President Bush and the Democratic-controlled Congress need to tap some of the cooperative spirit they used on the stimulus package to deal with terrorist surveillance. The administration may be using some â€œoverheated rhetoricâ€ to obscure the facts and â€œscare tacticsâ€ to try to get its way, as congressional Democratic intelligence committee chairmen said in a Washington Post commentary.
But the potential consequences of inaction are scary. And Bush makes a strong argument for the Senate version of the surveillance bill, which gives cooperating telecom companies retroactive legal immunity. â€œOur government told them that their participation was necessaryÂ – and it was, and it still is — and that what we had asked them to do was legal. And now theyâ€™re getting sued for billions of dollars. And itâ€™s not fair.â€ Already, according to two Bush administration agencies, the delay has â€œimpaired our ability to cover foreign intelligence targets, which resulted in missed intelligence information.â€ The priority here should not be how this fracas will play at the polls in November but how to safeguard the nation now.
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