Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dodd Stops Domestic Spying Bill!

For more information on the issue see the prior blog post from earlier today. Suffice it to say, I need to update what just a few minutes ago was another defeat for privacy and the constitution. Just as Democrats in the Senate were going to capitulate to the Bush administration on the issue of giving telecommunication companies retroactive immunity, Chris Dodd has stepped in at the last minute and stopped the spying bill in its tracks! Read this breaking news from the Talking Points Memo:

Dodd will send a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid this afternoon informing him of his decision [to put a hold on the Senate FISA renewal bill because it reportedly grants retroactive immunity to telephone companies for any role they played in the Bush administration's warrantless eavesdropping program].

...By doing this, Dodd can effectively hold up the telecom immunity bill, because bills are supposed to have unanimous consent in the Senate before going forward. One Senator can make it very difficult to bring a bill to the floor by objecting to allowing it to go to a vote.

Dodd's planned action comes amid reports that the Senate Intelligence Committee has reached a deal with the White House on the legislation that would give telephone carriers legal immunity for whatever role they played in the National Security Agency's domestic eavesdropping program, which was approved by President Bush after 9/11. The White House and the phone companies have been lobbying aggressively for immunity, and the announcement of the immunity deal today dismayed many opponents.

Dodd's new web page petition on this is now live.

I'll be following this issue as events unfold.

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