Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Reply to Senator Feinstein

Dear Senator Feinstein,

Thank you for your reply to my emails of February 7, March 1, and March 4. I am glad to see that you agree with me that the President has overreached himself in the matter of the NSA wiretaps outside the FISA framework: I must say this was obvious to us outside the Beltway in December, and I hope that you will accellerate the process of holding the Administration accountable rather than giving them another pass, or waiting for the Republicans to give the Democrats the talking points.

We do have a far graver matter before us now: the Administration's insistence that diplomacy is failing and will fail in Iran, leaving only war as an option to prevent Iran from pursuing its nuclear program. It has been widely reported that the Administration is refusing to take use of strategic nuclear weapons off the table, against the counsel of its military advisers.

This is beyond recklessness, idiocy and stupidity: it is insane, as George Stephanopoulos said on Sunday to Joe Klein. It also looks like national suicide. The United States has become the most serious threat to the security of the peoples of the earth, and has become so led by a very small number of people. Please bring the Congress together to take imediate action: do not allow this Administration to take the course it is set on. Do not leave it until it's too late, as we have seen so many times with this Administration.

Senator Feinstein's reply

April 12, 2006

Thank you for writing to me about recent revelations that the United States Government has engaged in domestic electronic eavesdropping without appropriate legal authority. I welcome the opportunity to respond.

On February 6th, the Senate Judiciary Committee held the first of a series of hearings into this matter, at which Attorney General Alberto Gonzales testified about the legality of the program. He provided none of the documents the Committee required for proper oversight, and his assurances alone did not allay my concerns. Instead, he propounded a radical legal theory of presidential power largely unrestrained by either Congress or the courts.

I have carefully reviewed the Constitution and the laws relating to this domestic intelligence activity, along with the President's statements and those of the Attorney General and other Administration officials. I believe that the electronic surveillance program was not conducted in accordance with U.S. law. The program, as described, violates the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which requires a court order for surveillance of Americans. Congress has updated FISA many times since 9/11 in order to provide our nation with all the necessary tools to fight terrorism. The Administration has never asked for the authority to conduct this program.

I believe the Administration also violated the National Security Act, which requires all members of the Intelligence Committee to be fully and currently informed of all significant intelligence activities other than covert actions. I am a member of the Intelligence Committee, and yet I was not told about this program until it was made public.

There will be further hearings in the Senate Judiciary and Intelligence Committees. Once the facts are clear, we can decide on appropriate corrective action.

Again, thank you for writing. I hope that you will continue to write to me on issues of importance to you.
Best regards.

Sincerely yours,

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?