posted on Jul, 22 2013 @ 04:00 PM
So, As some may have noticed I am fairly active when it comes to contacting my Reps. For those that Don't know, I keep stacks of my business
letterhead Pre-adressed to all my reps in the House and Senate. I also keep their office numbers on my cell phone.
When ever there is an issue I care about Ill shoot off a quick email, letter and phone call. Total elapsed time of maybe 30 minutes for me to do.
Normally I get canned responses, which is cool as sometimes I don't get any, Today was a first.
I got a call on a number I did not recognize so I let it go to voice mail, what the message was from someone from my Sentors office who wanted to
assure me the recent letter I wrote about the NSA was as equally concerning to him as it was to me. The staffer asked in the voice mail for me to
check my email, and mail as well as they would be sending a response and hoped for my continued support.
Check my email, and sure enough below is what I got.
Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns about the National Security Administration's surveillance programs. I received your email,
and appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.
Like you, I have significant concerns about the intelligence community collecting information about Americans' telephone calls, emails, and other
records. That is why I was deeply disappointed when the Senate voted to extend without new safeguards three expiring provisions of the PATRIOT Act
that allow the government to access medical records, phone calls, emails, and library records. Similarly, I joined 22 of my colleagues in voting
against the reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act that authorized the wiretapping of communications of foreigners who could be communicating with
an American citizen, but did not provide sufficient safeguards for Americans' privacy.
While we must undoubtedly provide law enforcement with the tools necessary to keep Americans safe, we must also protect Americans' most
fundamental constitutional rights. We can both protect our privacy and also maintain a high standard of national security.
As you may know, I recently introduced the Ending Secret Law Act with Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) that would require the Obama Administration to
declassify information about top-secret court rulings that have interpreted what type of spying is allowable under the law. In particular, the highly
secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has issued opinions interpreting the breath of surveillance allowable under controversial provisions
of both the PATRIOT Act and the FISA Amendments Act. This past December, when Congress was considering whether to extend the FISA Amendments Act
program for another five years, I offered this idea as an amendment to that legislation before the full Senate. While the amendment was unfortunately
defeated, please know I will continue pushing my colleagues to support additional oversight of the intelligence community including the
de-classification of these important court rulings.
Thank you, again, for contacting me. I hope you will continue to keep me informed about the issues that matter most to you.
All my best, Jeffrey A. Merkley United States Senator
IF we all did this, imagine what could happen.