The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Mandy Simon, (202) 675-2312; 

Legislation To Be Introduced To Repeal Immunity For Telecommunications Companies

Bill Would Allow Cases Against Phone Companies Who Aided Bush Administration’s Domestic Spying To Move Forward

bill is expected to be introduced in the Senate today that would repeal
the immunity granted to telecommunications companies under the FISA
Amendments Act (FAA) passed last year. By including the immunity
provision in the FAA, Congress ensured the dismissal of active court
cases pending against companies that aided the Bush administration in
its illegal, unconstitutional and warrantless wiretapping program. The
bill, the Retroactive Immunity Repeal Act, will be introduced today by
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and committee
members Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Russell Feingold (D-WI), and Jeff
Merkley (D-OR).
American Civil Liberties Union has challenged the constitutionality of
the FAA in federal court. That lawsuit was dismissed in August on
procedural grounds, and the ACLU plans to appeal that dismissal this
The following can be attributed to Michael Macleod-Ball, Acting Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:
both the FISA Amendments Act last year and the telecom immunity
provision within it was a huge blow to Americans' privacy. The grant of
immunity to giant telecommunications companies was a grievous insult to
the concept of privacy in America and we welcome the effort to
reinstate Americans' ability to challenge government spying and
malfeasance. We urge Congress to repeal the immunity provision of the
FISA Amendments Act quickly. Otherwise, Americans may never learn the
truth about what the companies and the government did with our private

For more information on the FAA, go to:

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

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