Saturday, September 19, 2009

Senators Target Telecom Immunity and Spying

Did you fume about telecom immunity as much as I did?  There may be hope for change.

telecom-immunity A group of US Senators unveiled legislation Thursday aiming to strip telecommunications firms that took part in a hugely controversial Bush-era spying program of immunity from lawsuits.

The bill aims to "fix problems with surveillance laws that threaten the rights and liberties of American citizens" without crippling the government's ability to track suspected terrorists, the lawmakers said in a joint statement.

The legislation would affect the way the US government can search Americans' personal records, conduct wiretapping, and otherwise collect and use information on US citizens.

Among the provisions sure to grab attention, it revisits a secret program launched by former president George W. Bush after the September 11, 2001 attacks that collected sensitive information for years without a court order.

Lawmakers, including then-senator Barack Obama, voted last year to grant telecommunications firms that took part in the program immunity from lawsuits by Americans alleging illegal breaches of privacy rights.

Democratic Senator Russell Feingold, long a critic of government spy powers on Americans, was a chief author of the legislation presented Thursday.

The others included the number two Senate Democrat, Dick Durbin, as wells as Democratic Senators Jon Tester, Tom Udall, Jeff Bingaman, Daniel Akaka, Ron Wyden, and Robert Menendez, as well as Independent Senator Bernie Sanders... [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Common Dreams>

GW Bush and the GOP stoked the fears of US citizens after the September 11 attacks, and used those fears to try to turn this nation into a police state.  They might well have succeeded were not their incompetence just as great as their lust for power.  Most of the giant telecoms, except for Qwest who refused to break the law at their request, followed meekly along.  It is imperative that we restore the Fourth Amendment, and return to FISA.  This law has the added benefit by providing discovery of which Bush/GOP officials violated the law and shredded our Constitution.


Annette said...

Now this is what I am talking about.. These Congress people are all finally doing what the President has been wanting them to do.. He can't do it all.. they have to send him legislation and then he can sign it.... EO just won't work.

Randal Graves said...

I'll believe it when it's actually signed, and sure it's needed, but it's comical to realize just how spineless most of these jerks were when Cheney the Puppetmaster was in charge.

TomCat said...

Annette and Randal, I agree with you both. Now that you know about it, please get on the phone to your Senators and Reps, and bend some ears.