And, in fact, hardly anyone in Congress thinks that the telecoms should (or will) be forced to pay huge damages to the plaintiffs, who after all have suffered no real harm. So why are some senators, including Patrick Leahy, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s senior Democrat, fighting the immunity proposal?
The real reasons are election-year pressure from liberal groups and the hope that the lawsuits will force public disclosure of information embarrassing to the Bush Administration. Leahy said in a press release that he opposed giving retroactive immunity to the telecoms because that would reduce their incentives to protect privacy and “would eliminate the courts as a check on the illegality of the warrantless wiretapping of Americans that the administration secretly engaged in for almost six years.”
That’s the political analysis. Taylor also does a thorough and persuasive case of explaining the practical and policy arguments for granting retroactive immunity.
(Hat tip: The Heritage Foundation’s Foundry Blog.)
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