Democrats and Republicans cut a deal in Congress on Thursday to rewrite controversial surveillance legislation. It’s being billed as a compromise, but civil rights advocates are groaning over concessions including virtual immunity for telecommunications companies and the ability to spy on Americans without a warrant.

New York Times:

The deal would expand the government’s powers in some key respects. It would allow intelligence officials to use broad warrants to eavesdrop on foreign targets, and to conduct emergency wiretaps on American targets without warrants if it is determined that important national security information would be lost otherwise.

The deal would also make the phone companies involved in the post-Sept. 11 program immune from legal liability if a district court determines that they received valid requests from the government directing their participation in the warrantless wiretapping operation.

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