ACLU Applauds Constitutional Stand of Progressive Caucus

October 5, 2007 12:00 am


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Washington, DC – The American Civil Liberties Union today lauded a move by the Congressional Progressive Caucus to bring a controversial spy law back in line with the Constitution. The caucus, made up of 72 members of Congress, released eight basic principles that it says must be included in any changes made to the Protect America Act (PAA). The PAA was rushed through Congress this summer and eviscerated the very law it was supposed to update – the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

“It’s critical that House leadership adhere to the principles laid out by the caucus,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “When it comes to legislating surveillance guidelines, protecting our constitutional rights must be a priority. The ACLU is thrilled that the Congressional Progressive Caucus has recognized that and we stand behind them fully.”

Thanks in part to the efforts of the Progressive Caucus, introduction of the leadership bill has been postponed, giving lawmakers more time to include basic constitutional safeguards in the legislation. For its part, the ACLU is also asking that fundamental civil liberties protections be included in the legislation, such as strict guidelines to ensure that individualized warrants be mandatory for intercepting Americans’ communications. In addition, the ACLU is adamant that a controversial proposal giving telecommunications companies a get-out-of-jail-free card be left out of any draft legislation. The phone companies should be held accountable for their role in the administration’s warrantless eavesdropping.

To read more about the ACLU’s work on the Protect America Act and FISA, go to: www.aclu.org/fisa

To read the ACLU’s blueprint for FISA reform, go to: www.aclu.org/safefree/general/31927prs20070925.html

To read the CPC’s statement and learn more about the Caucus, go to: http://cpc.lee.house.gov

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