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House Holds Secret Meeting then Denies Telecom Immunity

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Created 03/22/2008 - 8:54am

from: Broadband Reports [1]

House Denies Telecom Immunity
Issue may stay unresolved while Bush is in office
11:03AM Saturday Mar 15 2008 by KathrynV

The U.S. House of Representatives held their first secret meeting in twenty five years yesterday in order to vote on an issue of long-standing contention: Bush’s FISA wiretapping bill. The House ultimately voted to go ahead and pass surveillance legislation that would strengthen the regulations on allowing the government to proceed with warrantless wiretapping. It requires upfront approval for most future wiretapping and creates a bipartisan subcommittee to investigate the questionable wiretapping that took place after 9/11.

One of the biggest issues surrounding this topic has been that President Bush has demanded that there be immunity for the telcos that participated in that 9/11 wiretapping. He has said in the past that he would fight any legislation that doesn’t grant this immunity. The bill, as passed yesterday by the House, denies that immunity. However, it gives the companies the right to argue their case in a secure federal court. It is believed that the rift this debate has caused may be so large that the issue may not be resolved until after the new president takes office next year.

from: Broadband Reports [2]

U.S. House Votes Today On Telecom Immunity
Met last night in secret to discuss wiretap laws...
11:43AM Friday Mar 14 2008 by Karl

The U.S. House of Representatives last night conducted their first secret meeting in 25 years to discuss a renewed FISA wiretap bill they're proposing that will not include immunity for the nation's phone companies. With Congress critters on the cusp of another two-week vacation starting next week, they're supposed to vote today on whether to pass the new bill.

The bill they're preparing to consider, an update to the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), is opposed by the Bush administration, Republicans, and some conservative Democrats in large part because it would not grant retroactive immunity to telephone companies sued on allegations of unlawfully opening their networks to the National Security Agency. Democrats contend there's no evidence, classified or otherwise, that such legal protections are necessary.

The House has held just six such closed-door secret sessions since 1825. You can follow today's vote via a live stream at CSPAN.Update: The vote passed 213-197. Seeadditional coverage.

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