Monday, August 06, 2007

Harry Mitchell's response...

Since I posted my letter to him concerning the FISA bill, it's only fair that I post the email response that I received this afternoon...

August 6, 2007

[cpmaz's address]

Dear Craig:

Thank you for contacting me in regard to your concerns about the recent update to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA. I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this important issue.

I agree with you that we must work toward a better FISA law that protects our civil
liberties and provides our intelligence community with the tools they need to protect our homeland from another terrorist attack.

While far from perfect, I believe that S-1927, the Protect America Act, is a reasonable, temporary compromise that will enable the United States to gather vital foreign intelligence while Congress continues to debate how we should best update the FISA law. While I understand that Americans will have different opinions on this issue, I believe it is especially important to be clear about what this legislation does and does not do.

The new FISA law does authorize the government to seek records from communications providers relating to communications between individuals outside of the United States. At the same time, it protects the constitutional rights of American citizens, legal residents, and visitors. It does not authorize warrantless electronic surveillance of communications between individuals within the United States.

In reaching this compromise, Democrats won two key concessions from the Administration.

First, while the President sought to make changes to the FISA law permanent, Congress, in a bipartisan way, demanded that these changes only be temporary and expire in six months. After that time, Congress will carefully review the new guidelines and determine what changes we need to make. When that review is completed, we will negotiate a better, more permanent fix.

Second, the change to FISA denies the President his request to allow Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to unilaterally authorize any new surveillance. In recent months, Gonzales has given members of Congress on both sides of the aisle reason to doubt his candor and trustworthiness on this issue. As a result, S-1927 requires not only Gonzales's approval, but the approval of the director of national intelligence.

Ideally, I would have liked a bill closer to the House version, H.R.3356. While I voted for H.R. 3356, this legislation failed to win House approval. Furthermore, with only 28 Senators having voted against S-1927, it was clear to me that we still have much work to do to build a consensus about what should be included in a final, permanent change to FISA.

These are difficult issues, and building that consensus will take time. I believe S-1927 will give us that time while also providing our intelligence community with the tools they need to keep us safe and protecting our constitutional rights.

Once again, thank you for contacting me on this important issue. If you have any other questions or concerns on this or any other issue, please do not hesitate to contact me in the future.

Sincerely,

Harry E. Mitchell
Member of Congress

HEM/jw

No editing, wiseass snarkery, or commentary besides this:

On this one, he was wayyyy wrong.

Later!

7 comments:

24Independent said...

Reasonable?!? It's now REASONABLE that Alberto Gonzales has the sole power to supervise Alberto Gonzales in spying against Americans? It's REASONABLE that Alberto Gonzales can order anyone in the USA to take part in his spy operations, and throw them in jail if they don't comply?

No, no. What's reasonable is for Arizona Democrats to find a replacement for Harry Mitchell in 2008.

Mitchell's excuses for his cowardice make me sick.

cpmaz said...

Now that may be a record for this blog for "fastest comment after publishing a post."

Wow!

Desert Beacon said...

At least you got a response from your Congressman. I've yet to hear a peep from mine.

Zelph said...

Amazing that Gabby was admitted to the Blue Dogs and Harry wasn't. It sure seems that Harry has learned to roll over and play dead and sit up and beg. I donated to Harry's campaign last time around, but next time I'll find a more deserving Democrat to contribute to.

Lisa said...

24 -- It looks like Mitchell said that someone other than Alberto Gonzales has to sign off. You and I may not agree with everything Mitchell does, but there isn't another Democrat who could win in his district.

Anonymous said...

Mitchell Caves to Bush Threats :
Fears Re-election Issues

Sources close to the Mitchell camp indicate that he is concerned about his reelection in a predominantly Republican district. Meanwhile, media campaigns have commenced in his district encouraging Democrats to withdraw support of Mitchell and openly calling for Democratic primary candidates for his seat. “It seems that Mitchell is betting that by picking up a few Republican votes, he can offset the loss of part of his base” said one Democratic supporter, “I think he may be misjudging the impact his base has, and how they are issue driven. Let’s see his campaign run without a united base.”

Harry is playing according to the Rahm Emmanuel playbook. His tactics are devoid of personal morals and conviction, other than his desire to manipulate his way to another term. He will alienate both his base and the swing voters he is striving to please.

He is Emmanuels and Pelosi’s poodle, being sacrificed as he blindly takes their advice.

Harry, get a backbone stop being a pawn in their game…you’re way over your head and well on your way to becoming “J.D. in Tweed”

cpmaz said...

Anonymous -

Your comment reads like a Republican Party press release, not a real news story, even though it is written in a 'newsy' style.

I'm guessing that you're local, since you used a cox.net internet account based in Scottsdale to access this website, so you should have no problem providing a source for your quote.

Please do so by Friday. After that, I'll pull down your comment until you do provide the source.

I allow anonymous comments to encourage the free flow of views, even those that I don't agree with, but 'free flow of views' doesn't include unsourced and factless attacks.

I've never taken down a comment for content reasons, other than spam (i.e. - "Visit my website to buy Costa Rican real estate!"), and I don't want to start now.

Thank you.