The Bush Administration is frantic to protect the telecom industry from lawsuits because of its participation in FISA-less federal wiretapping. The telecoms themselves don’t seem to be fighting as hard, however. Kevin Drum speculates why —
… the telcos don’t care all that much about the lawsuits being pursued against them is because they almost certainly signed indemnification agreements with the feds back in 2001. Such agreements would force the federal government to pay any legal judgments awarded in suits against the telcos. …
… In the Washington Post today, Dan Eggen and Ellen Nakashima talk to some of the people behind the telco suits, and they don’t seem to think that potential payouts are the issue either â€” which is why the telcos are remaining fairly low key about the whole thing. Rather, it’s the Bush administration that wants immunity, and they want it because they’re trying to keep the scope of their wiretapping programs secret.
Makes sense to me. Bush wouldn’t be working this hard except to save himself. And if the Dems cave on this one, they are making one more huge mistake.
Update: Read Glenn Greenwald’s latest on the telecoms and Dems in Congress.