The democratic leadership is preparing to move a final bill giving immunity to the telecommunication industry after months of waiting for public interest to wane. The new bill would give President Bush and the powerful lobby would it has long sought: immunity from violating federal law and the privacy of customers.
The legislation is incredibly disingenuous. It pretends to create a legal process of review that the members know would be instantly satisfied by the companies. It calls for a federal district court determine whether the telecommunications companies received signed orders authorized by the president asking them to place wiretaps to detect or prevent a terrorist attack. Dozens of lawsuit filed by public interest and civil liberties groups would then be dismissed — at the direction of the democrats in Congress.
I will be on Countdown tonight to discuss the legislation but I am positively baffled by this decision. There is zero public interest value to this legislation. It is a move to shield obvious unlawful conduct and to defeat civil liberties cases by changing the rules in favor of these companies. It is an continuation of a pattern of democratic leaders running on defending civil liberties and then actively undermining such efforts in Congress.
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