Monday, December 17, 2007

Congress tries to impro-FISA on wiretapping American citizens

As I type the hallowed halls of Congress are locked in mortal combat over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

And when I say "locked in mortal combat" I mean "desperately trying to finish up their work so they can leave for vacation."

The big news here is the knowledge that AT&T, Verizon and other telecommunications companies that helped the government eavesdrop on Americans. This was done without permission from the secret court created to protect Americans from unwarranted government intrusions on their privacy. A provision in this legislation will give those companies retro-active immunity from the 40 or so civil lawsuits pending against the companies.

I'm sure the companies THOUGHT they were doing the right thing.

"For the last six years, our largest telecom companies have been spying on their own American customers... I have seen six presidents and I have never seen a contempt for the rule of law equal to this." said Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., who unsuccessfully tried to block the bill from coming to the floor Monday. The White House threatened Monday to veto any bill that does not contain a retroactive immunity provision.

Bush and Co. say that the restraints on them hinder the War on Terror, which is kinda funny cause the laws didn't seem to hinder them at all, which is the issue.

Sen. Arlen Specter (R), known for his non-partisan positions (read: COMMON SENSE) said: "I do not know whether there is wrongdoing or not, but I do not think it is appropriate for the government to act secretly, surreptitiously...and then come back at a later date and say please exonerate us."

Michael McConnell, director of national intelligence (photo right), says industry deserves “thanks, not lawsuits.”

Oh, and an important footnote here: The New York Times has revealed that the Bush administration’s spy program began almost as soon as it took office, months before the Sept. 11 attack. A lawyer for an AT&T whistleblower says that within two weeks of taking office, the Bush administration began a comprehensive effort of spying on Americans’ phone usage. So much for the War on Terror excuse.

And George's mother said he wasn't motivated. Pish posh!

Links: Beltway Confidental , The New York Times, Again, and the ever helpful Democracy Now.

Image courtesy of ID4.

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