Wiretapping and Writing Washington

In an unfortunate move today, the US Senate voted against an amendment to the FISA Bill that would revoke immunity for companies that independently eavesdropped on domestic communications between US citizens, without a warrant or any kind of government oversight to protect citizens’ privacy.

My senator, Ken Salazar, was one of the 18 Democratic senators to join with the Republican party to defeat the amendment. I was profoundly disappointed.

Also interesting is that while she co-sponsored the amendment, Hillary Clinton did not think it important enough to come to the Senate to actually vote for it. Barack Obama, on the other hand, took time off the campaign trail to support it.

Barack Obama is the last presidential candidate left who will take a stand for citizens’ rights to privacy, as well as comprehensive national security. I don’t think that most Americans realize the significance of this fact.

So what can I do? Be ultra-cheesy and write letters!

Dear Senator Obama:

Thank you for taking time off the campaign trail to do your Senatorial duties and support Dodd Amendment No. 3907 to S.Amdt. 3911 to S.2248, the FISA Amendments Act of 2007, which would have denied retroactive wiretapping immunity to telecoms. Unfortunately, I cannot say that my Democratic Senator, Mr. Salazar, did the same, as he voted with the Republicans to ultimately defeat the amendment. I believe that it is imperative to all citizens that you make this issue a prominent issue at the forefront of your campaign.

I am an independent voter from Colorado. As far as I can tell, you are the only candidate for the presidency who took a stand to protect my rights to privacy. You are the only one left who recognizes the importance of government oversight in matters of surveillance and national security. Mrs. Clinton, on the other hand, did not bother to participate in the vote where 18 Democrats joined with Republicans in effectively denying our right to justice and protection in matters of domestic wiretapping.

I urge you to make this issue a central part of your campaign in the future, and a key component of your intelligence policy when (hopefully) you are President. This issue, while of little significance to the American public today, sets a bleak precedent for our future rights and liberties. You are the only remaining hope for our right to privacy and freedom from “big brother” surveillance, and I hope you will convey the full weight of the issue and your unique stance on it to the public in both the primary and general elections. John McCain, Mike Huckabee, and Hillary Clinton all fail the test in this area, and that is why we need you.

Consider the words of Benjamin Franklin,

“Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.”

Thank you for your consideration in this matter, and thank you for being the first candidate in my 19 years to give me optimism and excitement for my country’s future.

Ezekiel Weeks

Dear Senator Salazar:

As a Colorado resident, I feel it important to express my opinion that your vote today against Dodd Amendment No. 3907 to S.Amdt. 3911 to S.2248, the FISA Amendments Act of 2007, severely harmed your constituents’ rights to privacy. Because of your vote, we now live in a country where companies are free to spy on domestic citizens without judicial oversight in the name of “security.” Your vote suggests that you support a national security policy lacks that integrity or protective oversight on behalf of U.S. citizens.

I urge you to change your tune in the future and serve your constituents by protecting their rights to privacy and ensuring proper justice in oversight for true threats to national security. As an independent Coloradoan, I will throw my weight behind any candidate who will work to protect my privacy, be they Democratic, Republican, or paranoid schizophrenic with a tin foil hat. I hope that you will raise yourself and Colorado above such invasive policies by changing your stance and taking action to protect your constituents from both terrorist threats and abusive, invasive telecommunications companies.

Consider the words of Benjamin Franklin:

“Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.”

Thank you for your consideration.

Ezekiel Weeks

Yeah, I know, I am a sucker for that Ben Franklin quote. And I feel a bit weird writing cheesy love letters to Obama, no matter how much I support him. Oh, well, the deed is done!