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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 06-19-2008, 03:04 PM Thread Starter
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Both parties agree...

The U.S. Constitution is just a worthless scrap of paper...

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Dems, GOP agree to telecom immunity deal

By PAMELA HESS – 1 hour ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — House and Senate leaders have agreed to a new compromise surveillance bill that would effectively shield from potentially costly civil lawsuits telecommunications companies that helped the government wiretap citizens' phone and computer lines after the September 11 terrorist attacks without court permission.

The House will debate the bill on Friday, potentially ending a monthslong standoff about the rules for government wiretapping inside the United States.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland said the new bill "balances the needs of our intelligence community with Americans' civil liberties, and provides critical new oversight and accountability requirements."

The issue of legal protection for telecommunications companies that participated in "warrantless wiretapping" has been the single largest sticking point. The Senate passed a bill that immunized them from lawsuits. The House bill was silent on the matter. The White House threatened to veto any bill that did not shield the companies, which tapped lines at the behest of the president and attorney general — but without permission from a special court established for this very purpose — the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

"Warrantless wiretapping" went on for almost six years until it was revealed by the New York Times. Some 40 lawsuits have been filed against the companies by people and groups who think they were illegally eavesdropped on by the government.

The compromise bill would have a federal district court review certifications from the attorney general saying the telecommunications companies received presidential orders telling them wiretaps were needed to detect or prevent a terrorist attack. If the paperwork is in order, the judge would dismiss the lawsuit.

Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri, the second-ranking Republican, predicted all the cases would go away.

"The lawsuits will be dismissed," he said.

There is a small chance of them progressing anyway; the Bush administration has stymied them by invoking its state's secret privilege to bar evidence from being brought into court.

But not all Democrats are falling in line with the telecom immunity compromise.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont said he does not support the immunity deal because it prevents a court from reviewing the legality of the warrantless wiretapping program.

The compromise bill also requires several inspectors general to investigate the wiretapping program to determine its extent and legality. The report is due in a year.

Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the senior Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said that passage of the bill by both houses is necessary before August. That's when the first yearlong surveillance orders approved under a previous surveillance regime will run out.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendment bill also would:

- Require FISA court permission to wiretap Americans who are overseas

- Prohibit targeting a foreigner to secretly eavesdrop on an American's calls or e-mails without court approval

- Allow the FISA court 30 days to review existing but expiring surveillance orders before renewing them

- Allows eavesdropping in emergencies without court approval, provided it is obtained within a week

- Prohibit the government from invoking war powers or other authorities to superseding surveillance rules in the future.

The new FISA bill, if it becomes law, would expire in 2012.
The Bush administration with malice and forethought commits illegal acts, and enlists the telephone companies to act as accomplices through coersion. Finally, all are granted immunity for these criminal acts. Welcome to the new, improved America.

"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon
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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 06-19-2008, 03:14 PM
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I really want to see the roll call of who votes for this tomorrow. It will be telling in November.

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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 06-19-2008, 03:23 PM
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Agreed
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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 06-19-2008, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by mcbear View Post
I really want to see the roll call of who votes for this tomorrow. It will be telling in November.
I agree with you. Those who voted for the bill will be seen as leaders, rational thinkers and very interested in our national security. As a bonus, they have averted a raid on the treasury of the cooperating phone companies.

Another victory for the Bush administration. Doesn't that just frost you?

What would be more interesting is a list of those suing and how they were harmed.

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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 06-19-2008, 03:33 PM Thread Starter
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I'll say one thing. The past few years have provided great insight in regard to how the German populace came to embrace Hitler and the tenets of national socialism some 70 odd years ago.

"But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." -- Hermann Goering

"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon
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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 06-19-2008, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by GermanStar View Post
The U.S. Constitution is just a worthless scrap of paper...



The Bush administration with malice and forethought commits illegal acts, and enlists the telephone companies to act as accomplices through coersion. Finally, all are granted immunity for these criminal acts. Welcome to the new, improved America.
GS: you should be ashamed for throwing legal terms around like fire bombs. Obviously, you neither know what they mean or have no evidence to back up your accusations or both.

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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 06-19-2008, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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The leadership of the Bush administration has an obligation to know and strictly adhere to the laws of our land, in fact I would argue a far greater obligation than the rest of us, since good leaders must lead by example. If they were unaware that they were breaking the law and enlisting accomplices, they are not fit to lead, and they certainly shouldn't be willing to risk the lives of millions of Americans to pursue immunity for a handful of U.S. corporations, which is precisely what they claim to have done.

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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 06-19-2008, 03:57 PM
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I thought this was going to be a thread about a newly negotiated Multipurpose and Jody peace accord. Especially when I saw gerkebi listed as a currently active viewer at the bottom of the page.

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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 06-19-2008, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by bottomline1 View Post
Those who voted for the bill will be seen as leaders, rational thinkers and very interested in our national security. As a bonus, they have averted a raid on the treasury of the cooperating phone companies.

Another victory for the Bush administration.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GermanStar View Post
I'll say one thing. The past few years have provided great insight in regard to how the German populace came to embrace Hitler and the tenets of national socialism some 70 odd years ago.

I love symmetry.

McBear,
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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 06-19-2008, 08:36 PM
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