U.S. Congress passes controversial wiretap laws
From what I gather, the Domestic Surveillance Laws passed by Congress on Friday do two main things. First, they shield from lawsuits the telecommunications companies that helped the government (some say illegally) to wiretap phones after September 11. Second, they expand the government's ability to wiretap without a warrant.
The House on Friday approved a bipartisan plan to overhaul the nation's wiretapping laws.
The deal breaks a four-month impasse between the Bush administration and Congress over whether to protect telecommunication companies that took part in a program critics say was illegal.
Before the vote, President Bush on Friday thanked congressional leaders for agreeing on the new domestic surveillance law, saying, "It will help our intelligence professionals learn our enemies' plans for new attacks."
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said the new plan "strikes a sound balance" between the needs of the intelligence community and Americans' civil liberties. Others disagree.
Balance? Only if you consider it balance to tip the scales heavily toward letting the government spy on its citizens whenever it wants and away from the public’s privacy rights.
“It is the result of compromise, and like any compromise is not perfect,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer in a rather strained press release that tried to explain why he agreed to this bad deal.