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Surveillance Powers

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Surveillance Powers

Legislation approved yesterday by the Senate would expand government powers to eavesdrop on terrorism and intelligence suspects.

Key provision: Expands government's authority to intercept -- without a court order -- the phone calls and e-mails of people in the United States communicating with others overseas. U.S. intelligence agencies previously needed warrants to monitor calls intercepted in the United States, regardless of whether the calls began or ended overseas.

Key difference from House bill: Gives telecommunications companies immunity from about 40 lawsuits filed over their past cooperation with the government on warrantless surveillance.

President Bush: Supports the Senate bill and refuses to sign an extension of a temporary law that expires Friday.

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