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Specter: Sue the Government, Not the Telecoms

January 24, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Arlen Specter (R-PA) also has an amendment related to the immunity provision (referred to as “Title II” of the bill if you are watching C-SPAN2) that he is hopeful 60+ members of the Senate can all agree on. Essentially, it would replace the government as the defendants in the 40 or so lawsuits currently pending against warrantless-wiretap-assisting telecommunications companies.

>Specter and several Democratic allies on the Judiciary panel plan to push an alternative that they hope might clear the 60-vote hurdle: an amendment that would have the government replace the carriers as the defendant. The attorney general or the director of national intelligence would have to certify that the carrier got an authorized request from the government, and the FISA court would then rule whether that request was lawful or reasonable. The government would not be allowed to invoke certain defenses — such as the “state secrets” doctrine — unavailable to private parties.

The Hill has more on Specter’s amendment here.

Specter hasn’t posted his own outline of his proposal (like Feinstein and Leahy did for their amendments), but on the Senate floor this morning he explained the reasoning behind his amendment. “No doubt that the telephone companies have been good citizens in whatever they have done,” Specter said. “Whatever it is they have done, the indicators are they have been good citizens.”

And on a related note, the White House has chimed in on the immunity debate via their Twitter account.

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  • Anonymous 01/24/2008 2:42pm

    The NSA wiretaps seem to go back to Joe Wilson(PC) and Plame(CIA). Plame was investigating domestic politcial groups. She probably was using NSA/FISA. Plame’s dad was Air Force NSA. She and Joe tried the No Fear legislation, but failed to pass and claimed it went back to DOJ five year laws and agencies overseas – the No Fear legislation could not work for CIA or PC because of it’s history with with both and DOJ and the five year law. The name itself indicative of an error with overseas DOJ NOCs who were ‘outed’ in error that could have been solved if someone had gone with the ‘whistle blower’ legislation involving DOJ, CIA and other overseas NOCs. Plame would have argued that the legislation was the answer because she advocated going to the media. That was not an option because of the people who would be affected, but, if ‘whistle blower’ had been used we could have avoided the bad effects and brought the problem to court. There was no reason for the courts, other than a bad CIA agent; making CIAs involvement at all in the decision making regarding the NOC issues overseas a problem itself; as the nature of the five year law excluded CIA specifically as this was the problem under the problems claimed by CIA and agents like Plame who involved themselves in counter intelligence operations they knew they were excluded from and bringing their loyalty into question after the bad CIA agent’s arrest.

    Kos has a new article out. Kos was payed by Clinton for his blogging. Kos has lunch with Plame and Joe. Plame has lunch with Clinton. Kos and Joe are PC and that is where the perceived problem is because Plame wanted to know more about Ames who was PC. Dodd was PC. Specter is Plame’s friend and expert at telecommunications, probably because of companies like GTE, Verizon, that work closely with PA in places like Hershey. I wonder if Specter was behind the increase in pay phone hold downs?

    What America has worked it’s way through are Plame’s mistakes, that were already known by the community. We had to pay again for her mistakes and that is the definition of a bad agent.

    Dodd wants no immunity for telecoms, which the US government already guaranteed when telecoms began working with the NSA on domestic survelliance, which they have always done. Specter wants to give the telecoms immunity they already have with the US government. He wants people to be able tosue and the US government, who guaranteed the immunity will pay for the lawsuits. Dodd and Specter have forgotten that the US government guaranteed immunity and laws suits are not allowed because it is the US government gauranteeing the use of the telecoms and the military, NSA, is doing the work.

    The NSA should be closed as recommended by the Attorney General because it is no longer doing the job it was created to do; monitor all communications. The charter, like any other at Congress, can not be renewed. Of course, when this was proposed, Specter’s answer was obvious. The AG should get in trouble. ‘Congress only’ can not renew a charter for an agency, like the CIA; which was combined with NSA/DIA when the CIA analysts moved to NSA along with the linguist specialists CIA had hired. Linguists can be hired from a number of agencies and PC is an excellent source, excepting the five year ‘counter’ intelligence law that can be waived(someone might find that upsetting at CIA).

    I tried to write as best possible under the garbage.

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