Friday, February 27, 2009

Taping back together the Constitution requires too much deliberation to start immediately... (2)

The Bush--I mean, the Obama--administration goes to court to preserve telecom immunity.

From The Raw Story:

The Obama Justice Department continues to stand behind a Bush era law meant to prevent lawsuits against telecommunications companies accused of illegally sharing private customer information with intelligence agencies.

In a brief filed late Wednesday obtained by Raw Story, the Department of Justice provided its views to Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, after the San Francisco federal judge questioned the constitutionality of the wide-sweeping law and whether it gives the U.S. Attorney General too much power in deciding whether a company is immune from lawsuits after it has shared information with federal agents.

The law was specifically designed to protect companies who participated in government wiretapping programs from legal claims and is one that President Obama supported as a senator when it was approved by Congress last year.

"Electronic communication service providers play an important role in assisting intelligence officials in national security activities. Indeed, the intelligence community cannot obtain the intelligence it needs without assistance from these companies," the Administration's 18-page brief says.

"The committee was concerned that, without retroactive immunity, the private sector might be unwilling to cooperate with lawful government requests in the future without unnecessary court involvement and protracted litigation," it adds.

It continues: "The possible reduction in intelligence that might result from this delay is simply unacceptable for the safety of our nation," directly citing the 2008 findings of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report.


I can see the 60 Minutes interview with Dick Cheney now: It is heartening that, once elected, the Obama administration has validated the measures we found necessary to keep the American people safe, and goddamn the Constitution, anyway.

No comments: