Congress needs to pass FISA reform. Our intelligence professionals are waiting on the Congress to give them the tools they need to monitor terrorist communications. Congress also needs to provide liability protection to companies that may have helped save lives after September the 11th, 2001.
Civil lawsuits are not the only or the best way to ventilate information about the program, about which Congress already knows much more than it did a few years ago. A better option is proposed in the new House bill: a congressional commission to investigate the genesis of the secret NSA program. A House-Senate compromise that included both immunity and a commission would be hard for Bush to veto. More important, it would put what began as a lawless program on a sound legal footing.
We’d take the Times more seriously if it wasn’t so dismissive about the importance of telecom immunity, which it describes as a side issue. We suggest that encouraging the involvement of the private sector and America’s citizens in opposing murderous terrorists is rather central.
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