Forgive Us Our Sins--Even Though We Intend to Go on Sinning
Roadblock for Telecom Immunity
Senate Judiciary Leaders Resist Leniency for Surveillance
Washington Post Staff Writer Thursday, November 1, 2007; Page A06
In a blow to the Bush administration, the Senate Judiciary Committee's top Democrat and Republican expressed reluctance yesterday to granting blanket immunity to telecommunications carriers sued for assisting the government's warrantless surveillance program.
Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and the ranking Republican, Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), had said that before even considering such a proposal, they would need to see the legal documents underpinning the program, which began after Sept. 11, 2001, and were put under court oversight in January.
. . . But Leahy said yesterday that he had a "grave concern" about blanket immunity, saying that "it seems to grant . . . amnesty for telecommunications carriers for warrantless surveillance activities."
The activities seem to be "in violation of the privacy rights of…