FISA Bill Fails To Hold Administration Accountable For Illegal Wiretapping Program

WASHINGTON (Tuesday, July 8, 2008) – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) today expressed his support for an amendment to the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 to strike provisions in the bill that would grant retroactive immunity to telephone companies that participated in the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program.  Leahy is a cosponsor of an amendment to strike Title II of the bill, which would provide for the dismissal of lawsuits brought against the telephone companies, provided that the Attorney General certifies that the government requested the surveillance and indicated that it had been ‘determined to be lawful.’  Leahy has joined Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) in offering the amendment.

The Senate is expected to continue debate on the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 into Wednesday morning.  Votes on the Dodd-Feingold-Leahy amendment and on two additional amendments are expected tomorrow morning.  A vote on final passage of the bill is expected around noon on Wednesday.  The text of Leahy’s prepared remarks follows.  For more on Leahy’s efforts to hold the Bush administration accountable for the illegal warrantless wiretapping program, click here.

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