FISA Update, Compromise Still Nearing

By June 17, 2008General

From The Hill:

The compromise, which is being finalized behind closed doors, attempts to split the difference over the hot-button issue of whether telephone companies deserve retroactive immunity for assisting in government surveillance after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. According to people familiar with the draft, the language gives federal district courts a role in determining whether companies should be given immunity for the role they played in eavesdropping on telephone calls. Republicans had initially sought blanket immunity, saying that companies would no longer assist with government surveillance if they were being sued for their efforts. Democrats said that immunity should not be awarded to companies that were breaking the law.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who sits on the Intelligence Committee, said he would not accept a “fig leaf” on the immunity issue, but still wants to see the language.

The compromise has so far not satisfied privacy-rights groups. The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union are planning a Wednesday teleconference to criticize the anticipated deal, which they call a giveaway to the White House and the phone companies.

Got that? We don’t know what’s in it, but we’re dissatisfied and besides, the White House and telecoms are bad. That’s positioning that means they have no interest in any compromise, ever. So ignore the special-interest posturing and reach a compromise that protects Americans from being murdered by terrorists and does not punish private companies for acting as good corporate citizens.

More from Politico’s blog, The Crypt.

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