EFF Sues the NSA and Bush Over Illegal Wiretaps

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Sep 192008

CNet News is reporting that the Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed suit against the NSA, George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Alberto Gonzales on behalf of AT&T customers in order to try to halt what EFF calls “massive illegal” warrant-less surveillance of Americans.

“For years, the NSA has been engaged in a massive and massively illegal fishing expedition through AT&T’s domestic networks and databases of customer records,” senior staff attorney Kevin Bankston said in a statement. “Our goal in this new case against the government, as in our case against AT&T, is to dismantle this dragnet surveillance program as soon as possible.”

The EFF as tried suing before, but lost at the Federal Appeals Court level, and the SCOTUS refused to intervene. The Appeals Court dismissed the original case on narrow procedural grounds, and never ruled on the legality of the case or the surveillance. I guess EFF is hoping to try to finally get a hearing on legality of the surveillance.

Mar 142008

The AP reports that an audit by the inspector general last year found the FBI demanded personal records without official authorization or otherwise collected more data than allowed in dozens of cases between 2003 and 2005. Additionally, last year’s audit found that the FBI had underreported to Congress how many national security letters were requested by more than 4,600.

Testifying at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Mueller raised the issue of the FBI’s controversial use of so-called national security letters in reference to an upcoming report on the topic by the Justice Department’s inspector general.

But not to worry, FBI Director Robert Mueller assures us that, “We are committed to ensuring that we not only get this right, but maintain the vital trust of the American people.” Nothing to see here folks…move along.

FBI Gets Wiretaps Cut for Non-Payment

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Jan 112008

Well, well, well. It seems the big telecom companies (you remember, the ones wanting immunity for assisting Dick Cheney and King George in their illegal wiretapping scheme because of the dire consequences to national security), have been having to cut off the phone lines providing wiretap information to the feds because the FBI can’t pay their bills on time.

The New York Times is reporting on an FBI audit that found that several wiretaps were cut off because the FBI was so behind on paying their bill.

In at least one case, a wiretap used in a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act investigation ”was halted due to untimely payment,” the audit found. FISA wiretaps are used in the government’s most sensitive and secretive criminal and intelligence investigations, and allow eavesdropping on suspected terrorists or spies.

”We also found that late payments have resulted in telecommunications carriers actually disconnecting phone lines established to deliver surveillance results to the FBI, resulting in lost evidence,” according to the audit by Inspector General Glenn A. Fine.

So let me get this straight…

  • The telecom companies just HAD to provide the government with the illegal wiretaps because of the obvious threats to national security.
  • Now, because they were really just protecting all of us, they expect the government to give them immunity.
  • The Congress probably will give them immunity in a couple of weeks.
  • But when the bills didn’t get paid, it wasn’t really an important enough threat to national security to keep the wiretaps open.

As one writer put, I guess they believed the government when they said the warrant was in the mail, but not when they said the check was in the mail.

Jul 292007

In his weekly radio address Bu$h demanded that Congress update the laws governing electronic surveillance. Now why would George give a damn about whether the law is up-to-date or not. It’s not like the Cheney/Bush Administration is following any of the laws anyway.