The argument for telecom immunity is that these companies helped defend our nation after the 9/11 attacks. In all the debates and petty posturing, why isn’t the fact that these telecoms were approached before 9/11 being brought up?
Former CEO Joseph P. Nacchio says he was approached in February 2001, a full 6 months before 9/11.
“Nacchio’s account, which places the NSA proposal at a meeting on Feb. 27, 2001, suggests that the Bush administration was seeking to enlist telecommunications firms in programs without court oversight before the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon. The Sept. 11 attacks have been cited by the government as the main impetus for its warrantless surveillance efforts“.
Although bush insists that telecom immunity concerns cooperation after 9/11 attacks as stated here:
“ Speaking from the White House lawn Oct. 10, Bush said Congress must grant liability protection to telephone companies being sued “only because they are believed to have assisted in the efforts to defend our nation following the 9/11 attacks.”
But is it the truth? An article published in WIRED states that the NSA program started just days into the Bush presidency.
Qwest CEO Not Alone in Alleging NSA Started Domestic Phone Record Program 7 Months Before 9/11
The project was described in the ATT sales division documents as calling for the construction of a facility to store and retain data gathered by the NSA from its domestic and foreign intelligence operations but was to be in actuality a duplicate ATT Network Operations Center for the use and possession of the NSA that would give the NSA direct, unlimited, unrestricted and unfettered access to all call information and internet and digital traffic on ATTÌs long distance network. […]
The NSA program was initially conceived at least one year prior to 2001 but had been called off; it was reinstated within 11 days of the entry into office of defendant George W. Bush.
An ATT Solutions logbook reviewed by counsel confirms the Pioneer-Groundbreaker project start date of February 1, 2001.
In Oct 2007 Rep John Conyers wrote a letter to National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell, and Ken Wainstein, the Justice Department’s assistant attorney general for national security.
“Conyers noted that the White House is seeking civil and criminal immunity for telephone companies that did cooperate with the wiretapping program. Because of that, Conyers said, “it is crucial that Congress be fully informed of all the administration’s surveillance activities.”
Where are these arguments today?
Filed under: Politics