One Of The NSA's Biggest Critics In The Senate May Lose His Seat
from the don't-let-that-happen dept
In the past, we’ve noted how unfortunate it was that the Senator who fought strongest for our civil liberties in Congress, Russ Feingold, got voted out of office back in 2010 — in favor of a “Tea Party” candidate who has consistently voted in favor of the intelligence community since replacing Feingold. Since then, plenty of attention has gone to Senator Ron Wyden for picking up where Feingold left off, but with him on issues of civil liberties as it relates to the intelligence community has always been Senator Mark Udall — who has been perhaps even more vocal than Senator Wyden on these issues.
And, worryingly, it appears that Udall may be facing a Feingold moment, where he’s facing a candidate that has positioned himself more on “Tea Party” type issues. Udall hasn’t campaigned very much on his amazing support for civil liberties, since many observers don’t think that’s an “election issue” in Colorado. However, recently, Udall has been willing to point to his important work on the Senate Intelligence Committee as one of a very small number of Senators who actually worked hard to push back against unconstitutional surveillance, to push for transparency and accountability for the intelligence community, and who pushed, repeatedly, to defend our civil liberties. It would be a huge loss for civil liberties if Udall were to lose this election, and a clear victory for the NSA, the intelligence community and those who like to spread FUD to retain power and take away your rights.
?I do think it would be a significant loss for the movement,? said Laura Murphy, the head of the American Civil Liberties Union?s Washington office.
?Were Sen. Udall to lose, I think he would be sorely missed,? echoed Scott Roehm, a senior counsel at The Constitution Project. ?He was one of the earliest voices for meaningful surveillance reform even before the Snowden leaks.?
The Denver Post recently endorsed Udall’s opponent, complaining that Udall wasn’t enough of a “leader” in the Senate (not an easy thing to do as a first-term Senator). And while the editorial at least does call out Udall’s work on the Intelligence Committee, it suggests that his opponent, Cory Gardner, is fine there too because he voted for the USA Freedom Act in the House. Except, of course, voting for a bill is one thing. Leading the charge on these issues is another thing altogether. Besides, the version of the USA Freedom Act that was voted on wasn’t a good thing. It was the bill that the White House undermined at the last minute, leading all civil liberties groups to pull their support, and most members of the House who are big on civil liberties voted against the bill due to the compromises shoved into it. Voting for it didn’t show a similar viewpoint, but rather the opposite.
There are lots of other issues for voters, of course, but feel free to check out Udall’s stance on things. If you’re in Colorado, please consider voting for one of the very few principled voices for civil liberties in Congress.