Dodd Puts Hold on Surveillance Bill

By October 18, 2007Communications

Senator Chris Dodd is unhappy with the rewrite of the FISA bill, so he’s put a legislative hold on it. The news release from his presidential campaign leaves us confused, though. If the bill is so bad, and you’re in the majority, why not just kill the legislation?

The Military Commissions Act. Warrantless wiretapping. Shredding of Habeas Corpus. Torture. Extraordinary Rendition. Secret Prisons.

No more.

I have decided to place a “hold” on the latest FISA bill that would have included amnesty for telecommunications companies that enabled the President’s assault on the Constitution by illegally providing personal information on their customers without judicial authorization.

I said that I would do everything I could to stop this bill from passing, and I have.

And, at least judging by the space devoted to topics, the immunity for telephone companies was the greatest offense?

From our earlier post, the Statement of Administration Principle on the earlier House version:

It is a matter of basic fairness that providers who are alleged to have provided assistance to the Government in the wake of these terrorist attacks should not face liability claims. It also is critical to our national security that such companies be protected from litigation, since companies that face lawsuits for allegedly assisting the Government may be unwilling to provide assistance if and when it is needed to prevent future terrorist attacks.

A poster at the Daily Kos attempts to explain the reason for the hold. Seems convoluted, but thanks for the link.

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • If the telcos can break the law — and “the President told me to” is just a dodge, since they all have legal departments, and Qwest refused to go along — and then go to Congress for a “get out of jail free” card, that’s the end of the rule of law, wouldn’t you say?

    I’d have to think that’s bad for business, regardless of the short term attractiveness of the idea. It’s hard to make money in the ordinary business way in a banana Republic, wouldn’t you agree?

  • YardBird says:

    FireDogLake blog is posting that Congressional Quarterly says Reid will over ride the Dodd hold for tactical reasons yet to be revealed

  • Paul Dirks says:

    I know this will come as a shock but it is possible for government officials to violate the law while carrying out what they think are their duties. That doesn’t make it suddenly permissable for corporate officials to also violate the law with impunity. Quite the opposite, it makes it even more important that they DO comply with the law.

    It’s not Rocket Science.

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