Washington, DC - Today the American Civil Liberties Union welcomed proposed legislation from Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ) that would protect vital constitutional rights. The bill, "The FISA Modernization Bill of 2007," counters the Democratic leadership's "RESTORE Act," also introduced today. Both bills are attempting to fix the disastrous "Protect America Act" that was rushed through Congress in August and rubberstamped the administration's warrantless wiretapping program. The ACLU believes that Rep. Holt's bill is constitutional because, unlike the RESTORE Act, it does not include so-called basket warrants for American communications. Blanket warrants do not require individualized suspicion and are tantamount to no warrant at all.
The following can be attributed to Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:
"Representative Holt's bill addresses the administration's intelligence concerns without giving up any ground on civil liberties. It protects privacy rights by limiting the scope of surveillance to foreigners communicating with other foreigners and also demanding the destruction of any American information inadvertently obtained during intelligence gathering.
"This bill does nothing to impede government agencies working to keep us safe and does everything to restore the rights that were disregarded by the Protect America Act. In fact, it is a direct and constitutional answer to the Protect America Act. This bill ultimately proves that we can protect our country from threat and keep the Fourth Amendment intact. If it must pass something, Congress should use Representative Holt's bill as it moves forward on fixing the mistake of the Protect America Act."