The full U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate Judiciary Committee have shot down bills to provide immunity to telecoms who participated in the White House's domestic spying program, reports eWEEK.
The House voted Thursday night to strengthen court oversight of the government's surveillance of terrorist suspects. But it would not grant immunity to telecoms who turned over records of private citizens' phone calls and e-mails without a warrant, according to an Associated Press story in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
It quotes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as saying:
We cannot even consider providing immunity unless we know exactly what we are providing immunity from. And even then we have to proceed with great caution.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D- Mich.), concurred that President Bush must turn over classified documents explaining the telecoms' role.
About 40 civil suits have been filed alleging the companies broke wiretapping and privacy laws. The president has vowed to veto any legislation that does not protect the telecoms. He argues the lawsuit threatens to bankrupt the telecoms, reveal classified information, and discourage cooperation with legal surveillance requests.