President Bush and the US Senate encourage you to GO AHEAD AND BREAK THE LAW!
The Fix Is In
I’m afraid there is no turning back now.
The American People Have the Government They Asked For.
Senate endorses retroactive FISA immunity for warrantless wiretapping
Posted by Declan McCullagh 3 commentsThe Democratic-controlled Senate handed President Bush a major political victory on Wednesday by voting to derail lawsuits against telecommunications companies that unlawfully opened their networks to the National Security Agency.
Senators voted 69 to 28 for the bill, which would rewrite federal wiretap laws by granting retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies as long as the government claims the request was “lawful” and authorized by the president.
Wednesday’s vote followed a last-minute effort by liberal and libertarian activists to convince enough Democrats to kill or modify the bill. DailyKos called the bill “a pardon to Bush”; some activists created a Wiki to hone their message; a Salon columnist dubbed the bill a “coverup of surveillance crimes.”
Many of those efforts were aimed at Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential candidate, who told us half a year ago that he would definitely not support retroactive immunity. That was then. Now he does–and he voted for the final bill on Wednesday.
Sen. Hillary Clinton voted against it. Sen. John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate, wasn’t present for the vote but has repeatedly stressed his support for the measure (including in our voters’ guide published earlier this year).
Earlier, by a 32-66 vote, the Senate rejected an amendment that would have removed the portion of the legislation offering retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that engaged in illegal activities. The U.S. House of Representatives already approved the underlying legislation last month.
Opponents of the bill said it would allow Bush to cover up illegal warrantless wiretapping. “If Congress short-circuits these lawsuits, we will have lost a prime opportunity to finally achieve accountability for these years of law-breaking,” said Sen. Russ Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat who is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “That’s why the administration has been fighting so hard for this immunity.”