From the floor of the Senate, Chris Dodd:
I rise to urge my colleagues to vote against cloture on S. 2248, the FISA Amendments Act of 2007.
Opposing cloture is essential, because there is no unanimous consent agreement in place providing for the immediate adoption of the Judiciary Committee substitute amendment.
As you know, Mr. President, the Judiciary substitute amendment, among other things, strikes Title II of the Intelligence Committee bill—the title which seeks to provide retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies who are alleged to have violated their customers' privacy rights by turning over information to the government without warrants.
I am fully aware that the Majority Leader has various parliamentary options at his disposal to move this legislation forward. It is his right to attempt to invoke cloture.
But I regret that decision, and I hope that my colleagues will join me in stopping this legislation.
Mr. President, why do I feel so strongly about this matter?
For the last six years, our largest telecommunications companies have been spying on their own American customers.
Secretly and without a warrant, they delivered to the federal government the private, domestic communications records of millions of Americans—records this administration has compiled into a database of enormous scale and scope.
That decision betrayed millions of customers' trust. It was unwarranted—literally.
But was it illegal?
That, Mr. President, I don't know. And if this bill passes in its current form, we will never know. The president's favored corporations will be immune.
Their arguments will never be heard in a court of law. The details of their actions will stay hidden. The truth behind this unprecedented domestic spying will never see light. And the book on our government's actions will be closed, and sealed, and locked, and handed over to the safe-keeping of those few whom George Bush trusts to keep a secret.
Why does Chris Dodd have to do this while we have a Democratic majority in the Senate? It is because our current Majority Leader, Harry Reid is caving and/or helping George Bush to allow retroactive immunity to the telecom companies that illegally wiretapped millions of Americans. Senator Reid could have introduced the Judiciary Bill and avoided this travesty but claims to be afraid of not reaching a super-majority of 60 votes and an eventual veto from the President.
Reid claims retroactive immunity is inevitable, but Dodd demands to stand up to the President anyway. Dodd wants to protect the Constitution regardless of George Bush's tyranny, but Reid would rather the Senate become a permanent rubberstamp to the President, essentially destroying our democracy and the system of checks and balances that has made America that great country that it had become. Now our system is in great danger, and Reid is facilitating it.
Now the netroots is clamoring for Dodd to become Majority Leader in the 111th Congress, it is a change that we so direly need.
This is all happening now, live on C-SPAN 2.