Word on Capitol Hill is that Steny Hoyer is feeling some heat to pass FISA reauthorization and is floating a number of compromise bills. However, one of those “compromise” bills would not address the issue of immunity for telecommunications companies that answered the call of government the first time around and now are being threatened with lawsuits. If Congress passes a bill without addressing this critical component, it means that the telecom companies will be left out in the cold.
Having passed something, members of Congress will go back home and tell their constituents that they did the right thing and addressed the critical security needs of our country. They simply won’t mention the complicated telecom issue, and act as if they took bold action. They’ll feel no sense of urgency to return the matter — which means that the private sector companies, whom the government has begged to join the homeland security effort, will be open targets for lawsuits … and good luck getting such cooperation from the private sector ever again.