Breaking: FISA “Compromise” Reached

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From the WSJ:

The agreement would also pave the way for companies such as AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. to shed the nearly 40 lawsuits they face for allegedly participating in a prior version of the NSA program, which have cast a shadow over their reputation on Wall Street and Main Street. To win immunity, they would have to pass review from a U.S. District Court.

It faces hurdles to becoming law, namely whether it will have enough support from other lawmakers in both parties in the House. Telecommunications companies, which have lobbied lawmakers aggressively in recent weeks, support the compromise as does the White House.

Critical to sealing the deal was a compromise that would grant conditional immunity to telecommunications companies for assistance they provided from September 2001 through January 2007. If the companies can show a federal district court judge “substantial evidence” they received a written request from the attorney general or head of an intelligence agency stating the president authorized the surveillance and determined it to be lawful, the cases against them will be dismissed.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.
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