Thursday, February 21, 2008


NPR's Morning Edition interviewed Congressman Silvestre Reyes, a Democrat, on the Protect America Act. There is a link to the story here - Here is a note I sent them about the interview.

There were a few points left out of your discussion with Congressman Reyes. Regarding the retroactive immunity - the issue is what do we want companies to do when asked to do something illegal by the governent, as the telecom companies were asked in this case. What we want them to do is say "no," as Qwest did back in 2001. They can say they need a warrant before they will act. If they can get immunity when they break the law, they will have no incentive to obey the law.

Second - Congressman Reyes said that Democrats and Republicans want the executive branch to have all the tools to prevent terrorism. I am sure what he meant to say was all the *constitutional* tools.

Finally - for telecom wiretaps, as for torture, a better solution than legalizing actions broadly, is to leave our legal protections in place, allow the courts to decide whether actions were legal or illegal, and then the President can pardon anyone who bent the rules while in hot pursuit of a terrorist. But we will probably find that there is not much hot pursuit actually happening.


Post a Comment

<< Home