House Committee Leaders Unite to Oppose Immunity for Telecoms

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on February 10, 2008

Follow up to postings on the domestic surveillance program, from EFF, House Committee Leaders Unite to Oppose Immunity for Telecoms: February 8, 2008 “a formidable trio of House Committee Chairmen sent a stern letter to their colleagues urging them to oppose immunity for phone companies that assisted in the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program. The White House is demanding that immunity for the telecoms be included in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) legislation pending in Congress. But in today’s letter — written by John Dingell, Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce; Ed Markey, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet; and Bart Stupak, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations — the congressmen argue that the president is creating a “false choice” for lawmakers… Earlier this week, more than two dozen House members sent a letter to the White House announcing their opposition to telecom immunity. Along with the Chairmen’s letter, this may represent a significant shift in the political debate over telecom immunity. The Senate could complete work on the FISA Amendments Act, which includes immunity, as early as next week. In November, the House passed its own surveillance bill, the RESTORE Act, which does not grant immunity. The House will soon be negotiating with the Senate over how to reconcile those bills.”

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