Senate Yields to White House on Eavesdropping

Agrees to widen powers, give phone companies immunity
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 12, 2008 6:41 PM CST
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. right, looks on as Senator Christopher Bond, R-Mo., discusses Senate action on the Foreign intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), Tuesday, Feb. 12,2008, during...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The Senate passed a bill today to expand the government's wiretapping powers and to grant immunity to phone companies that aided the government in post-9/11 investigations, the Washington Post reports. That translates into a big victory for the White House, notes the New York Times. The bill now goes to the House, which rejected immunity, for negotiations.

Though the bill, an update to a 1978 surveillance law, would grant Bush’s wishes, it would also extend the powers of a court established that year to regulate eavesdropping. Senators voted 68-29 to pass the bill despite two months of disagreements over balancing civil liberties and surveillance.