President Bush on S. 2248, Foreign Surveillance

By February 13, 2008Briefly Legal, Communications

President George Bush praises Senate passage of S. 2248, emphasizes the importance of civil immunity for telecommunications companies, and demands action from the House.

Congress has had over six months to discuss and deliberate. The time for debate is over. I will not accept any temporary extension. House members have had plenty of time to pass a good bill. They have already been given a two-week extension beyond the deadline they set for themselves. If Republicans and Democrats in the Senate can come together on a good piece of legislation, there is no reason why Republicans and Democrats in the House cannot pass the Senate bill immediately.

The House’s failure to pass the bipartisan Senate bill would jeopardize the security of our citizens. As Director McConnell has told me, without this law, our ability to prevent new attacks will be weakened. And it will become harder for us to uncover terrorist plots. We must not allow this to happen. It is time for Congress to ensure the flow of vital intelligence is not disrupted. It is time for Congress to pass a law that provides a long-term foundation to protect our country. And they must do so immediately.

Associated Press story. This passage is worth noting:

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers said Tuesday he still opposes retroactive immunity.

“There is no basis for the broad telecommunications company amnesty provisions advocated by the administration,” Conyers wrote in a letter to White House Counsel Fred Fielding asking for documents about the wiretapping program. The documents have been withheld from Congress.

We read that to say that the issue of telecom immunity is purely a bargaining chip to exert House authority over the Administration, not a matter of principle or national security.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Paul Dirks says:

    We read that say that the issue of telecom immunity is purely a bargaining chip

    You would. The cynical worldview required for your line of work would certainly preclude understanding why someone would act on principle. Especially when that principle involves holding powerful individuals accountable to the will of the electorate as expressed in law.

    A world where a non-profit public interest organization like the EFF is depicted as a cabal of greedy trial lawyers is not a world where truth or principle would actually come into play.

    Your loss….

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