Congress reaches deal on terrorist surveillance bill
Congress has reached a deal on a bill that would authorize the Bush administration to eavesdrop on Americans in an effort to prevent terrorist attacks, US newspapers reported Thursday. ( dpa ) The bill would allow the intelligence community to use broad warrants to listen in on foreign targets and could tap into US communications in some cases without a warrant - if it is determined that important national security operations would be lost, The New York Times reported.
Republican and Democratic leaders reached a deal after more than a year of wrangling with the Bush administration, which argues that the practice is vital to protect the country from terrorist attacks.
The bill would give limited legal immunity to telephone companies that receive a valid government request to participate in the eavesdropping.
Majority Democrats touted the compromise as a success that assists national security while protecting the rights of US citizens. The bill could be voted on by the House of Representatives by Friday.
House Democrats in February allowed a temporary surveillance measure to expire, angering the Bush administration.