Friday, March 14, 2008

At Least Some Members Of Congress Are Trying To Protect Civil Liberties

The House voted 213-197 to deny immunity to phone companies that helped the NSA with its warentless wiretapping. 

From the NY Times:

The House bill approved Friday includes three key elements: it would refuse retroactive immunity to the phone companies, providing special authority instead for the courts to decide the liability issue; it would add additional judicial restrictions on the government’s wiretapping powers while plugging certain loopholes in foreign coverage; and it would create a Congressional commission to investigate the N.S.A. program.

The Senate will probably not pass the House bill and, even if it does, the President has vowed to veto it: 

“Companies that may have helped us save lives should be thanked for their patriotic service, not subjected to billion-dollar lawsuits that will make them less willing to help in the future,” the president said. “The House bill may be good for class action trial lawyers, but it would be terrible for the United States.”

Companies that help destroy the Fourth Amendment are not patriotic, the ACLU is not a class action trial lawyer, and illegal wiretapping is, well, illegal. Even if useful "intelligence" is ever provided by spying on people, the Bush administration has a record of either ignoring important intelligence or just making things up. The House members who voted for this are very patriotically trying to protect the rights of their fellow citizens, and they should go one further: they are the branch of government that can call for impeachment. 

(public domain photo from Wikimedia Commons)

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