I’d like to offer a simple observation about the telecom immunity provisions being discussed as part the FISA legislation now under consideration.
There ALREADY EXIST mechanisms for ensuring immunity against lawsuits/prosecution in response to a government request.
They’re called “subpoenas” and “warrants.” They convey both the authorization to release information and the immunity from legal consequence that the telecom companies need to have when they cooperate with government requests.
So no new immunities are needed.
The telecom companies have well-staffed legal departments, and it’s flatly inconceivable to me that they were surprised to learn that their actions were illegal when they participated in wiretapping without these authorizations. And, in any case, ignorance of the law is not an excuse.
The argument that shining a little light on these activities will somehow “help the terrorists” falls flat with me.
So let me be clear.
I, as a constituent and American citizen, AM WILLING TO ACCEPT THE RISK that terrorists will be enabled and emboldened by a full and complete revelation of the wiretap tactics that have been employed.
I accept this increase in the terrorist risk because I think that the far greater risk to American citizens comes from illegal activity in which powerful interests participate and cannot be called to account.