Telecom Firms in Wiretaps Is Confirmed

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Where do I sign up for a civil suit? Bastards. I know the Electronic Frontier Foundation is suing on our behalf, they need your support.

Role of Telecom Firms in Wiretaps Is Confirmed:
The Bush administration has confirmed for the first time that American telecommunications companies played a crucial role in the National Security Agency’s domestic eavesdropping program after asserting for more than a year that any role played by them was a “state secret.”
The acknowledgment was in an unusual interview that Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence, gave last week to The El Paso Times in which he disclosed details on classified intelligence issues that the administration has long insisted would harm national security if discussed publicly.

Mr. McConnell made the remarks apparently in an effort to bolster support for the broadened wiretapping authority that Congress approved this month, even as Democrats are threatening to rework the legislation because they say it gives the executive branch too much power. It is vital, he said, for Congress to give retroactive legal immunity to the companies that assisted in the program to help prevent them from facing bankruptcy because of lawsuits over it.

“Under the president’s program, the terrorist surveillance program, the private sector had assisted us, because if you’re going to get access, you’ve got to have a partner,” Mr. McConnell said in the interview, a transcript of which was posted by The El Paso Times on Wednesday.

AT&T and several other major carriers are being sued over their reported role in the program, which permitted eavesdropping without warrants on the international communications of Americans suspected of terrorism ties. The administration has sought to shut down the lawsuits by invoking the state-secrets privilege, refusing even to confirm whether the companies helped conduct the wiretaps.

Cindy Cohn, legal director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is heading up the lawsuit against AT&T, said her group might ask the appeals court to consider Mr. McConnell’s comments in deciding whether the state-secrets argument should be thrown out.

“They’ve really undermined their own case,” Ms. Cohn said.

and this McConnell character is just an idiot:

Mr. McConnell, who took over as the country’s top intelligence official in February, warned that the public discussion generated by the Congressional debate over the wiretapping bill threatened national security because it would alert terrorists to American surveillance methods.

“Now part of this is a classified world,” he said in the interview. “The fact we’re doing it this way means that some Americans are going to die.”.

Asked whether he was saying the news media coverage and the public debate in Congress meant that “some Americans are going to die,” he replied: “That’s what I mean. Because we have made it so public.”

Mr. McConnell, though, put new information on the public record in the interview, on Aug. 14 while in Texas for a border conference.

If we don't break the law, ponies will die!

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That would be a nice twofer: protect a deep-pockets industry that may have broken the law, and cut off judicial scrutiny of Mr. Bush’s decision to ignore FISA in the first place.Other parts of Mr. McConnell’s interview were bewildering, like his claim ... Read More

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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on August 24, 2007 9:10 AM.

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