Boyda speaks out on FISA, votes against retroactive immunity
On Friday, Congresswoman Nancy Boyda did something courageous. She did something brave. She did something historic.
And she did what was right.
On Friday, Congresswoman Nancy Boyda voted for an update of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillances Act, or FISA. She voted, in every procedural motion, to send the House version of the bill- the version without retroactive immunity for the phone companies- to the floor for a vote. It's exactly the way she voted in August, too.
Through it all, her position stayed the same. In newspapers up and down the district she laid out her case:
In her own Op-Ed that ran in the Ottawa Herald she said:
To my mind, "wiretap first, get permission later" makes perfect sense. It gives the executive branch the power it needs to fight terrorism, and at the same time, it preserves the checks and balances our Constitution guarantees. It ensures that the U.S. intelligence community has every tool it needs to fight terrorists. And, by providing judicial oversight, it ensures the privacy of Americans who travel overseas for business or pleasure. It is simply wrong to wiretap Americans without a warrant.And in the Leavenworth Times she was quoted as saying:
Very unfortunately, the president has drawn a line in the sand. He has sworn to veto any FISA bill that includes court oversight. Instead, he wants the executive branch to oversee itself; he wants all FISA programs to fall under the jurisdiction of the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence.
That is a flagrant violation of checks and balances, and what's more, it won't help America fight terrorism more effectively. The FISA court is extremely generous with its warrants. Through 2004, the court had granted 18,761 wiretap requests. It had rejected only five.
"I am adamant about protecting the Constitution. They're giving nothing in return for it. We're not getting any more security and they're shredding the Constitution," said U.S. Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Second Dist.And, she said in the Lawrence Journal-World:
"What shocks me is how members of Congress from Kansas would so readily give up 230 years of our Constitution without gaining any additional security," Boyda said.
"The foundation of our democracy : is at stake in the House of Representatives," she said. She said Bush's attempts to stifle inquiries into wiretapping and the role of telecom companies was "a massive cover-up : because he doesn't want you to know that the Constitution has been shredded and he doesn't want you to know how long" wiretapping has been happening.And here, in her speech before the Kansas Democratic Party State Convention, she explained herself brilliantly:
The Republican Party has tried to scare Americans into allowing this President to have carte blanc authority- and to hand immunity to companies, even when he won't tell us why they need it. TV commercials and radio ads have attempted to scare all of us- and our members of Congress- into doing & believing what they wanted.
Nancy's right- that was a damn lie. And, now, 197 Republicans voted against updating FISA, only because telecoms didn't get overarching protections from being sued. This version of FISA protects us all, lets our national security organizations engage in investigations that are necessary- and doesn't shred the Constitution in the process.
197 Republicans voted against ensuring Americans are safe because a phone company might get sued for potentially breaking the law. And the President promises to veto the bill- because Lord knows phone companies are more important than American lives.
Boyda did what was right- and saying she didn't is a losing argument for the Republican Party.