Selective Document Release Does Not Justify Telecom Immunity, ACLU Says

October 17, 2007 12:00 am

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Washington, DC – After months of ignoring congressional subpoenas, yesterday the Bush administration submitted selected documents on domestic spying to the Senate Intelligence Committee. The Senate Judiciary Committee originally requested documents outlining the legal basis for the warrantless eavesdropping program in June and the administration has since refused to cooperate, missing deadline after deadline. Though it is unclear what exact documents were given to the Senate Intelligence Committee, their disclosure was aimed at securing immunity for telecommunications companies for their role in the domestic spying program. The ACLU strongly rejects any attempt at immunizing telecom companies for violating the law and Americans’ privacy rights.

The following can be attributed to Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:

“This trickle of documents is hardly a satisfying end to months of stonewalling by the administration. The White House believes itself above the law and has ignored subpoenas that carry the full weight of Congress behind them, choosing instead to selectively release information only when it serves its purposes. The Senate Judiciary Committee has waited months to get answers to how and why Americans’ privacy was violated. The House Judiciary Committee is still waiting.

“Handing immunity to the phone companies based on the little information we know now would be a massive mistake – Congress must know the full scope of the companies’ role in the domestic spying program. Our bottom line is that Congress must put Americans’ constitutional rights above the phone companies’ bottom line. The Senate should reject any attempt at immunity for the telecoms.”

For more information on the Senate Judiciary subpoenas, go to:

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