Target: United States Senator Diane Feinstein, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee
Goal: Condemn the Senator’s support for the government’s spying on citizens while criticizing its spying on Senators
One of the Senate’s most outspoken supporters of government surveillance recently criticized the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) spying programs. The reason for Senator Diane Feinstein’s change of tune can easily be identified: this time the target of unauthorized searches wasn’t average Americans but the Senate itself, and more specifically, the Senate Intelligence Committee that she heads.
The American Civil Liberties Union praised Senator Feinstein’s critique of CIA spying, which one spokesperson sees as a step towards “reining in a CIA that has tortured, destroyed evidence, spied on Congress, and lied to the American people.” Yet in December, 2013 Senator Feinstein defended the warrantless wiretapping of citizens’ phones, claiming that such data collection “is constitutional and helps keep the country safe from attack.”
Senator Feinstein should be concerned about all unconstitutional government spying, not just that which directly affects her or her peers in Congress. Reject the Senator’s hypocritical views on mass surveillance, and call on her to stand up to the CIA and other intelligence groups to stop this invasion of privacy once and for all.
Dear Senator Feinstein,
I was heartened to learn of your critique of the CIA’s warrantless surveillance programs. To see you speak out against this constitutional abuse gives me hope that Congress has the willpower to rein in illegal spying. I do wonder, however, why don’t you show the same level of concern for the these invasions of privacy when they affect average Americans.
CIA Director John Brennan has defended his agency, insisting no attempt was made to interfere with the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Bush-era torture, as some Senators have worried. You said on the Senate floor that your concern stems from the fact that rather than ask questions, “Instead, the CIA just went and searched the committee’s computer.” Is it not also worthy of outrage to see the CIA and other intelligence agencies tap phones and webcams, store text messages and email data on Americans never accused or even suspected of committing crimes?
National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden called out this hypocrisy: “an elected official does not care at all that the rights of millions of ordinary citizens are violated by our spies, but suddenly it’s a scandal when a politician finds out the same thing happens to them.” This is exactly how your recent remarks come across.
In light of your long-standing support for wiretapping and other mass surveillance, I must reject your outrage at being spied on. I call on you to stand up for the right to privacy of all Americans, and not just that of elected officials.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Anon via Senator Feinstein’s official website