Raw Story | Constitutional expert: FISA bill 'is an evisceration of the Fourth Amendment'
Constitutional expert Jonathan Turley sees a "very frightening bill" in a proposed "compromise," currently in the House, that would update the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to effectively grant immunity from civil lawsuits to telecommunications companies that agreed to spy on their customers as part of the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping program, starting shortly before the World Trade Center attacks in 2001. If the White House asked a phone company to spy with its assurance that it was legal, the measure says, that's enough to dismiss a case.
Congressional Democrats, Turley went on, knew about surveillance and torture programs, but were politically unable to oppose them at the same time they were touting themselves to the public as defenders of civil liberties. The bill, he said, is part of a campaign of collusion between Congress and the Bush administration, immunizing not only the telecommunications companies, but the administration and any members of Congress, on either side of the aisle, that may have been involved....
"People need to be very, very much aware of this bill," [Turley] charged. "What you're seeing in this bill is an evisceration of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. It is something that allows the President and the government to go into law-abiding homes, on their word alone--their suspicion alone--and to engage in warrantless surveillance.