Americans Lose in Wiretap immunity

It's pretty amazing that the lame duck prez wins his court case regarding whether or not the phone companies can be prosecuted for illegally handing info to the feds. The Democrats capitulated. Turns out the telcos have immunity and we are facing a permanent overhaul of the wiretap laws. If and when it passes we will all lose even more civil liberties.
WASHINGTON — After months of wrangling, Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress struck a deal on Thursday to overhaul the rules on the government’s wiretapping powers and provide what amounts to legal immunity to the phone companies that took part in President Bush’s program of eavesdropping without warrants after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The lawsuits will be dismissed,” Representative Roy Blunt of Missouri, the No. 2 Republican in the House, predicted with confidence.

The proposal — particularly the immunity provision — represents a major victory for the White House after months of dispute.

“I think the White House got a better deal than even they had hoped to get,” said Senator Christopher S. Bond, Republican of Missouri, who led the negotiations.

The White House immediately endorsed the proposal, which is likely to be voted on in the House on Friday and in the Senate next week.

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