Bush: no compromise on phone immunity in spy bill

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (Reuters) – U.S. President George W. Bush said on Thursday he would not compromise with the Democratic-led Congress on his demand that phone companies that took part in his warrantless domestic spying program be shielded from lawsuits.Bush has demanded Congress protect companies like AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications from civil lawsuits that accuse them of violating Americans’ privacy rights in the administration’s anti-terrorism program.

The Senate approved a measure that would grant the companies retroactive immunity but the House of Representatives has opposed it. The surveillance program began in 2001 after the September 11 attacks and some 40 lawsuits are pending.

House and Senate Democrats said they would try to find a compromise even as they said their Republican counterparts refused to permit staff to meet with them on Thursday.

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