new wiretapping bill a ‘repugnant’ ‘capitulation’

new wiretapping bill a 'repugnant' 'capitulation'from thinkprogress: Under a “compromise” wiretapping bill the House is expected to approve tomorrow, U.S. phone companies that cooperated with President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program after Sept. 11 “could be shielded from lawsuits” as long as “there is written certification that the White House asked a phone company to participate and assured it” of the program’s legality. However, as critics of the deal have noted, there isn’t much to the bill that constitutes a “compromise”:

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI): “The proposed FISA deal is not a compromise; it is a capitulation... Allowing courts to review the question of immunity is meaningless when the same legislation essentially requires the court to grant immunity.”

Marcy Wheeler: “All it takes to get off scott free, in this bill, is for the President to have said the program was legal, regardless of whether it was or…whether the telecoms should have questioned whether the directives were legal.”

Glenn Greenwald: “[W]e’ll have a new law based on the premise that the President has the power to order private actors to break the law, and when he issues such an order, the private actors will be protected from liability of any kind on the ground that the Leader told them to do it — the very theory that the Nuremberg Trial rejected.”

Referring to the bill’s text, Greenwald added, “Seeing the words in print, though, adds a new dimension to appreciating just how corrupt and repugnant this is.”

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