Amnesty Day for Spying Service Providers

A majority of Democrats in the House of Representatives has caved in to White House pressure and passed legislation granting amnesty to large service providers who monitored your computer and telephone lines without the necessary court order. Happy Amnesty Day to AT&T and Verizon!

This gutless political action, which Democrats label a "compromise" surveillance bill, will totally shield the large telecom companies from 40 existing lawsuits (and any future ones) filed as a result of a six-year warrantless eavesdropping program created by the Bush Administration, which then somehow convinced AT&T and Verizon to illegally spy on their customers. The bill, which also expands government spying authority, is expected to be passed by the Senate next week and then dutifully signed into law by President Bush around July 4, providing a fitting backdrop to the final shredding of the U.S. Constitution and the quaint protections once contained in the Bill of Rights.

This measue is being packaged as another terrorism-fighting measure, but it is actually a true political lesson in how large, well-heeled corporations can subvert and undermine the political process (and both political parties) for their own benefit. Thanks to the House action, the public will never know the details of any deals that may have been struck between the service providers and the Bush Administration over the surveillance issue. And it sets the precedent that when a corporation acts illegally, the government will move to protect it, leaving its customers (and the citizenry) powerless. Some may call this a compromise, but I call it a pathetic and dangerous sellout that ought to be stopped and reversed immediately.

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