ACLU Cheers No Telecom Immunity Vote from Judiciary Committee, Lauds Chairman Leahy, Sen. Feingold and Rep. Holt’s Actions

November 15, 2007 12:00 am

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Washington, DC – The American Civil Liberties Union is delighted that the Senate Judiciary Committee chose not to address telecom immunity in its version of a bill updating Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Although the rest of the bill does not pass constitutional muster, the ACLU applauds the committee for not letting the bells off the hook.

Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office, “We appreciate the work of Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Russell Feingold (D-WI) to protect the civil liberties of all Americans. We still have reservations with both the House and Senate bills, and will continue to work to improve the legislation. It is heartening to know that people who feel their privacy was violated by the phone companies and by their own government are one step closer to having their day in court.

“The ACLU is asking senators to build in more civil liberties and privacy protections when the bill is considered by the whole Senate and to keep telecom immunity out of the final bill. We look to the leadership of Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) who has pledged a filibuster of any bill with telecom immunity in it.”

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to pass the RESTORE Act later this evening. Fredrickson said, “Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ) and the Progressive Caucus deserve credit for fighting for important improvements in the bill. The ACLU will fight in the coming months to keep immunity for telecommunications companies out of the final bill.”

Fredrickson added, “Americans whose privacy was violated deserve their day in court against the telephone companies.”

For more information on the ACLU’s work on FISA, go to:

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