Think Progress
May 23, 2008

In a new interview with Wired, Chuck Fish, a full-time lawyer for Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) campaign, says that the senator opposes immunity for telecoms that aided the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program — unless they first offer a heartfelt apology for their actions:

As president, presumptive Republican nominee John McCain would not support immunity for the telecoms that aided the Bush administration’s warrantless spying program, unless there were revealing Congressional hearings and heartfelt repentance from those telephone and internet companies, a campaign surrogate said Wednesday. […]

“First, we need to be explicit we are not talking about granting indulgences,” Fish said, clarifying that he meant forgiveness must be matched with repentance.

Basically, McCain wants to give telecoms nothing more than a slap on the wrist. If they publicly say they’re very sorry for what they did, all can be forgiven.

The telecoms have not yet offered the American public any apologies, and it doesn’t seem like they’re doing any repenting. Yet McCain has already voted for immunity. In fact, in February he said it was “disgraceful” that Congress had not yet approved a bill expanding the Bush administration’s wiretapping powers and granting immunity to telecoms:

Isn’t it embarrassing — worse than embarrassing — when the Congress and the House of Representatives of the United States of America goes out on recess, when we have not addressed this incredible threat of the intelligence capabilities of this country to monitor the communications of bad people? It’s disgraceful. It’s disgraceful!

In the interview with Wired, Fish acknowledged McCain’s pro-immunity votes, saying that they were “complicated.” In reality, it’s not that complicated: McCain is willing to give telecoms immunity with or without any repentance and congressional hearings.

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