McCain Flip Flops on Telco Immunity

Let's slap a not so fast label on last week's report that John McCain is against granting immunity to telephone companies that participated in President Bush's warrantless wiretapping of American's telephone calls and e-mails.

Chuck Fish, a former Time Warner executive who recently resigned to join the McCain campaign, told the 18th Annual Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference at Yale University May 21 that McCain not only was against immunity but, if elected, he would demand an apology from the telcos.

Fish's comments were noteworthy since McCain has in the past been for giving the telcos a pass for illegally spying on U.S. citizens.

Turns out, he still is.

Wired's Threat Level blog now reports McCain's online outreach manager Patrick Hynes says the first report "incorrectly represented" the presumptive Republican presidential nominee's stance. In an e-mail to the blog, Hynes said McCain "believes...companies who assist the government in good faith should not be punished."

McCain, according to Hynes, McCain does believe "Congress must put forth clear guidelines for requesting the participation of private companies, provide proper Congressional oversight of any such participation and protect all American's privacy."

Which raises this question: why didn't the ol' straight shooter himself bring up that proposal when voting to approve telco immunity in February?