A letter to pro-FISA Democratic Senators

For Immediate Release Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Letters sent to Senate Democrats who voted for the FISA amendments

The Libertarian Party has sent letters to 22 Democratic Senators who voted for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act amendments in August of last year, urging them to reconsider against an upcoming Senate bill that would make those amendments permanent. The letter was also sent to Democratic Senators who did not vote at all for the amendments. “Given that Republicans have shown such disrespect for civil liberties and freedom in the past few years–evidenced by the fact that not a single Republican Senator voted against the FISA amendments–Democrats have an instrumental role in acting as a counterbalance in Congress,” says Shane Cory, executive director of the Libertarian Party.

The Senators receiving the letters are: Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE), Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA), Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Sen. Joseph Lieberman (ID-CT), Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR), Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO) and Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA).

The following is text from the letter:

Coming up in the near future, you will be deciding on a matter of great importance to freedom in the United States. You and your colleagues will soon be voting on Senate bill S.2248, which makes permanent the amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 that were passed in Senate bill S.1927 in August of last year. We are sending you this letter because of your position on S.1927, and strongly urge you to reconsider against S.2248.

During this prolonged War on Terror, numerous American civil liberties have been sacrificed in the name of “safety” for all Americans. As a nation founded by men escaping the tyranny of an authoritarian State, it greatly disturbs us to see America headed back towards tyranny again. We feel the amendments to FISA only take us farther down this ominous path.

A famous man once said:

“The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men.”

This man was none other than Sam Adams, one of the most celebrated men of the American Revolution. I’m sharing Adams’ quotation with you because I think there is much truth to what he had to say so many years ago. Tyranny can come from enemies both domestic and foreign, and we must not forget about one while focusing on the other. Since Sept. 11, 2001, we have been focusing so much attention on those who want to destroy American liberty from outside our borders that we ignored those who wish to do the same from the inside. Their tactics may be different, but their intent is still the same.

This is why your opposition to the FISA amendments is so crucial. You, as Democratic Senators, have the power to act as a counterbalance to the further expansion of the powers of the federal government and the erosion of civil liberties. American citizens rely on you to protect them and their rights from this encroachment.

So, please, when considering S.2248, remember that protecting liberty now is easier than trying to win it back in the future.

The Libertarian Party is America’s third largest political party, founded in 1971 as an alternative to the two main political parties. You can find more information on the Libertarian Party by visiting www.lp.org . The Libertarian Party proudly stands for smaller government, lower taxes and more freedom.