This week on CounterSpin: The extension of the Protect America Act would have permitted the White House’s warrantless wiretapping program and immunized telecommunications firms for cooperating with it. Congress refused, and now the Act’s expiration is being presented as a battle between the White House, which says not extending it leaves the country vulnerable to terrorists, and congressional democrats, who oppose the immunity provision. We’ll ask Georgetown Law professor David Cole about the dispute and larger questions raised by secret government wiretapping.
Also on the program, more on what the government is up to and the public’s right to know about it: Open government advocates cheered last year when Congress passed a law to strengthen FOIA – the Freedom of Information Act — that reporters often use to pry information out of government agencies. You won’t be surprised to know the Bush White House wasn’t keen on the law, but you might be surprised to hear how they set about undermining it. We’ll hear from Rick Blum, coordinator of the Sunshine in Government Initiative.