find improvements... we've got a job to do, the clock is ticking and the work needs to get done."

Feingold expressed frustration that he was rebuffed and that the Senate was voting on process, not the merits of the issues on what he called the most important civil liberties legislation in a generation.

Only 1 vote against... (none / 0) (#19)
by nstenz on Fri Oct 12, 2001 at 04:18:58 PM EST

This is just plain pathetic. I'm quite sure Feingold's amendments were reasonable- this damn country is going to turn into more of a police state than it already is if we don't do something.

How many of you voted for the people in office that passed that? How many of you that said yes agree with their decision? Write them and let them know how you feel. I'm going to thank Feingold for trying his best to reason with almost 100 idiots who "have a job to do" and can't afford to "waste time" debating piddly little issues like our freedom.

People piss me off. As someone's .sig says... Some people need to be shot, and a lot.

[ Parent ]

Update: Similar bill passes in House (none / 0) (#20)
by EdFox on Fri Oct 12, 2001 at 09:16:16 PM EST

CNN Story
There are few substantative differences, other than the Sunset clause, which the Senate has voice approval of.
A key difference is that the House bill includes a sunset provision, which would cause some of the expanded powers to expire in 2006 -- a provision opposed by the White House.

[ Parent ]
Important Feingold Civil Liberties Amendments to Bush Anti-Terrorism Bill | 20 comments (14 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
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