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.

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.

NSA Might Have Tapped Phones Pre-9/11

 Constitution, Corruption, Politics, Presidency, Technology, The Courts  Comments Off on NSA Might Have Tapped Phones Pre-9/11
Jul 052006

Bloomberg is reporting that evidence seems to indicate the NSA approached AT&T months prior to 9/11 seeking to intercept telephone calls.

The U.S. National Security Agency asked AT&T Inc. to help it set up a domestic call monitoring site seven months before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, lawyers claimed June 23 in court papers filed in New York federal court.

The allegation is part of a court filing adding AT&T, the nation’s largest telephone company, as a defendant in a breach of privacy case filed earlier this month on behalf of Verizon Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp. customers. The suit alleges that the three carriers, the NSA and President George W. Bush violated the Telecommunications Act of 1934 and the U.S. Constitution, and seeks money damages.

“The Bush Administration asserted this became necessary after 9/11,” plaintiff’s lawyer Carl Mayer said in a telephone interview. “This undermines that assertion.”

Here’s the complete story>>