May 8, 2008 | By Kevin Bankston

Ominous Signs of a Forthcoming "Compromise" on Telco Immunity - Tell the House To Stand Firm

This morning, CongressDaily reported that Senator Jay Rockefeller is now privately circulating a new "compromise" proposal on surveillance legislation, only a day after it was reported that the telecoms themselves have begun shopping their own "compromise" proposals around the Hill. You may remember Sen. Rockefeller as the force behind the surveillance bill passed by the Senate in February, which included blanket retroactive immunity for phone companies like AT&T that are alleged to have participated in the National Security Agency's illegal warrantless wiretapping program.

Although the details of the Rockefeller proposal are still unclear, indications are that the so-called "compromise" on telco immunity may well be nearly identical to the original Senate immunity provision, with only a few cosmetic changes.

Time may be running out. Key House Democrats are continuing to voice their hope that a final compromise may be reached in the next couple of weeks. For example, the ominous message from House Intelligence Chairman Silvestre Reyes in today's report was that "I think we've got 90 percent of it done...I think there's a compromise position" that could solidify before the Memorial Day recess.

Unless citizens stand up and make their voices heard now, there appears to be a very serious threat that the House could soon succumb to the President's relentless demands for immunity to cover up his illegal spying program and throw Americans out of court. The phone companies still have a massive lobbying effort and deceptive fearmongering advertising campaign on their side — the only things on the side of civil liberties and the rule of law are public opinion and your voice.

Contact your Congressperson now and tell them to say no to sham "compromises" and stand strong against immunity for lawbreaking telcos.


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