Bush: I Will Veto Any Surveillance Bill That Doesn’t Protect Telecoms

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February 5, 2008 2:57 p.m.

Just in case the President’s priorities were not clear:

President Bush issued a veto threat Tuesday in the debate to update terrorist surveillance laws, rebuking Democratic plans to deny retroactive legal protections for telecommunications providers that let the government spy on U.S. residents after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks….

The Bush administration’s warning was aimed at legislative amendments that would bar retroactive immunity to phone companies and other telecom providers that have given the government access to e-mails and phone calls linked to people in the United States. Without the retroactive protections, the letter noted, telecom providers might be unwilling to help the government track down terror suspects in the future as they were asked to do in the days following the 2001 attacks.

Update: Here’s the letter from Attorney General Michael Mukasey and Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell in which they lay out the president’s veto threat.

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