Statement of Senator Clinton:

Today, I will vote against Republican efforts to shortchange the debate on the FISA Amendments Act, important legislation that would modernize our surveillance laws and give our nation’s intelligence professionals the tools they need to fight terrorism and make our country more secure. Rather than allow the Senate the opportunity to consider important amendments to this vital legislation, Republicans are instead blocking meaningful debate on this bill by playing procedural games, choosing instead to score cheap political points at the expense of our Homeland Security.

This legislation deserves a thorough debate. Several provisions – including those which would have a profound impact on the civil liberties of Americans – need to be the subject of careful deliberation. For example, the bill under consideration gives telecommunication companies blanket retroactive immunity for their alleged cooperation in the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program. I continue to believe that a grant of retroactive immunity is wrong, and I have cosponsored Senator Dodd’s amendment to remove that provision from the bill. The Bush Administration has blatantly disregarded Americans’ civil liberties over the past seven years, and I simply will not trust them to protect Americans’ privacy rights. With the temporary Protect America Act set to expire on February 1st, I strongly believe that we need to pass balanced legislation that protects our civil liberties and the rule of law while giving our law enforcement and intelligence agencies the tools they need to protect our country.

I’ve also contacted the Obama campaign for a statement from Senator Obama.

Many thanks to everyone who have faxed their Senators over this.