SOTU: Bush Continues To Seek Warrantless Wiretapping Power Without Any Oversight

Bush said: ” The Congress must pass liability protection for companies believed to have assisted in the efforts to defend America. We have had ample time for debate. The time to act is now.”

FACT — IMMUNITY ABSOLVES TELECOM COMPANIES OF VIOLATING THE LAW: Immunity “would wipe out a series of pending lawsuits alleging violations of privacy rights by telecommunications companies that provided telephone records, summaries of e-mail traffic and other information to the government after Sept. 11, 2001, without receiving court warrants.” [Washington Post 10/18/07]

FACT — WHITE HOUSE SUPPORTS WIRETAP LEGISLATION WITH PRIVACY VIOLATIONS: The Protect America Act gave “U.S. spy agencies expanded power to eavesdrop on foreign suspects without a court order” and “broadly expanded the government’s authority to eavesdrop on the international telephone calls and e-mail messages of American citizens without warrants,” “as long as the target of the government’s surveillance is ‘reasonably believed’ to be overseas.” [Washington Post 08/04/07, New York Times 08/06/07, Washington Post 01/24/08]

FACT — BUSH AND HIS CONSERVATIVE ALLIES ARE BLOCKING THE EXTENSION OF FISA REVISION: With the expiration of the temporary surveillance bill looming, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sought a temporary extension this week in order to avoid “political gamesmanship” while completing the bill, but Senate conservatives blocked it procedurally and Bush issued a veto threat. [The Hill 12/18/07, Politico RESTORE Act]