Bush Calls Surveillance Bill an ‘Urgent Priority’

Using some of his toughest language in weeks, President Bush prodded Congress on Thursday to pass his preferred version of surveillance legislation, asserting that every day of delay could put the country in danger.Mr. Bush said again that renewing the surveillance legislation is “a very urgent priority,” and that it must include controversial provisions that would shield telecommunications companies from wholesale lawsuits over their assistance in monitoring the phone calls and e-mail messages of suspected terrorists without warrants.Failure to give the legal protection to the telecom companies would not only be unwise and dangerous policy but plain unfair, the president said at a White House news conference. The companies were told by government leaders after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, “that their assistance was legal and vital to national security,” the president said. “Allowing these lawsuits to proceed would be unfair.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/28/washington/28cnd-bush.html

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