Senate Poised to Approve Huge Giveaway to the Bells, Immunity deal may mean no day in court for Americans

February 12, 2008 12:00 am

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Washington, DC –The U.S. Senate is likely to decide to grant immunity to telecommunications providers that broke the law over the past six years in a vote on an amendment to strip immunity from the Senate Intelligence Committee’s bill to gut the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote on the immunity amendment Tuesday morning and if the amendment fails, as expected, the bill will be a multi-billion dollar giveaway to giant telecommunications companies.

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

“When companies break the law they should be held accountable by our government – not given a multi-million dollar favor. The millions of Americans who are telecom customers deserve to know that their phone conversations are private. The telecommunications providers illegally turned over private customer call information to the government. Instead of having faith in the U.S. court system to fairly handle these cases; the U.S. Senate is poised to give the telecom providers a get-out-of-jail-free card.

“The ACLU urges Senators to stand strong on immunity and not let the telecoms off the hook. Everyone deserves their day in court against companies that may have wronged them.

“We commend Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) and the other senators who have valiantly led the fight against immunity for telecommunications providers that broke the law.”

For a fact sheet on immunity amendments to the FISA bill:

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