Domestic Spying Expansion Would Exonerate AT&T

The Justice Department wants to further loosen domestic spying laws under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to permit the monitoring of U.S. residents suspected of receiving terrorist communications. The FISA “update” would also grant legal immunity to telecom companies that cooperate with the government — such as AT&T, which faces five major civil liberties suits for opening its networks to the National Security Agency. The ACLU said proposed immunity for telecom companies (which would be retroactive to September 11, 2001) amounts to a “get out of jail free card,” according to Democrats shot down the proposal, noting that the White House refuses to release details about the NSA program or issue a document proving the surveillance is legal. The FBI also refuses to reveal how many “national security letters” it issued in 2006 and 2007 to access personal data.