In a 12th-hour plea today, key members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee urged their fellow members to reject telecom immunity when legislation “updating” the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) heads back their way after the Senate passes its bill. The letter, sent by Chairman John D. Dingell (D-Mich.) and Congressmen Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), really expresses the frustration felt by the committee and is a definitely worth a look.
The letter says, in part:
By tying the question of lawsuit immunity to questions of national security and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) reform legislation, the President has created a false choice for Congress. The issue of immunity for phone companies that chose to cooperate with the President’s warrantless wiretapping program deserves a separate and more deliberate examination by Congress. No special urgency attaches to the question of immunity other than the present Administration’s general eagerness to limit tort liability and its desire to avoid scrutiny of its own actions, by either the courts or the Congress.
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
If you're interested in the latest wheelings and dealings regarding FISA (there were several votes taken this last week), emptywheel is the blog to go. Marcy has been covering it extensively and exhaustively.