Ruling: Telcoms Not Liable for 'Illegal Spying'

Looks like the anti-Bushies lost another one this week when lawsuits against telecommunications companies claiming that they assisted the Bush administration in “illegally spying on Americans” were dismissed in San Francisco.

Federal district judge Vaughn Walker ruled that Congress didn’t violate the Constitution by allowing the U.S. attorney-general to “certify privately to the court that the companies had been asked to co-operate in an antiterrorism programme authorised by the president.” Vaughn cited a law that retroactively gave the telecoms immunity.

“Congress has manifested its unequivocal intention to create an immunity that will shield the telecommunications company defendants from liability in these actions,” Mr Walker wrote. He added that Congress did not go too far in delegating authority to the executive branch, although he said that matter was “a close question.”

This is good news for the ability of the government to safeguard our nation in a time of international terrorism. After all, if everyone in the country has to refuse to work with our own government on security matter for fear of being sued by Americans foolishly sympathetic to our enemies, then how exactly can we expect the government to in any way keep us safe?

Now, the actions of the government itself is certainly open for debate, even lawsuits, but we are braiding our own noose if we so frighten the private sector away from assisting the government that they refuse to do anything at all in cooperation.

This is a good ruling. Let’s hope it stands.