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Letters to and from Senator Allen

Dear Senator Allen
Thank you for reading my letter. I will be brief.

I am concerned about the Presidents use of the NSA to gather intelligence on terrorists by spying on Americans without using the FISA courts and the 72hour grace period.

The cavalier attitude by which Mr. Gonzales answered questions left me feeling that there may be much more to this story. In addition, I am deeply concerned by the admission of a Yahoo representative, that Yahoo may not turn away NSA officials who did not possess a warrant. This has added to my perception that there is something big going on in the world of intelligence gathering.

I understand that Senator Frist is attempting to change the procedures on the intelligence committee if the majority continues to seek an investigation. If this issue comes before the entire senate for a vote, I hope you will support the committees desire to conduct an investigation.

It is only reasonable that our constitution be defended with a simple investigation. I cannot see the harm that can be done by ensuring that we are still a nation of laws.

Thank you again for your time.

Ian Mykel

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Allen Responds:
Dear Mr Mykel:

Thank you for contacting me regarding President Bush’s authorization of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) terrorist surveillance program. I appreciate your thoughts and value the opportunity to respond.

Following the September 11th attacks, Congress passed a resolution that recognized the President’s Constitutional authority to “take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the U.S.” and, more specifically, authorized the President to use “all necessary and appropriate force” against al Qaeda. In my view, this authorization of military force clearly includes the utilization of electronic surveillance to intercept the communications of our terrorist enemy.

The NSA terrorist surveillance program is narrowly focused to target international calls between those suspected to be members of al Qaeda or affiliated with the terrorist organization. The surveillance operations are conducted by dedicated public servants at the NSA whose mission is to detect, prevent and deter another catastrophic terrorist attack from occurring against American citizens. The program must be re-authorized every 45 days and is reviewed by the NSA’s General Counsel and Inspector General to ensure its legality and proper use.

I’m fully aware of those who have questioned the President’s legal authority in this matter. It is important to note, however, that federal courts, including four Circuit courts, have ruled in favor of the President’s inherent Constitutional authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence.

We also must not forget that we are in the midst of a war against a vile enemy that hopes to exploit not only our freedoms but our concerns about civil liberties to their own advantage. I firmly believe that we are a nation of laws and that our government must protect and respect the civil liberties of law-abiding American citizens.

The War on Terror is likely to last many years, so I think it is wise, prudent and appropriate that Congress better understands the security needs and ultimately confirms the authority of the President to authorize the surveillance of terrorists.

I am confident that Congress will vote to clearly allow such national security efforts to protect our country from enemy terrorist attacks. Such an approach will also quell the concerns, legitimate or partisan, about this program and clearly indicate a unity of purpose rather than squabbling uncertainty for this or any future President’s ability to protect our country.

Please feel free to contact me again about issues important to you. If you would like to receive an e-mail newsletter about my initiatives to improve America, please sign up on my website (). It is an honor to serve you in the United States Senate, and I look forward to working with you to make Virginia and America a better place to live, learn, work and raise a family.

With warm regards, I remain

Sincerely,

Senator George Allen

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My 2nd Letter to Allen:

Senator Allen.
Thank you for your reply to my email regarding my concerns about the NSA Terrorist Spying Program. In that initial email I mentioned that I was for an exploration of the program so that we can be sure that the power of the President is not being abused. The vote in question was never presented to you as a Senator and so no action needed to be taken by you.

However, as a Senator you still have contacts and a voice, and I would like you to further understand my position, as I feel that perhaps you have misunderstood my concerns.

My concern is not whether the President should be able to have access to the telephone calls of Al Qeada, the President should. We agree on this issue. My concern is that The President has admitted to breaking the Law and nothing has been done about it. Regardless of the trustworthiness of the current President, the door has been left open for future Presidents to break the law.

In order to clarify my concerns about the NSA Terrorist Spying Program, and correct any misconceptions, allow me to cut and paste portions of the email I received from your office in response to my opinion.
-> Clip. Your office wrote
“The NSA terrorist surveillance program is narrowly focused to target international calls between those suspected to be members of al Qaeda or affiliated with the terrorist organization.”

My response to this is that we do not know as a fact what the program involves because there has been no investigation. It very well could be just as you suggest (which is still breaking the law). Or, it could include other forms of communication either now or in the future, such as snail-mail, or searches of homes, we just don’t know. And the fact that FISA has not been included breaks the concept of the 3 branches of government. It’s a violation of law and of the Constitution.

The email I received with your name on it also included –>
“that federal courts, including four Circuit courts, have ruled in favor of the President’s inherent Constitutional authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence.”

I believe that you are referring to cases that pre-date FISA and it is either an insult for you to suggest to me that these cases still have a precedent, or it indicates that you have no idea about the laws regarding this topic. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that I am being insulted.
This issue is clearly important to me and I understand more about it than you seem to give me credit for. No court has ever allowed a President to eavesdrop on Americans in the face of a criminal statute prohibiting such conduct. By the very nature of the admitted program some Americans are being subjected to such violations of the law.

Lastly your email stated –>
“We also must not forget that we are in the midst of a war against a vile enemy that hopes to exploit not only our freedoms but our concerns about civil liberties to their own advantage.”

Are you suggesting that we should sacrifice those very freedoms and civil liberties that our men and women, serving in the armed forces, are fighting to uphold and protect? Your actions speak louder than words, your honor. By ignoring the admissions of this President that he has broken the law, you are suggesting such a thing.

Come next election I foresee the greatest weakness of the Republican Party is its willingness to roll over on the constitution.

I can only imagine what would have happened if a Democratic Party President had admitted what President W. Bush admitted. In my imagination the Republican Party sounds a lot like hypocrites.

I will be posting both letters I sent to you, and your responses, to my webpage. You are welcome to visit that site: www.sonicist.com. You may wish to leave a comment, as it is possible to do so.

Again, Thank you for your response. I hope that you are able to use my views to make something positive happen.

Sincerely

Ian Mykel

One Comment »

  • Sonicist » Response from Senator Allen said:

    [...] I wrote a letter to Senator Allen. And I got a response. I have written another letter to him just now addressing misunderstandings about the NSA Terrorist Spying Program we have. All three letters, and any future correspondence will be available here. [...]

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