Friday, February 15, 2008

Senate Approves Immunity for Eavesdropping

The Senate on Tuesday approved new rules for government eavesdropping on phone calls and emails, giving the White House much of the latitude it wanted and granting legal immunity to telecommunications companies that helped in the snooping after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Protection for the telecom companies is the most prominent feature of the legislation, something President Bush had insisted on as essential to getting private sector cooperation in spying on foreign terrorists and other targets. The bill would give retroactive protection to companies that acted without court permission. The House did not include the immunity provision in a similar bill it passed last year. House Republicans now want to adopt the Senate bill, which would avoid contentious negotiations to work out differences between the competing legislation.

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