by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
senate, telco immunity

Senate Vote On Telco Immunity Pushed Back

from the good-news dept

While the initial reports on the so-called "compromise" bill on FISA suggested that it would breeze through Congress, it appears that public outrage over this issue may have some Senators thinking twice. While the House did pass it, concern from some Senators has now delayed a vote on the bill until sometime after July 7th. That would suggest that a few Senators were serious about filibustering the bill unless telco immunity was taken out -- and those in favor of letting telcos off the hook didn't have enough votes to kill the filibuster. That doesn't mean this is over, however. You can rest assured that telco lobbyists will be pushing hard over the next week to get Senators over to their side. Hopefully, there will be enough public outrage over this issue that Senators will recognize that handing telcos "immunity" for potentially illegal acts is not the way Americans believe in due process. Even if you think the telcos did the right thing in obeying the government, isn't it only fair for that to be established by the courts?

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2008 @ 6:44am

    This is why we have a secret court in the first place

    It REALLY makes me wonder why the Bush Administration didn't use the rubber stamp that is the FISA court. You don't even need the warrant BEFORE doing the tapping the way it currently works.

    The fact that they didn't bother going through the motions suggests to me what they were doing was so blatantly illegal that even the "Here's Your Warrant" court would have said No Way.

    Oh and that bitch Pelosi should step down. 35 articles of impeachment against Bush and they won't even look at it, and its partially because of her influence. Add this on top of that and its a wonder anyone even thinks of Democrats and Republicans as seperate parties anymore.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Dennis Savage, Jun 27th, 2008 @ 6:47am

    The situation is a little more like sausage-making than that. There were two other bills in play, one trying to deal with the housing crisis and the other with supplemental funding of the money pit formerly known as Iraq. Reid, the "majority" "leader", is putting pressure on one Republican senator to support the housing bill, and using the other two as leverage. Dodd and Feingold were both threatening filibusters, and Dodd's a sponsor on the housing bill too. Plus, no senator wants to lose their July 4th vacation, especially in an election year.

    Add it all together and you get this unexpectedly positive (for the Constitution and the people) outcome.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    ehrichweiss, Jun 27th, 2008 @ 6:49am

    a BIG hint for you..

    When you call or write your congress critter, don't bother telling them any reasoning for why a bill is good or bad because, honestly, they don't really care nor will they hear about it from their aides who listen to/read them.

    Instead just tell them "Vote NO(or YES if that's what the bill requires) on Bill ####". It will save you a bunch of time and you sound like someone who is in charge instead of some subordinate who is trying to get their great king to grant a wish.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    some old guy, Jun 27th, 2008 @ 7:03am

    Re: This is why we have a secret court in the first place

    Because the secret courts records can be subpoenaed. They are trying to avoid ANY RECORDS.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2008 @ 7:03am

    Re: a BIG hint for you..

    congress critter... best definition yet

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    jhunter, Jun 27th, 2008 @ 7:54am


    Government is the problem, not the solution.

    I've come to realize that the less the government gets done the better it is for us.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    DCX2, Jun 27th, 2008 @ 7:55am


    Dennis deserves a cookie for being right on the money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    DCX2, Jun 27th, 2008 @ 7:59am

    Re: Pelosi

    Speaking of that traitor, check this out. The "emergency"* war spending bill just passed last week originally had three provisions that Bush wanted to veto. Then, miraculously, Bush was okay with it.

    Miraculously, during the same week, Pelosi and Hoyer cave on FISA.

    Conclusion: They sold the 4th Amendment to Bush for $95 billion in pork.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    DCX2, Jun 27th, 2008 @ 8:05am

    Re: Re: Pelosi

    Haha, I forgot to explain why I put "emergency" in quotes.

    Normally when we're at war, we factor in the costs of the war into the budget. Considering that we've been in Iraq for over five years, you'd think Congress would have done this by now.

    But nooo...they continue to pass "emergency" supplemental spending bills, as if this whole war thing caught them off guard.

    A consequence of these "emergency" spending bills is that since they aren't factored into the budget, their costs are postponed for a while in the form of debt...multi-billion dollar loans that we take out from places like China (!) and Japan. Sooner or later, they're going to turn it over to collection, but not after the people who took out the loans are off the hook.

    I like to call this dishonest, irresponsible deficit-spending fiscal policy of deferring the costs to the next generation "tax your children and spend".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Overcast, Jun 27th, 2008 @ 8:27am

    Proof congress is constipated - it takes them so long to shit on us, heh.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    DCX2, Jun 27th, 2008 @ 8:41am


    How appropriate is it that we lose the Fourth Amendment just after the Fourth of July?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Muffin Man, Jun 27th, 2008 @ 9:23am

    Voice your Opinions to your Senator!!!

    I emailed my senator and told him to vote no! In fact this is what you should send them!

    I'm a constituent and I urge you to oppose telecom immunity.

    Vote "no" on the FISA Amendments Act, which contains blanket immunity for telecoms that cooperated in warrantless government spying. It is very important to me that Americans have their day in court against lawbreaking telecoms.

    Supporters of telecom immunity will tell you the bill is a compromise but it’s not. The changes have been purely cosmetic, and your constituents can see right through it. False compromises that grant the telephone companies immunity for participating in warrantless wiretapping are unacceptable.

    That should let them know where you stand! Let them know that we will remember their actions come november!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2008 @ 9:26am

    If TELCOS are found immune, then I want to know who is going to TAKE responsibility for violating our private rights and have them PAY America back for their shortcomings. Rights were violated and SOMEONE has to take responsibility, if not the TELCOS , then the Asshat(s) who allowed it to happen.

    ** Cough ** Bush!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2008 @ 9:32am

    When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security...........

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Zoo Zoo, Jun 27th, 2008 @ 9:44am

    It's amazing that this is even being debated, yet alone approved. It's obvious to 70% plus of the US citizens that the people in charge are the criminals and the people who are the enemies of liberty. They should all be brought up on charges, face proper trials, and duly punished for their crimes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Agonizing Fury, Jun 27th, 2008 @ 9:44am

    Ohh no

    Look, a terrorist!! He wants to destroy the US Government. We need to monitor his E-mails and tap his phone calls, Mike send Big Brother his IP ASAP.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    BRADLEY STEWART, Jun 27th, 2008 @ 10:26am


    If one thinks of this in terms of the Good Sumaritan Law. Sure If one pulls a person from a burning car at an accident scene and through this action causes an additional injury to the individual no award should be given to the injured party for their rescue by the rescurer.If the rescuer then after the accident takes the individual home and medically treats that person for a couple of years and causes injury and that individual is not a doctor of course that individual is liable for injury. The same is true as I see it as far as the telcos go. Maybe they could be cut some slack for a few days or a few weeks but after this situation but I do not believe they did no what they were doing was against the law. Drag all these folks into court and lets find out what they did and why! Lets not give all these people immunity for something that they did without even knowing exactly what it was and why!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Rolling Stones, Jun 27th, 2008 @ 10:33am

    Paint It Black

    A suggestion:
    Don't sit on your laurels. Share the FISA story with your parents and Boomer generation. They will shared this travesty with co-workers and neighbors. Mine ended up sending letters to their congressional representatives and getting BS responses from them. The boomers will be more angry than you imagine.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Dan, Jun 28th, 2008 @ 12:50am

    political sellout

    I want the auction for legislators to be free traded, as in open and public. We the people should have the right to openly bid against the telcos for our legislators votes. OOOOOH I forgot we did that when we elected them. But then I did vote for Feingold, who did you vote for? More impotently who will you vote for next time? Lets all see how the senate whores vote this bill

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Zane Safrit, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 6:04am

    So much for the public's outrage

    Barely 5 months were needed for the Dems to lose their spine...No wonder they're considered weak.

    As far as Obama, his vote 'yes' yesterday in effect allowed him to violate his oath of office before he's elected. Not even G-dub could do that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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