Feb 12 2008
“I have decided to vote against the FISA Bill before the Senate. This is not an easy decision because I strongly believe that we need to modernize the law relating to the gathering of foreign intelligence, and I support many of the provisions in the Senate bill.
However, I believe this bill didn’t do enough to protect against the assertion of executive power. I have said on many occasions that without the additional language to strengthen and tighten the exclusivity already in FISA, I could not support final passage.
I offered an amendment on this very issue. My amendment, which would have made it clear that FISA is the excusive authority for wiretapping U.S. persons for foreign intelligence purposes, received well more than a majority of this body – 57 votes. But it did not receive the 60 votes required. Given this strong vote, I remain hopeful that similar language will be included in a FISA bill that goes to the President.
There should never be another warrantless surveillance program. And I continue to believe that there should be a strong statement in law making it crystal clear that FISA must be followed, period.
Unfortunately, the bill before the Senate did not include such language and simply didn’t go far enough in protecting against executive power. That’s why I voted against the Senate bill.”