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|20th June 2008, 01:40||#1|
Dems Agree to Expand Domestic Spying, Grant Telecoms Amnesty
Breaking months of acrimonious deadlock, House and Senate leaders from both parties have agreed to a bill that gives the nation's spy agencies the power to turn a wide swath of domestic communication companies into intelligence-gathering operations, and that puts an end to court challenges to telecoms such as AT&T that aided the government's secret, five-year warrantless wiretapping program.
Civil liberties proponents quickly blasted the deal.
"The proposed FISA deal is not a compromise; it is a capitulation," said Wisconsin Democratic Senator Russ Feingold, the only senator who voted against the Patriot Act in 2001. "The House and Senate should not be taking up this bill, which effectively guarantees immunity for telecom companies alleged to have participated in the Presidentís illegal program, and which fails to protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans at home."