House Votes to Reject Immunity for Phone Companies Involved in Wiretaps

On March 15, 2008, New York Times writer Eric Lichtblau wrote an article, "House Votes to Reject Immunity for Phone Companies Involved in Wiretaps".The main focus of this article was the controversy surrounding the use of phone tapping, or the secret activity of monitoring telephone conversations without the people involved in the conversation being aware that they are being monitored.This was done, government officials claim, in the interest of national security.In a nation where the possibility of terrorist events is very real on a daily basis, the argument on the part of the officials was that phone calls of suspected terrorists must be allowed to be listened to without the delay of obtaining search warrants to do so (Lichtblau).
The problem arose when the telephone companies that performed the actual wiretaps were being held liable in terms of violating the constitutionally protected rights of everyone- not just those who obey the law.In response to this request for immunity by the phone companies, the United States House of Representatives passed a vote by a narrow margin, 213 to 197, to make phone companies liable and to take away their immunity.In response to this vote, the White House responded by saying that President Bush would very quickly veto this bill once it comes to his office for ratification (Lichtblau).
The bill that the House approved has three main elements to it:first, the bill refuses immunity to the phone companies, both for future problems and going back to prior violations of privacy of those who were monitored (Lichtblau).Also, the bill brings back many of the legal protections against illegal wire taps that were in place in the past.Lastly, the bill provides for the creation of a Congressional commission to oversee everything.
The vote that the House took was done in a secret, night time session, thefirst such session in over 25 years.This session …

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