By a vote of 293-129, Democrats in the House today sold out the civil liberties of all Americans when they gave in to the Republicans and the telecom industry, by including blanket immunity for all the telecoms who participated in President Bush’s illegal warrantless wiretapping program.
Here is the immunity clause, “No cause of action shall lie in any court against any electronic communication service provider for providing any information, facilities, or assistance in accordance with a directive issued pursuant to paragraph.” In layman’s terms, this means that the people who had their rights violated by Bush’s secret program have no right to sue the telecoms. Unless someone inside the administration comes forward with details, we will probably now never know the scope and the depth of the illegal spying.
The telecommunications companies clearly broke the law, but House Democrats were more worried about the November election than protecting our civil liberties. This is a gigantic win for President Bush and the Republicans, and most importantly, this bill codifies secret spying. Since the precedent has now been set, there is nothing to stop a future president from expanding executive authority even more than Bush has.
The narrow minded Congress people on the Hill don’t care that every time a bill such as this one or the Patriot Act is passed, it fundamentally alters the checks and balances in our system. This is truly a sad day for people of all parties who believe in the protection of civil liberties.