White House Conditions Access of Oversight Committees to Key Documents on their Granting Immunity to Corporations

In what should be considered an outrage, the White House told Congress that it would grant or deny access to key documents sought for oversight on whether the two houses included an immunity provision for the telecommunication companies. While often claiming a desire to protect confidentiality or classified programs, it is clear that the White House is gaming the system by dangling the documents as bait to secure corporate protections. The White House has also refused access to the document until the very day before the mark up hearings. Despite such bad faith, the democrats are going along with the legislation.

One important measure has pushed by Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, would require individual court warrants for eavesdropping on Americans overseas. Such protection makes sense since the Constitution should protect citizens from government abuse regardless of their location, as do the constitutions of other countries. The Supreme Court however has limited the scope of the constitution geographically, making such legislation essential to guarantee continuity of civil liberties protections. Ironically, those most at risk of abuse (advocates for various causes) are the most likely to travel abroad and be stripped of their constitutional protections.