Thursday, July 10 2008
US President George W Bush has approved a bill to shield telephone companies who helped in the White House’s controversial wiretaps programme.
The bill also grants the US government the power to continue with the telephone surveillance scheme.
The White House faced criticism when it emerged it was monitoring – without warrants – communications in the US involving one participant abroad.
The bill had previously been passed by both houses of Congress.
Signing the bill into law, President Bush said it “will play a critical role in helping to prevent another attack on our soil”.
“The bill will allow our intelligence professionals to quickly and effectively monitor the communications of terrorists abroad while respecting the liberties of Americans here at home,” he added.
Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama voted in favour of the measure when it came before the Senate on Wednesday.
His decision to back the bill drew criticism from some of his supporters, who pointed to past statements in which Mr Obama had pledged to block any bill which granted immunity to telecommunication companies.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â
Full Story | See Also: Sweden approves wiretapping law | Opposition to proposed Swedish surveillance law mounts | Sweden sets sights on new ‘catch and release’ wiretap law | Secretive Canadian spy agency to get $62-million HQ | Whistle-Blower: Feds Have a Backdoor Into Wireless Carrier – Congress Reacts | Listening in on the enemy: Canada’s master eavesdroppers