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President Bush Digs in to Protect Telcos, Not Americans

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February 28, 2008

Once again, President Bush expressed his desire to protect the interests of the telecommunications conglomerates over the constitutional rights of American citizens. At this morning’s press conference, he once again blamed House Democratic leaders for failing to pass the unconstitutional and broad Senate surveillance bill, which would not only allow the government to snoop on Americans’ emails and phone calls, but also protect law-breaking phone companies like AT&T and Verizon from lawsuits brought by their customers.

Customers entrusted these companies with their privacy rights when they signed their service agreements. Now that the phone companies have violated this trust, they’re begging President Bush to protect them from lawsuits. What’s most pathetic is that he’s actually doing the dirty work of telecommunications lobbyists. Doesn’t the President of the United States have anything more important to do than speechify for the telcos and make false claims about our national security?

How about restoring habeas corpus? How about closing Guantánamo?

One of our legislative consultants, Michelle Richardson, who’s on Capitol Hill every day working to persuade lawmakers to protect Americans’ civil liberties, put the whole situation in a perfect nutshell:

“President Bush’s concerns can only be taken as seriously as his actions. Let’s not forget the facts — the Protect America Act expired because he flatly refused to sign a second extension. House Democrats should be lauded for standing strong on their principles and supporting the Constitution. The president can’t have it both ways. He can’t dig his heels in and then complain that nothing is moving. The president will have to lie in the bed he made while he waits for Congress to finish its job.”

We’d also like to remind everyone that we’ve already responded to this ridiculous “financial gravy train” accusation that Bush and his cronies have levied against groups like the ACLU, who are leading the charge against the telcos’ lawbreaking.

CORRECTION: The second paragraph was changed to reflect an error. Phone company contracts reflect privacy guarantees between phone companies and their customers. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits government-conducted unlawful searches and seizures”.