Watchdogs Demand Info On Telecoms’|Lobbying For Warrantless Wiretap Bill

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – The Director of National Intelligence and U.S. Department of Justice are illegally refusing  to disclose documents on lobbying by private telecommunications companies seeking legislation that would exempt them from liability in conducting warrantless wiretaps, the Electronic Frontier Foundation says in a federal action.

     The U.S. House of Representatives RESTORE Act of 2007 would reauthorize President Bush’s warrantless wiretap program but would not protect private telecoms for cooperating in it if it is found to be or have been illegal. The Senate version, passed in that house on Feb. 12, would exempt the telecoms from liability, and require dismissal of the 41 lawsuits already filed concerning the program, the suit states.
     The defendants agreed to “expedite processing” of the Foundation’s FOIA demands but have dragged their heels and failed to respond, the complaint states. The Foundation wants to see the documents.

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