OK, here’s the White House’s fact sheet on FISA reform prepared for the State of the Union. It includes the arguments for granting retroactive immunity to telecom companies that assisted in foreign surveillance.
There are those for whom any argument made by the President is immediately suspect, the representation of a malign, corrupt man and Administration.
Then how to explain the very similar case made by the Senate Intelligence Committee, which voted out S. 2248 on a 13-2 bipartisan basis. Are the 13 Senators also malign and corrupt? From the Committee report:
In determining whether to provide retroactive immunity, the Committee weighed the incentives such immunity would provide. As described above, electronic communication service providers play an important role in assisting intelligence officials in national security activities. Indeed, the intelligence community cannot obtain the intelligence it needs without assistance from these companies. Given the scope of the civil damages suits, and the current spotlight associated with providing any assistance to the intelligence community, the Committee was concerned that, without retroactive immunity, the private sector might be unwilling to cooperate with lawful Government requests in the future without unnecessary court involvement and protracted litigation. The possible reduction in intelligence that might result from this delay is simply unacceptable for the safety of our Nation.
To the critics of the Administration’s arguments on FISA we say, ignore him if you want. But pay attention to the arguments made by 13 Senators, Democrats and Republicans alike.
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