Indemnify This

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 — 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.

10 thoughts on “Indemnify This

  1. Few events of late have made less sense than the Senate Democrats backing telecom immunity. Something else is at play, but I can’t get a handle on it. From Baucus and Bayh to Webb and Whitehouse, with the likes of Johnson, Inouye and McCaskill in between, this just doesn’t make sense. So whatever the unspoken undercurrent is, I hope it surfaces in the House.

    If there’s one thing we know by now, it’s that if you play nice with a chimp, he’s still going to steal all your bananas.

  2. To Sachem

    Whenever ‘something else is at play’ the something else is invariably big money (in campaign coffers.)

  3. I’m with Sachem, there’s more here than meets the eye. It is so easily demonstrated that telecom immunity serves no national security purpose whatever. The damage it does to personal privacy and the rule of law is equally demonstrable. There is no reason in the world that an honest Dem would support it.

    So yes, we have no bananas.

  4. True that,(as the kids say),Felicity….no one is gonna burn the money bridge with that market for sure…

  5. Or it’s blackmail; all that Bush-sanctioned surveillance maybe turned up something that Pelosi/Reyes/Reid don’t want us little folks to hear.

    Not that one has to dig terribly deep to find stinky things about any one of the above named folks.

  6. It is the same reason so many Democrats voted for the Iraq war. They are choosing a false sense of security for the country and a real sense of security for their jobs. They know dam well that these wiretaps have done little (and immunity to telecom does nothing) to fight “terrorism”. They capitulate to bu$hco’s demands because they understand that most of this country is scared shitless and abhorrently racist against Arabs. They don’t want the media painting them as pro-terrorist (also known as not racist against Arabs). In my opinion that’s what it comes down to, pure ignorant racism. And now we are building a wall across our southern border, starting to look like the West Bank, pure racism.

  7. I have a question. Suppose the prez (with the suppport of House & Senate Democrats) manages to get the immunity provision which kills the suits which might reveal the truth. My question:

    What is to prevent a Democratic president from assembling that information in summary form and presenting the case that large-scale lawbreaking against Americans was done by the Bush administration, with huge helpings of fraud and decit to cover it up?

    Never mind why he would not – can he (or she) as the new president unclassify the lies of the previous administration that show lawbreaking? Can a Democratic AG in that administration prosecute a previous president? (How to build a fire under the Dem prez to get him (or her) to do so is a different topic.)

  8. Doug, a better question would be will the next president let this continue?, rather than will they uncover it.

    Don’t misunderstand me, because no one wants to see justice served to this band of criminals we have in the white house now more than me…But since we cannot take back the criminal acts already inflicted upon us I am most concerned that it stops.

    I do think the next president should empower SOMEONE to look into the entire last eight years but I hope he/or she doesn’t waste anytime on it themselves… their mission, should they choose to accept it , IMHO, is to get this country moving forward and on the right track and to do it with the honor bush lacks.

    I want to hear less from a candidate about trying to right past wrongs and more about how they plan to get all this nonsense behind us..

    We need to see the end to the pat act, the end to spying on Americans outside of FISA(the law) and the end of fake terror alerts.We need a president who won’t continue to break the laws of this country going forward and one who has ideas to safe guard us from ever being “bushed” again…I guess I am looking at the bigger picture here….I don’t need someone to explain to me how bush screwed over America,,, I can figure that out on my own…I need someone to explain to me how we can protect our country from letting the past 8 years ever happen again

    As for the next president ever getting to the truth, don’t hold your breathe.Bush is not going to leave proof of his criminal acts laying around in the desk for the next president to find.He is one slimey fellow… the only way we may ever know the truth is if we let the CIA waterboard him

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