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House to Cave on Wiretapping Bill?

After stealing headlines earlier in the year, the showdown between the White House and House Democrats over the renewal of controversial domestic spying legislation has faded from public debate. (In a nutshell, the administration wants to protect the phone companies from lawsuits for their role in providing the government with client information without judicial oversight — something the Senate approved but the House has thus far rejected.)

But now comes word from the American Civil Liberties Union that House Democrats may be crafting a deal with Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) to move a compromise bill. Rockefeller was one of the most vocal supporters of retroactive immunity for phone companies, which leaves groups like the ACLU spooked that any deal pushed by the West Virginian would include such a provision.

ACLU is already beating its drum of disapproval:

Make no mistake: any "compromise" that is acceptable to Senator Rockefeller and the President will undoubtedly let lawbreakers off the hook and seriously put at risk — or even end — lawsuits that may be the only way to get to the bottom of crimes that were committed by phone companies and Bush administration officials.

ACLU is urging its members to urge House leaders not to cave. And you thought it was safe to get back on the phone.

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