Skip to comments.BBC: US lawmakers pass wiretaps bill ( US House of Representatives )
Posted on 06/20/2008 2:29:30 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
US lawmakers have passed a bill to shield telephone companies who helped in the White House's controversial warrantless wiretaps programme.
The bill also grants the US government the power to continue with its warrantless surveillance scheme.
The Bush administration faced criticism when details emerged of its programme to monitor the phone calls of foreign targets in the US without warrants.
President Bush said the scheme was needed to prevent attacks on the US.
Telephone companies were facing as many as 40 lawsuits for their involvement in the scheme.
The bill was passed in the House of Representatives with bipartisan support, after House Democrats reached a compromise with the Republicans over the provisions to grant telecommunications companies immunity from prosecution.
Previous attempts to pass the bill - and allow the warrantless wiretap scheme to continue - had foundered on the issue of immunity for telecom firms.
Democrats had been reluctant to grant the firms immunity, saying the courts should first determine what the companies did.
President Bush - backed by Republicans in Congress - wanted to ensure that firms which had helped his administration would not be liable for prosecution.
The two sides reached a compromise, whereby telephone companies would not be automatically immune, but courts would be obliged to dismiss a suit against a firm if it is able to produce written certification that the White House asked it to participate in the program and assured the firm it was legal.
Oh yes, we know something's legal just because the White House said so. If only Nixon could have used this argument to get out of Watergate, the government to wash COINTELPRO under the rug.
correction: helped his entire country. The BBC is so biased!
It’s a “scheme!”
The worthless Jimma Carter did it. So did *Bubba Squirt. (Apparently, according to the one term peanut, JFK & RFK are guilty, too.)
Carter allowed surveillance in 1977
Originally published 11:07 p.m., February 10, 2006, updated 12:00 a.m., February 11, 2006
Former President Jimmy Carter, who publicly rebuked President Bush's warrantless eavesdropping program this week during the funeral of Coretta Scott King and at a campaign event, used similar surveillance against suspected spies.
"Under the Bush administration, there's been a disgraceful and illegal decision -- we're not going to the let the judges or the Congress or anyone else know that we're spying on the American people," Mr. Carter said Monday in Nevada when his son Jack announced his Senate campaign.
"And no one knows how many innocent Americans have had their privacy violated under this secret act," he said.
The next day at Mrs. King's high-profile funeral, Mr. Carter evoked a comparison to the Bush policy when referring to the "secret government wiretapping" of civil rights leader Martin Luther King.
But in 1977, Mr. Carter and his attorney general, Griffin B. Bell, authorized warrantless electronic surveillance used in the conviction of two men for spying on behalf of Vietnam.
The way she's taking things you'd think she fears the wire-tapping is going to catch her talking to her boyfriends in Saudi or something.
She’s been seen with that goon in Damascus....
You could bounce a quarter off of it - I'll bet.
Keeping America safe is not a scheme...It's a duty.
So their # 1 lobby, trial lawyers can cash in
Their stalling was simply a way to try and make the case for open up the flood gates of lawsuits
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