The attorney general and national intelligence director write the Senate, saying the President would veto a bill that rewrites FISA legislation while undermining effective surveillance of foreign intelligence and punishes telecom companies that assisted in the monitoring of terrorists.
The administration’s veto threat was aimed at amendments that would bar retroactive immunity to phone companies and other telecom providers that have given the government access to e-mails and phone calls linked to people in the United States. Without the retroactive protections, the letter noted, telecom providers might be unwilling to help the government track down terror suspects in the future as they were asked to do in the days following the 2001 attacks.
“Private citizens who respond in good faith to a request for assistance by public officials should not beheld liable for their actions,” Mukasey and McConnell wrote.
Linked to people in the United States? An awfully vague description. The communications in question involved overseas communications of suspected terrorists that may have passed through a U.S. telecom system. Conceivably, U.S. citizens may have been “linked,” but the impression that opponents attempt to leave — that the goverment was listening to YOU and millions of other Americans — is a falsehood.
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