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VT Says No to Telecom Immunity


Published June 24, 2008 at 3:30 p.m.

There's been plenty of chatter on the Internets about the Democrats caving and giving Pres. George W. Bush all he wants (and more) to secretly spy on us, and grant giant telecom companies immunity from prosecution for violating our civil rights by caving to government pressure to spy on us.

While it won't protect our phones being wiretapped now or in the future, Vermont's delegation is against the compromise bill. Rep. Peter Welch voted against the House measure last week saying, "I have consistently opposed any legislation that grants retroactive immunity for telecommunication companies that cooperated with the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping."

Now, the measure is in the U.S. Senate and I just learned from Sen. Patrick Leahy's spokesman, David Carle, that Leahy isn't happy with the compromise either.

Carle said Leahy, who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, will join Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) in offering a key amendment "to strike the provisions in the bill that give retroactive immunity" to the telecom companies. "If the Dodd-Feingold-Leahy Amendment doesn’t pass he will vote against the final bill," said Carle.

Here's Leahy's statement last week on the measure.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent, has been a critic of retroactive immunity and is also an expected "no" vote against the compromise measure in the Senate.