ACLU Applauds Senators’ Stands on Telecom Immunity, Growing List of Senators Won’t Let the Telecoms Off the Hook

October 25, 2007 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union stands behind senators who have pledged to stand up against any FISA gutting legislation that includes letting the telecom companies off the hook for illegal activity. Senators who have pledged to stand against immunity for telecoms are: Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE), Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Senator Russell Feingold (D-WI). Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA), and Senator Barack Obama (D-IL). Senator Dodd was the first to announce that he would actively oppose any legislation that included immunity for illegal acts committed by telecommunications companies over the past six years.

The ACLU joins other public interest groups and leading political bloggers in an effort to urge Congress to stop the FISA gutting legislation. EFF, Act for Change, Working Assets and MoveOn have also joined the effort to ask Senators to stand against the FISA gutting legislation that is being considered in Congress.

The online endeavor,, is just one of the efforts to urge changes to the domestic surveillance legislation that the administration is pushing in both chambers of Congress. The ACLU also wants to see both House and Senate surveillance legislation changed to require individual warrants before the government is allowed to access call information from Americans on American soil. On the Senate side, the legislation, called the FISA Amendments Act, is heading to the Judiciary Committee next week where the ACLU is urging significant changes to the current draft of the legislation.

The following can be attributed to Caroline Fredrickson, director of the Washington Legislative Office of the ACLU:

“The tide is turning on telecom immunity. The American people did not send members of Congress to Washington to allow companies to get away with breaking the law. Our elected officials should be looking out for their constituents – not big business. We want to thank all of the Senators who are standing up and saying no to letting the bells off the hook.

“In 2005 when the New York Times broke the story of domestic and illegal wiretapping, Congress was outraged. Now it is poised to essentially make warrantless wiretapping legal. We need to turn the Senate and the House around so that they will uphold civil liberties and not just rubber stamp this administration’s blatant and continued attempts to undermine individual freedoms.”

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