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The long, drawn-out search for a fig leaf behind which the House Democrats can capitulate on FISA appears to have arrived as Democrats back a "compromise" by which telecom firms that illegally assisted the Bush administration's surveillance efforts can be sued with the proviso that they get off scot-free if they can produce evidence that the Bush administration promised them (cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye) that their illegal request was, in fact, legal. Since everyone already knows this happened, the companies all get off scot-free.

See Tim Lee, Glenn Greenwald, and Brian Beutler for more.

Who knows where this precedent of retroactively immunizing illegal conduct will lead us.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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