Telecom Immunity Update

TELECOM IMMUNITY UPDATE….The ACLU just sent me an email with a link to a draft of the “compromise” FISA bill, and it looks even worse than anyone expected. I’m no expert in parsing legislative language, but basically the bill lays out several ways that telecoms can claim retroactive immunity for assisting the intelligence community, and one of them is that the assistance was:

the subject of a written request or directive, or a series of written requests or directives, from the Attorney General or the head of an element of the intelligence community (or the deputy of such person) to the electronic communication service provider indicating that the activity was — (i) authorized by the President; and (ii) determined to be lawful;

Judicial review is limited to a secret review that the request was made.

So that’s that. Not even a fig leaf. If the president requested it and the AG certified it was legal, then telecom immunity is absolute. Some compromise. Neville Chamberlain would be proud.

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