Monday, March 3, 2008

A hole in the wiretap immunity gambit

Even if Congress OKs retroactive immunity for telecom execs aiding federal warrantless wiretaps, the fight ain't over.

The Senate bill immunizes telecom execs only back to Sept. 1, 2001. Hence, those execs who cooperated with NSA warrantless programs between Bush's first inaugural and 9/11 would not be immunized and lawsuits concerning privacy violations would not be vaporized by Bush and Rockefeller.

Now Mukasey and McConnell have claimed that the telecoms are balking at helping the NSA conduct warrantless wiretaps because the execs are demanding immunity. This sounds a bit like blackmail. So, if the execs can still be required to testify about shady pre-9/11 doings, does that mean they still won't cooperate anyway -- even if Congress passes the current bill?

Of course, extending immunity to the period prior to 9/11 would -- absent a Satanic media clampdown -- set off a political firestorm, and is unlikely to get far, Rockefeller notwithstanding.

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