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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

New Wiretapping Bill May Require the Justice Dept to Reveal Surveillance

From USATODAY.com: The Justice Department would have to reveal to Congress the details of all electronic surveillance conducted without court orders since Sept. 11, 2001, including the so-called Terrorist Surveillance Program, if a new Democratic wiretapping bill is approved.

The draft bill, scheduled to be introduced to Congress Tuesday, would also require the Justice Department to maintain a database of all Americans subjected to government eavesdropping without a court order, including whether their names have been revealed to other government agencies.

The Bush administration has refused to share that information with Congress so far.

The Terrorist Surveillance Program was a secret eavesdropping program undertaken after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks without the approval of an intelligence court created 30 years ago to monitor such programs.

The Democratic legislation is certain to draw sharp objections and possibly a veto threat because it lacks at least one feature the White House demands: it does not grant retroactive legal immunity to telecommunications companies that cooperated with government surveillance between 2001 and 2007 without the court orders. Around 40 lawsuits name telecommunications companies for alleged violations of wiretapping laws, according to administration officials. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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