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Letter to Senator Obama

Sunday, 13th July 2008
Dear Senator,

I was very disappointed to learn of your recent vote in support of the bill to grant immunity to telecommunications companies who assisted the Bush administration in illegally spying on Americans without the approval of the FISA court. What was your reason for doing so?

I can certainly understand the attitude that these companies shouldn't be punished for cooperating with the government if the government mislead them. I respectfully disagree, especially considering that (according to rumor) one of these companies did the right thing and asked for authorization from the DOJ. Further, I can understand that punishing them now will make it more difficult to enlist their assistance in the future, but I believe that as long as future requests are legal and properly documented, this shouldn't be a problem.

The important thing here is for the public to find out exactly what's been going on. Our rights have been violated, and we deserve to know precisely what happened, as well as who was responsible and who objected, even if it makes the government look bad. In particular, we deserve to know whether the Bush administration has been truthful when they have described the scope of the violations; I'm certainly not willing to accept their word at face value!

I absolutely understand the need for secrecy concerning an active investigation, but the cat is out of the bag - everyone already knows that the government has been eavesdropping on people. What we don't know is the details. I've heard reports of international businessmen whose business has suffered because their clients are no longer willing to talk to them over the phone for fear of being monitored by the US government, and journalists whose sources won't talk to them for the same reason. People have tried to sue the government for violating their rights as enumerated in the Constitution, only to be told that since the evidence of the government's wrongdoing is classified (even if said evidence has been accidentally leaked), they can't sue.

I still plan to vote for you for President this fall, but your vote on this issue makes that decision a little harder to swallow. I would appreciate your comments. Thank you for your time.


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