Friday, June 20, 2008

Mike Arcuri Joining Bush Republicans For Unlimited Spying

What a disappointment. Congressman Michael Arcuri has done it again. He's wimped out, gone soft as a noodle, and given in to Republican demands.

George W. Bush is a lame duck, the least popular President in American history. If ever there was a time when Mike Arcuri would be able to stand up Bush and the Republicans, now would be it.

Sadly, Representative Arcuri fails.

Michael Arcuri intends to vote in favor of expanding George W. Bush's powers yet again. Just as Arcuri supported the Military Commissions Act, which was just ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court this month, Arcuri is now supporting the FISA Amendments Act, H.R. 6304.

The FISA Amendments Act allows the White House to listen to our telephone calls, read your emails, and even track people's physical movements through GPS. Additionally, physical searches of Americans' homes and businesses is allowed at the whim of the Attorney General. Electronic surveillance is allowed without a search warrant, and without any real judicial review. The Attorney General sets the spying operations in motion, and then is the only one with the power to certify that they meet the requirements of the law and the Constitution. No congressional oversight.

Then there's the issue of retroactive immunity for telecommunications corporations that broke the law by helping President Bush spy on Americans without going to the FISA courts. The D.C. office of Congressman Michael Arcuri is shamelessly claiming that H.R. 6304 is a "compromise" that does not provide retroactive immunity.

If you have actually read the bill, you can see that Arcuri's office is not being honest in this regard. The legislation clearly gives retroactive immunity to telecommunications corporations, with nothing more required than the President's approval.

Attorney Kevin Bankston of the Electronic Frontier Foundation explains, "Whatever gloss might be put on it, the so-called 'compromise' on immunity is anything but: the current proposal is the exact same blanket immunity that the Senate passed in February and that the House rejected in March, only with a few new bells and whistles."

The provisions of H.R. 6304 are unconstitutional violations of the Constitution. The Bill of Rights clearly states that any searches by government officials must be upheld by a search warrant backed by proof of valid suspicion of criminal activity. H.R. 6304 purposefully evades these requirements, and makes the Bill of Rights meaningless.

It seems that whenever there is an election coming up, Michael Arcuri will happily abandon his Oath of Office to uphold the Constitution. First, Arcuri helped to toss habeas corpus and fair trials out the window. Now, Arcuri joins George W. Bush again to help him spy against American citizens without restraint.

What a disappointment Arcuri has been. What a wasted opportunity. What a sorry excuse for a Democrat.