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Candidates still not asked about wiretaps, FISA, or telecom immunity in debates

Despite the ongoing controversy surrounding the Bush administration's claims that executive power alone allows it to engage in warrantless domestic surveillance that public officials and legal experts across the political spectrum have said violates the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and the U.S. Constitution, only one question on the issue has been asked of any presidential candidate of either party during the numerous debates over the past year.

One of the issues surrounding the debate over Bush's warrantless surveillance concerns the telecommunication firms that assisted the NSA program. On May 11, 2006, USA Today reported that the NSA "has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth." Following additional reporting on the issue, several organizations filed lawsuits against the telecommunications companies alleging violations of the U.S. Constitution, FISA, and other state and federal laws. In a class-action lawsuit against AT&T, the Electronic Frontier Foundation alleged that the company is "collaborating with the NSA in a massive warrantless surveillance program that illegally tracks the domestic and foreign communications and communication records of millions of Americans."

Thursday, January 31, 2008
Media Matters for America
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