No capitulation and no covering Bush's ass with retroactive immunity for the telecoms
[I]n the bitter Washington dispute over whether to give the companies legal immunity, there is one thing on which both sides agree: If the lawsuits go forward, sensitive details about the scope and methods of the Bush administration's surveillance efforts could be divulged for the first time.
Nearly 40 lawsuits, consolidated into five groups, are pending before a San Francisco judge. The various plaintiffs, a mix of nonprofit civil liberties advocates and private attorneys, are seeking to prove that the Bush administration engaged in illegal massive surveillance of Americans' e-mails and phone calls after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and to show that major phone companies illegally aided the surveillance, including the disclosure of customers' call records.
If the cases are allowed to proceed, plaintiffs' attorneys say, the courts could review, in secret if necessary, any government authorizations for the surveillance. The process might also force the disclosure of government memos, contracts and other documents to a judge, outlining the legal reasoning behind the warrantless wiretapping program.
Perhaps most important, disclosures in the lawsuits could clarify the scope of the government's surveillance and establish whether, as the plaintiffs allege, it involved the massive interception of purely domestic communications with the help of the nation's largest providers: AT&T, Cingular Wireless, BellSouth, Sprint and MCI/Verizon. (Verizon Communications bought MCI in 2006.)
yeah, those would be SENSITIVE, all right... DAMN SENSITIVE... so SENSITIVE, in fact, that the collective hind-ends of the bush administration criminals could potentially be locked up for a long, long time...
dday from daily kos...
[T]here's only one constituency for which this legislation is designed. And that's the Bush Administration itself. As Glenn Greenwald noted the other day, it's not like this is even well hidden.
In his Press Conference yesterday, Commander-in-Chief George W. Bush candidly explained why he was so eager to have Congress grant amnesty to telecoms:
"Allowing the lawsuits to proceed could aid our enemies, because the litigation process could lead to the disclosure of information about how we conduct surveillance." [...]
Bush is finally being candid about the real reason the administration is so desperate to have these surveillance lawsuits dismissed. It's because those lawsuits are the absolute last hope for ever learning what the administration did when they spied on Americans for years in violation of the law. Dismissal via amnesty would ensure that their spying behavior stays permanently concealed, buried forever, and as importantly, that no court ever rules on the legality of what they did. Isn't it striking how that implication of telecom amnesty is never discussed, and how little interest it generates among journalists -- whose role, theoretically, is to uncover secret government actions?
That's all this is about. The telecoms don't want the amnesty. The overriding goal is to shut down these lawsuits and, most important, eliminate the discovery phase so that the full extent of Administration lawbreaking is permanently hidden. This is about burying the evidence, as every single action by the White House since the Democratic takeover of Congress has been. Bush may have a soft spot in his heart for his corporate buddies, but he's really not interested in indemnifying them. He's interested in immunity for himself.
As the Democratic leadership in the Congress floats trial balloons about capitulating on this bill, it's important to keep this end goal in mind. Official Washington really doesn't want to reveal a lot of its secrets. Immunity has a certain pull for the Democrats as well, particularly those who were briefed about the program, even in part. They either made no objection or failed to ask the proper questions or in some way became complicit to this lawbreaking that has occurred for almost SEVEN YEARS now, and if the truth ever came out, my guess is that nobody would come out looking so noble.
that last statement is certainly an understatement... criminal prosecution is highly IGNOBLE and it's no surprise that the bushies would like to forestall that event once 20 january 2009 has come and gone... Submit To Propeller