In a New York Times article dated 3/14/08, it was reported that the U.S. House of Representatives voted just barely against granting immunity to the telecommunications companies who took part in the illegal wiretapping post 9/11. Surprisingly, when the House met to discuss this, they held a secret meeting, something not done in twenty-five years.
The vote is reported to have gone essentially along party lines. President Bush had already threatened to veto a bill that failed to provide immunity to the telecom companies. That outcome will be pending a return of the bill to the Senate for voting before being sent to the president for signature/veto.
What I've been surprised to read about this issue are the number of people who support the Democrats on this issue. The reason I'm not surprised isn't because I have such a high opinion of the telecom companies, but rather because I view the telecom companies as middlemen--as a means to an end. The person responsible for asking/commanding the telecom companies to perform the illegal wiretaps is the person Congress should be going after, not the middlemen.
I think The House of Representatives were not at all courageous in their stand to deny immunity to the telecom companies. First things first: let's recommend impeachment hearings on the president who ordered the anti-Constitutional wiretaps in the first place. Whatever happened to "The buck stops here"?
It is common sense to hold accountable those who are on the top. If people lead from the top down, then certainly responsibility flows in the same order. The fact that we haven't been doing so of late is no excuse for continued errors in this direction.
If the Democrats, or the Republicans, or a bipartisan coalition, want to show the American people that they have chutzpah, that they value the Constitution and all that it stands for, then those elected officials will take the correct action to send that message to all Americans, and to the world. To read the article from the New York Times, click on the title link.