Day two in our five-part series on the most-overlooked stories of the FISA debate.
Telecom immunity may very well give President Bush immunity for years of domestic spying and warrantless wiretapping
This week, fellow Kos diarist Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse posted a piece outlining in great detail how President Bush’s push for telecom immunity may be a shadow push for his own protection.
What it means
• By granting immunity to the telecoms for their participation and cooperation in the administration’s domestic spying program, Congress would be also acknowledging that President Bush had the authority to order the program, thereby legally insulating him.
Why it matters
• Like so many dealings with this White House, we’re only getting part of the story – most likely, the smallest part. This is another case of the Bush administration trying to sell a bill of goods to Congress and the American people before we get a good look at what exactly we’re getting. It’s a perfect example of why Congress needs to slow this process down and realize that amending FISA and granting immunity are two very different issues.
• Senators need to demand to see the legal opinions that the administration used as a basis for its warrantless wiretapping program – the opinions that Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) lambasted in a December floor speech. The bottom line is that any vote on immunity would be premature. Senators cannot make an informed decision without knowing what happened to American phone calls and emails and the justifications used to access them.