Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Wiretapping Story Thickens...

The Wall Street Journal (subscription restricted) is reporting that BellSouth is "demanding a retraction" of the story by USA Today that characterized the relationship between the NSA and BellSouth Corp.

Companies like BellSouth, Verizon, and AT&T may be allowed to lie about their relationship and transactions with the NSA; because of a presidential memorandum that George Bush signed on May 5th that allows the Director of National Intelligence, John Negroponte, to authorize a company to "conceal activities related to national security."

The Congressional Research Service has released a report questioning the legality of the monitoring and turning over to the NSA of call records by telecommunications companies. According to the report, existing laws may "expose the telephone companies to some civil remedies or criminal sanctions." "In addition, a request not founded upon a statutory scheme would appear to lack a means of compelling production of the information requested."

Representative John Conyers
had this to say:
"Report suggests that in providing the NSA with millions of phone records of innocent Americans, the telephone service providers violated a number of Federal statutes including the Communications Act of 1934 and 18 U.S.C. § 2701 governing access to stored electronic communications and transactional records. In addition, the NSA may well be in violation of both FISA and related federal laws governing trap and trace devices. Given this analysis, it is clear that we as a congress need to step up and investigate these very serious charges."
Where's the oversight? At least 29% of Americans believe they have already been wiretapped. I believe that some of my calls may have been tracked, whether or not, however, it may have pertained to my receiving a security clearance with the Department of Defense, I do not know. I simply am unaware of just how far the FBI went in investigating my trustworthiness before the DoD decided to authorize my clearance. Continued wiretapping or monitoring of my electronic communications, however, would be unrelated to my clearance and would simply be a part of the theft from Americans of their 4th amendment rights...

I think we all have a lot to think about. Glossing it over as a "terrorist surveillance program" is a load of crap. That would be like saying invading Iraq was all about freedom. If we don't know better than that, we deserve to have our phones tapped.

Tags: Negroponte NSA Wiretaps Bellsouth AT&T Verizon Conyers Bush Politics Lies FBI D0D Defense CRS Terrorism Intelligence

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