Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Surveillance bill survives key Senate test

WASHINGTON - An electronic surveillance bill has cleared an important hurdle in the Senate. A test vote on the measure Wednesday won the support of 80 senators who want to begin debate. Only 15 senators tried to kill the bill by blocking the debate.

Opponents are upset that the bill would protect from lawsuits those telecommunications companies that allegedly helped the government eavesdrop on American phone and computer lines without approval from a court for nearly six years after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The Senate is expected to vote on final passage by late Thursday. The House approved the bill last week.

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