Monday, December 17, 2007
Criminal Activity Continues to go Unchecked
AT&T engineer says Bush Administration sought to implement domestic spying within two weeks of taking office
Published: Sunday December 16, 2007
Nearly 1,300 words into Sunday's New York Times article revealing new details of the National Security Agency's domestic eavesdropping program, the lawyer for an AT&T engineer alleges that "within two weeks of taking office, the Bush administration was planning a comprehensive effort of spying on Americans’ phone usage.”
In a New Jersey federal court case, the engineer claims that AT&T sought to create a phone center that would give the NSA access to "all the global phone and e-mail traffic that ran through" a New Jersey network hub.
The former AT&T employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity to the Times said he took part in several discussions with agency officials about the plan.
"The officials, he said, discussed ways to duplicate the Bedminster system in Maryland so the agency “could listen in” with unfettered access to communications that it believed had intelligence value and store them for later review," Times reporters Eric Lichtblau, James Risen and Scott Shane wrote. "There was no discussion of limiting the monitoring to international communications, he said."
“At some point,” he told the paper, “I started feeling something isn’t right.”
"Two other AT&T employees who worked on the proposal discounted his claims, saying in interviews that the project had simply sought to improve the N.S.A.’s internal communications systems and was never designed to allow the agency access to outside communications."
AT&T's spokesman said they didn't comment on national security matters, as did a spokesman for Qwest, which was also approached but apparently rebuffed the plan. The lawyer for the engineer and others in the New Jersey case says AT&T's internal documents would vindicate his clients.
“What he saw,” Bruce Afran, a New Jersey lawyer representing the plaintiffs, told the Times, “was decisive evidence that within two weeks of taking office, the Bush administration was planning a comprehensive effort of spying on Americans’ phone usage.”
I must add that Qwest was severely sought after by government officials, due to what I believe was revenge for non-compliance to the illegal request to wiretap millions of innocent Americans! The owner of Qwest currently sits in prison for some sort of business fraud charges, that were surely trumped up in order to set an example to other companies that might consider not complying. Tyranny at it's worst.
Are we also going to let the administration bully Congress and the people into giving them a free pass for their illegal activities? Perhaps the legality point could be considered arguable after 9/11, but Congress has absolutely NO EXCUSE for not going after the administration for their egregious actions prior to the attack! This sole act sits near the very top of the long list of impeachable offenses, and I say that's exactly why Congress has proven grossly negligent in their duties of oversight in this case.
Since this article was in today's New York times, this presents the perfect opportunity to remind our congressional members that we will not condone their giving a free pass to the companies that chose to violate our rights! Send them a link to this article, and let them know you have not forgotten about it, nor do you think it is appropriate for them to continue to ignore this serious violation that is clearly known to exist.
UPDATE: Chris Dodd is filibustering the retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies RIGHT NOW! Support Dodd's filibuster!!! Contact your member of Congress to implore them to support the filibuster.
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