Feinstein backs legal immunity for telecom firms in wiretap cases
Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Thursday that she favors legal immunity for telecommunications companies that allegedly shared millions of customers' telephone and e-mail messages and records with the government, a position that could lead to the dismissal of numerous lawsuits pending in San Francisco.In my post on John Ashcroft's op ed on telecom immunity the other day I wrote the following:
In a statement at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is considering legislation to extend the Bush administration's electronic surveillance program, Feinstein said the companies should not be "held hostage to costly litigation in what is essentially a complaint about administration activities."
She endorsed a recent statement by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W. Va., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, that companies assured by top administration officials that the surveillance program was legal "should not be dragged through the courts for their help with national security."
Feinstein, D-Calif., plays a pivotal role on the Judiciary Committee, which has a 10-9 Democratic majority. If she joins committee Republicans in voting next Thursday to protect telecommunications companies from lawsuits for their roles in the surveillance program, the proposal - a top priority of President Bush - will become part of legislation that reaches the Senate floor.
The immunity measure would require judges to dismiss suits accusing companies of collaborating illegally in the surveillance program if the government declared either that a firm had not participated or that its participation was authorized. Lawyers for the companies' customers would be excluded from the hearing and the reason for the dismissal would not be made public.
We have seen first during Watergate and more recently with unprecedented illegal activities of the Bush administration that no administration can be trusted to uphold the constitution and the law. When it comes to defending the rights of the American people are afforded under the constitution it is right and necessary for "companies to adopt an attitude of extreme wariness." They must understand the the impact on their bottom line may be as severe if not more severe if they blindly cooperate with any administration. We saw what happened to Quest when they refused.Feinstein is wrong about this and she has been wrong about too many things in the past. She's a little too close to the power brokers and it's time for her to be gone. Money talks and it talks to Ms Feinstein apparently.