Senator Speaks on Wiretapping, Calls out Ashcroft
Here's another reason to like Senator Feingold.
If introducing the Arbitration Fairness Act wasn't enough, Senator Russ Feingold just gave us yet another reason to appreciate his leadership in protecting the American public from corporate and governmental abuse and exploitation. He spoke truth to power in his letter to the editor in today's NYT, where he writes about the government-urged wiretapping of unsuspecting citizens.
His letter to the editor criticizes former Attorney General John Ashcroft's opinion editorial which calls for immunity for the telecoms. Sen. Feingold points out that before invading the privacy of their customers, telecom companies could have sought court orders or certification from the attorney general to ensure that it was legal. That would have afforded them the "explicit assurance" Ashcroft wants companies to be able to rely upon, unlike the flimsy wink-and-nudge-style go ahead they got from the government.
He argues that going around the back door by seeking immunity after the fact is just the wrong way to do it, writing: "If we want companies and the government to follow the law in the future, retroactive immunity sets a terrible precedent."
Is it possible to overstate the importance of ensuring that the government follows the law? As ludicrous as it may seem to have to say this, the very baseline expectation that we should have of our government, which makes and enforces our laws, is that it also follow them.
The remaining letters to the editor are also very insightful and worth the read.