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Locals speak on FISA amendments’ passage

The House voted 213-197 today to update the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, expanding intelligence agencies’ powers to match new technologies but not granting immunity to telecommunications companies that cooperated with the Bush Administration’s warrantless wiretapping, as the President demanded. See the full story here.

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco:

And, in news releases…

Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo:
“This is a call for us to come together and work in a bipartisan effort in the best interests of our nation’s security without diminishing equally important guarantees of privacy for American citizens. With this legislation, the U.S. intelligence community gets enhanced authorization for a wide range of surveillance methods without the blanket immunity for telecom companies that the President wanted. The balance of security and privacy rights is always hard to achieve, but I believe this bill finds common ground that enhances both.”

Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton:
“The FISA Amendments Act protects Americans against terrorists while at the same time safeguarding our liberties by striking a balance between the constitutional rights of American citizens and the needs of the intelligence community. This bill will provide the government the authority it needs to intercept terrorist communications, while safeguarding the phone calls, emails, and other private communications of American citizens.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.