What follows is a notice from FCNL [Friends'(Quaker) Committee on National Legislation] on a constitutional matter of great importance to ACLU. If you wish, you can go to the first FCNL website to send a message to Senators Kyl and McCain on the matter: link
Sen. Arlen Specter has struck a deal with the White House on a bill to allow the president to proceed without limits on his warrantless wiretapping program covering both telephone and electronic communications.
Under the new version of Specter’s bill, S.2453, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) would no longer be the "exclusive means" for governing domestic surveillance. The bill would ratify the president’s self-described "inherent authority" as the Commander in Chief, exempting him from seeking FISA court approval, either for the entire warrantless wiretapping program or for individual cases.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will take up this legislation on Thursday, August 3. If they take a vote, the bill will probably pass. But many senators, even supporters, have a number of questions about this complicated deal.
We need your help to persuade the members of the committee not to approve the bill this week. The committee should proceed carefully on a matter that affects the privacy of so many people in the United States. Please urge your senator to ask for more substantive hearings on the legislation. They should ask to hear from constitutional scholars, technical experts, private citizens, and organizations dedicated to protecting individual privacy, before they proceed with this or any similar legislation.