ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Carl Levin for Senate 2008

Updated on April 10, 2013

Marching with Carl in Birmingham's 75th Anniversary Parade

LEVIN as Obama's Veep?

Carl Levin could be a great running mate with Obama. He would be an answer to McSame's claims that he has more experience than Obama. Levin is about the same age as McLame, has more experience, is a lot smarter, and has much better judgment as exhibited by his vote against Bush's foolhardy, costly invasion of Iraq.

Carl Levin voted NO on Warrantless Wiretaps of Americans


7-9-08 Carl Levin voted against the FISA surveillancebill today which granted immunity to the telephone companies who cooperated with Bush's program of warrantless wiretaps.

Senator Carl Levin's Floor

Statement on the FISA

Amendments: 7-8-08

Mr. President, this bill would authorize

retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies who collected intelligence information inside the United States in defiance of the clear requirements of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act as it was then on the books. The argument has been made that we must provide such immunity, because these telecommunications companies responded to requests from the government in a time of great uncertainty after the events of September 11, 2001. While I have some sympathy for their situation, I also have sympathy for innocent Americans who may have had their privacy rights violated as a result of illegal actions taken by telecommunications companies at the behest of anAdministration that has all too frequently tried to place itself above the law.

The bill before us makes no effort to reconcile these competing interests. Instead, it requires the dismissal of all civil suits against telecommunications companies who may have illegally disclosed confidential communications of their customers at the behest of U.S. government officials. Dismissal would also be required, even if the disclosure violated the constitutional rights of innocent U.S. citizens whose confidential communications were illegally disclosed.

The so-called judicial review authorized in this bill is totally unsatisfactory. Under title II of the bill, the FISA court would be permitted to review these cases only to determine whether the Attorney General or the head of an element of the intelligence community told telecommunications companies that the government request had been authorized by the President and "determined to be lawful" - presumably by anybody - even if nobody could reasonably have believed that the request actually was lawful. A judicial review that is limited to determining whether the Administration claimed that its actions were legal is a sham review that provides no justice at all. Of course the Administration claimed that its actions were legal. Indeed, the Intelligence Committee report on this bill specifically states that the Administration letters requesting assistance from telecommunications companies made the claim that these actions were legal.

I do not believe that a congressional grant of retroactive immunity is fair, I do not believe that it is wise, and I do not believe that it is necessary. Retroactive immunity is not fair, because it leaves innocent American citizens who may have been harmed by the unlawful or unconstitutional conduct of telecommunications companies at the behest of the Administration without any legal remedy at all. It is hard to understand how the Attorney General can claim, as he does in a letter dated July 7, 2008,that this is "the fair and just result."

Those who have been harmed are not likely to have any recourse against the government officials who asked telecommunications companies to disclose the private information of their customers, because government officials enjoy qualified immunity for actions taken in their official capacity. These officials don't even have a burden of demonstrating that their actions were legal and constitutional to be immune from suit.

Nor is retroactive immunity wise, because it sets a dangerous precedent of retroactively eliminating rights of U.S. citizens and precludes any judicial review of these claims. If we act here to immunize private parties who cooperated with executive branch officials in a program that appears to have been illegal on its face, our laws and their prohibitions will be less of a deterrent to illegal activities in the future. This would be a terrible precedent if a future Administration is as inclined as the current one to place itself above the law.

Finally, retroactive immunity is not necessary for the intelligence community to collect intelligence against terrorists using newly-available technology. Title I of the bill provides that the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence can direct telecommunications companies to assist in collection programs, and these directives are enforceable by court order, just as has been the case since the Protect America Act was adopted last August. We are collecting needed intelligence information today pursuant to that Act, without any retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies, and there is no reason why we can not continue to do so in the future under title I of the bill, without the retroactive immunity provided in title II.

The Administration argues that if we don't provide retroactive immunity to telecommunications providers, "companies in the future may be less willing to assist the Government." But let's be clear what we are talking about here. Telecommunications companies have prospective immunity if they assist the government in a manner that is authorized by this bill. Moreover, they can be compelled to do so under this bill, as has also been the case since the enactment of the Protect America Act. What companies might be less willing to do is to assist the government in intelligence gathering efforts that are illegal.

What's wrong with that? Do we really want to encourage companies to assist a future Administration in unlawful intelligence gathering efforts?

Nor is retroactive immunity necessary to protect telecommunications companies who acted in good faith reliance on representations from Administration officials. There are other ways in which we could recognize their equity without insulating misconduct from judicial review and without denying any relief to innocent U.S. citizens who may have been harmed. For example, we could safeguard these interests by substituting the United States as the defendant in cases against telecommunications companies, or by requiring that the United States indemnify telecommunications companies for any damages in such cases. In either case, we could cap damages to ensure that the taxpayers are not required to bear an unreasonable burden as a result of unlawful actions by the Administration. We could also provide a measure of protection to American citizens whose rights have been violated by limiting the immunity provided to those cases where the telecommunications companies demonstrate that they had a reasonable basis for a good faith belief that the assistance they were providing was lawful - a requirement that is notably absent from the bill before us.

The Bingaman amendment is a very modest proposal which doesn't decide the retroactive immunity question or remove the retroactivity immunity provision from the bill. It leaves the retroactive immunity provision in the bill, but postpones the effective date of that immunity until 90 days after Congress receives the comprehensive Inspector General report required by the bill.

This amendment doesn't have any affect at all on title I of the bill, which allows the intelligence community to collect information using newly-available technology. The Bingaman amendment allows title I to go into law without change and without delay.

The Inspector General report may give us important information that helps us understand the extent to which the Administration's actions were illegal or unconstitutional and the extent to which innocent U.S. citizens may have been damaged by these actions. The delayed effective date in the Bingaman amendment would give us the opportunity to consider this information - not just the assurances of Administration officials - before retroactive immunity goes into effect and cases are dismissed. That information is surely relevant to this issue.

If we adopt the Bingaman amendment, we will have highly relevant information about the extent to which illegal or unconstitutional actions were taken against innocent American citizens and the extent to which those citizens were harmed by those actions. The Bingaman amendment gives us an opportunity to take this additional information into account before retroactive immunity takes effect, while at the same time preventing any harm to telecommunications companies by staying any litigation against them until the information becomes available.

Mr. President, we can pass this bill, and ensure that the intelligence community continues to have the authority to collect information on suspected terrorists, without surrendering the rights of Americans whose privacy may have been violated. I support the Bingaman amendment as a way to introduce a bit of balance into the process of protecting the privacy of innocent U.S. citizens while recognizing some equity in the position of thetelecommunications companies.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 8th, 2008 at

5:34 pm and is filed under

News From Carl, National Security. You can follow

any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

Paid for by the Friends of Senator Carl Levin.

Senator Carl Levin Will Run for Re-election in 2008


U.S. Senator Carl Levin announced this week that he will seek a sixth term in the U.S. Senate in 2008. Levin is the incoming chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and one of the most highly respected Senators on both sides of the aisle. Senator Levin was an early opponent of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and he currently supports re-deployment of American troops serving there.

Levin Says GOP Leaders Must Confront Bush on Iraq


Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, called for GOP leaders to confront President Bush to say he has lost their support on Iraq. Levin compared what will be required if Republican leaders to what the party's congressional leaders did in the final days of Richard Nixon's presidency in 1974, when they made clear he had ssquandered their support in the Watergate scandal.

Carl Levin and Gary Peters, Candidate for House of Representatives

Senator Carl Levin Discusses 2008


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Ralph Deeds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ralph Deeds 

      11 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Carl Levin is among the very best members of the Senate. Anyway, deal with it. As far as I know the GOP isn't even running anyone against Levin. We like him a lot in Michigan and we're proud he is our senator. I'm not sure who you mean by "you people." Levin is not close to being a socialist and neither am I. You might be more persuasive if you told us what your program is instead of indulging in childish name calling.

    • profile image

      Ervin Black 

      11 years ago

      I have no desire to even associate with a bunch of socialists like you people. Go ahead and keep the menotities down, they're foolish enough to love career tax lovers like Sir Carl. He'll keep taxing the hell out of anyone that works and give the part he doesn't desire for himself to the lazy non workers!!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)