If Al-Qaeda is calling you, we want to know it. And if you’re Googling Girls Gone Wild, we wanna know that too.

It’s all or nothing for President Bush when it comes to the ironically named Protect America Act. The old bill expired last weekend, and a new bill is in the process of being created to allow for continued wiretapping for national security purposes. The bill adds powers to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by giving the government more power to wiretap without a warrant.

What Bush really wants to continue is the legal immunity to participating telecommunications companies. But Democrats will hear nothing of it. After the Bush Administration told Congress that the delay in implementing a new bill has caused “lost intelligence,” many Democrats have called out the administration for using scare tactics.

Rep. Silvestre Reyes of Texas, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said he takes a:

“strong offense to your suggestion in recent days that the country will be vulnerable to terrorist attack unless Congress immediately enacts legislation giving you broader powers to conduct warrantless surveillance of Americans’ communications and provides legal immunity for telecommunications companies that participated in the administration’s warrantless surveillance program.”

That’s one long sentence, but he gets it right. Although the old bill expired, all current wiretapping programs can remain unaffected. It is only the creation of new wiretaps that depends on the new bill.

Without including the legal immunity for telecom companies, Bush said he would veto any bill because the companies would refuse to participate without immunity. But later, he retracted that statement and said that no one is refusing to cooperate after all. It’s a stubborn move that shows where his real priorities lie–not in the possible protection of the country through identifying terrorist threats, but in keeping big telecom companies on their thrones.

Bush admin: U.S. has ‘lost intelligence’ – [Politico]

Bush vs. Dems: Eavesdropping Showdown – [ABC]

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One Response

  1. This whole situation is just so frustrating. To even suggest that the delay in a new bill is causing ‘lost intelligence’ is just absurd considering they are only looking to implement MORE surveillance techniques.

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