Think Tank Talks Up Telecom Immunity

PhoneThe Democratic think tank / advocacy group Third Way has been working with Senate Democrats to help sell a controversial measure granting retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies, reports Matt Renner. The measure "is the major sticking point over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) legislation that is currently stalled in the Senate." During a meeting with Senator Jay Rockefeller's legislative aide for military and national security issues, Third Way's Matt Bennett suggested "talking points to help make the case for telecom immunity." Bennett said, "We thought it would be a bad idea to allow these companies to be held legally liable for cooperating with the government ... you want to encourage the cooperation of not just the telecom industry, but all other industries in the future." Third Way would not disclose whether the group receives telecom funding, but some of its board members do have telecom ties. Reynold Levy, for example, formerly served as AT&T's senior officer in charge of government relations.