Vermonters Oppose Pres. Bush's Illegal Spying
Stop Illegal Spying on Vermonters, Say VT Legislators
Montpelier, VT – January 31, 2006 – Over 100 Vermont legislators today called on President Bush to stop spying on Americans without a warrant. In a letter signed by 104 members and sent to the Governor’s Homeland Security Advisory Council, a tri-partisan coalition of legislators declared their opposition to the federal government’s domestic counterterrorism spying program. Signers include include Speaker Symington, Senate President Peter Welch, and five Republicans.
As Vermonters prepare to listen to the President’s State of the Union speech tonight, signers believe that Vermonters’- and all Americans’- constitutional right to privacy is in danger.
“Strong homeland security is critical, but it certainly does not require the government spying on innocent Vermonters who simply disagree with the Bush administration,” said Sen. Matt Dunne (D-Windsor), who drafted the letter and initiated the letter-signing campaign, along with Rep. Jason P. Lorber (D-Burlington) and Rep. Ginny Milkey (D-Brattleboro). “The administration has gone too far and it is time for Vermont to speak out against these actions.”
“We must protect our citizens and our constitution at the same time,” said Rep. Lorber. “There is no need to pit one against the other. We can do both.”
The letter notes:
“The dangers of terrorists may well require the use of covert efforts to identify and bring to justice those that wish to do us harm. However, effective public safety does not necessitate that we disregard our traditional and constitutional right of privacy that prohibits the government from searching our homes or monitoring our phone calls or e-mail messages without a court’s approval.”
Citing historical actions taken by Vermont leaders faced with similar challenges in the past, the letter references Matthew Lyons’ fight against the Sedition Acts early in the nation’s history and Sen. Ralph Flanders’ brave stand against Sen. Joseph McCarthy.
As to why the request was sent to the Governor’s Homeland Security Advisory Council letter continues:
“As the voice of homeland security in Vermont, you are in the strongest position to oppose, on behalf of the state of Vermont, this disregard for Vermonters' basic rights. We hope that you will do so swiftly and strongly. With your help, we believe Vermont, under the banner of "Freedom and Unity," can once again lead the charge to stop the Federal Government's flagrant disregard for our fundamental civil liberties.”
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