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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 refusingto disclose documents on lobbying byprivate telecommunications companiesseeking legislation that wouldexempt them from liability inconducting warrantless wiretaps,the Electronic Frontier Foundation saysin a federalaction.

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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