Category Archives: Telco immunity
Obama voted with the heathens to allow warrantless wiretapping and Telco Immunity.
Hillary Clinton voted no and supported Feingold and Dodd. From TPM muckraker:
Moments before the final vote, a handful of senators voted to filibuster the vote, including Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, and Tom Harkin of Iowa.
So what does that mean? It means that the nations largest telecom companies no longer have to worry about a batch of multi-million lawsuits filed by customers angered that the companies turned over their personal information to the government without a warrant.
It also means that if you are at home making an overseas phone call to a suspected terrorist, the government can monitor that call without a warrant.
Perhaps its just my usual ‘kneejerk’ reaction but I applaud Hillary Clinton, Russ Feingold, Patrick Leahy and Tom Harkin for standing their ground on this most heinous bullshit.
Obama can kiss my hairy ass at this point, he looks like all the other sell-outs that voted to destroy our civil rights and grant the fucking Telco’s immunity from civil lawsuits. That might also just be my usual kneejerk reaction but that said..I ain’t happy about his vote to sell the constitution and the rule of law down the fucking river.
As expected, one of the more vocal and progressive Democrats has voiced outrage at the…cough..compromise coming to the floor tomorrow on the Telco immunity and fucking us all without kissing us first bill.
Russ Feingold had this to say via TPM:
“The proposed FISA deal is not a compromise; it is a capitulation. The House and Senate should not be taking up this bill, which effectively guarantees immunity for telecom companies alleged to have participated in the President’s illegal program, and which fails to protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans at home. Allowing courts to review the question of immunity is meaningless when the same legislation essentially requires the court to grant immunity. And under this bill, the government can still sweep up and keep the international communications of innocent Americans in the U.S. with no connection to suspected terrorists, with very few safeguards to protect against abuse of this power. Instead of cutting bad deals on both FISA and funding for the war in Iraq, Democrats should be standing up to the flawed and dangerous policies of this administration.”
No shit Russ. Speak it gringo! Patrick Leahy also sent out an email already about this happy horseshit compromise. In it he said:
I will oppose this new FISA bill when the Senate votes on it next week. We must do everything we can to protect Americans from the Bush-Cheney Administration’s erosion of our civil liberties and callous disregard for the rule of law — and this new FISA bill fails that test.
Fails? Patty, it does more than fail. It sets us back hundreds of facking years dude. Lip service..thats all we get. This bill will pass because the Rethugs are virtually certain to vote for it en mass along with all those worthless Blue Dogs..and Steny the fuckwit Hoyer too.
The friggin’ ratbastards have agreed to provide immunity to the Telco’s and institute sweeping changes as to how our government can spy upon us. They are calling it..cough..choke..a compromise. From the WSJ via The Carpetbagger Report:
After more than a year of partisan acrimony over government surveillance powers, Democratic and Republican leaders have agreed to a bipartisan deal that would be the most sweeping rewrite of spy powers in three decades. The House is likely to vote on the measure Friday, House aides said. […]
The new agreement broadens the authority to spy on people in the U.S. and provides conditional legal immunity to companies that helped the government eavesdrop after the 2001 terrorist attacks, according to congressional aides in both parties.
The deal, if adopted, would bring the spy activities of a controversial National Security Agency surveillance program permanently under the law. That would allow the government, in certain circumstances, to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens without a specific warrant. It would also expand government spy powers to monitor communications between the U.S. and overseas to collect intelligence on topics beyond terrorism.
As Steve notes, Glen Greenwald’s pov on this is spot on. The fucking Blue Dogs were the ones championing this bullshittery to enable our government a free rein on spying without a warrant and providing the fucking Telco’s with retroactive immunity. They played the fear factor card just like the Rethugs do..and evidently it has worked..even Obama has jumped on this fucking bandwagon. From Greenwald:
So all the Attorney General has to do is recite those magic words — the President requested this eavesdropping and did it in order to save us from the Terrorists — and the minute he utters those words, the courts are required to dismiss the lawsuits against the telecoms, no matter how illegal their behavior was.
That’s the “compromise” Steny Hoyer negotiated and which he is now — according to very credible reports — pressuring every member of the Democratic caucus to support. It’s full-scale, unconditional amnesty with no inquiry into whether anyone broke the law. In the U.S. now, thanks to the Democratic Congress, we’ll have a new law based on the premise that the President has the power to order private actors to break the law, and when he issues such an order, the private actors will be protected from liability of any kind on the ground that the Leader told them to do it — the very theory that the Nuremberg Trial rejected.(emphasis Greenwalds)
With Democrats such as these in office..who is really our enemy? Seriously folks..who? The Rethugs only need to enlist the help of the fucking Blue Dogs and snap..it gets done.
May I say that I love the shit out of this memo. I love Mr. Reyes too, amen bro. From RawStory:
Congressman Silvestre Reyes, Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, sent a letter to President Bush regarding the ongoing battle over warrantless wiretapping.
Text of the letter follows below.
President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
The Preamble to our Constitution states that one of our highest duties as public officials is to “provide for the common defence.” As an elected Member of Congress, a senior Member of the House Armed Services Committee, and Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, I work everyday to ensure that our defense and intelligence capabilities remain strong in the face of serious threats to our national security.
Because I care so deeply about protecting our country, I take strong offense to your suggestion in recent days that the country will be vulnerable to terrorist attack unless Congress immediately enacts legislation giving you broader powers to conduct warrantless surveillance of Americans’ communications and provides legal immunity for telecommunications companies that participated in the Administration’s warrantless surveillance program.
Today, the National Security Agency (NSA) has authority to conduct surveillance in at least three different ways, all of which provide strong capability to monitor the communications of possible terrorists.
First, NSA can use its authority under Executive Order 12333 to conduct surveillance abroad of any known or suspected terrorist. There is no requirement for a warrant. There is no requirement for probable cause. Most of NSA’s collection occurs under this authority.
Second, NSA can use its authority under the Protect America Act, enacted last August, to conduct surveillance here in the U.S of any foreign target. This authority does not “expire” on Saturday, as you have stated. Under the PAA, orders authorizing surveillance may last for one year – until at least August 2008. These orders may cover every terrorist group without limitation. If a new member of the group is identified, or if a new phone number or email address is identified, the NSA may add it to the existing orders, and surveillance can begin immediately. We will not “go dark.”
Third, in the remote possibility that a new terrorist organization emerges that we have never previously identified, the NSA could use existing authority under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to monitor those communications. Since its establishment nearly 30 years ago, the FISA Court has approved nearly every application for a warrant from the Department of Justice. In an emergency, NSA or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) may begin surveillance immediately, and a FISA Court order does not have to be obtained for three days. The former head of FISA operations for the Department of Justice has testified publicly that emergency authorization may be granted in a matter of minutes.
As you know, the 1978 FISA law, which has been modernized and updated numerous times since 9/11, was instrumental in disrupting the terrorist plot in Germany last summer. Those who say that FISA is outdated do not understand the strength of this important tool.
If our nation is left vulnerable in the coming months, it will not be because we don’t have enough domestic spying powers. It will be because your Administration has not done enough to defeat terrorist organizations – including al Qaeda — that have gained strength since 9/11. We do not have nearly enough linguists to translate the reams of information we currently collect. We do not have enough intelligence officers who can penetrate the hardest targets, such as al Qaeda. We have surged so many intelligence resources into Iraq that we have taken our eye off the ball in Afghanistan and Pakistan. As a result, you have allowed al Qaeda to reconstitute itself on your watch.
You have also suggested that Congress must grant retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies. As someone who has been briefed on our most sensitive intelligence programs, I can see no argument why the future security of our country depends on whether past actions of telecommunications companies are immunized.
The issue of telecom liability should be carefully considered based on a full review of the documents that your Administration withheld from Congress for eight months. However, it is an insult to the intelligence of the American people to say that we will be vulnerable unless we grant immunity for actions that happened years ago.
Congress has not been sitting on its hands. Last November, the House passed responsible legislation to authorize the NSA to conduct surveillance of foreign terrorists and to provide clarity and legal protection to our private sector partners who assist in that surveillance.
The proper course is now to conference the House bill with the Senate bill that was passed on Tuesday. There are significant differences between these two bills and a conference, in regular order, is the appropriate mechanism to resolve the differences between these two bills. I urge you, Mr. President, to put partisanship aside and allow Republicans in Congress to arrive at a compromise that will protect America and protect our Constitution.
I, for one, do not intend to back down – not to the terrorists and not to anyone, including a President, who wants Americans to cower in fear.
We are a strong nation. We cannot allow ourselves to be scared into suspending the Constitution. If we do that, we might as well call the terrorists and tell them that they have won.
Member of Congress
Chairman, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
He is such a tool, our fearmongering leader. Why do people buy his twisted logic? A logic that basically admits the Telco’s subjugated our rights without so much as a whimper?
Over 40 lawsuits are winding their way through the court systems against these smarmy bastards known as the Telco’s..or Telecoms if you like.
Bush will sacrifice his own electorate in order to glean retroactive immunity for his cohorts in crime. I give you his own fear-filled words on the subject:
The stench of hypocrisy is pretty thick wouldn’t you say my dear reader? I can only hope that the House will stay the course..its our last hope on this issue. Lawd knows those idiots in the Senate can not be trusted to do their jobs.
House Minority Leader John Boehner, had the audacity to actually attempt to defend the Republicans’ desire to give the Telco’s their ‘free pass’..from CNN:
“This issue of the carriers that work with our government are increasingly concerned about their liability and increasingly concerned about whether they are going to continue to work with our intelligence officials,” -Boehner, an idiot and Rethug foot soldier of the highest order, had the nads to say today.
These guys have elevated fearmongering to an art form.
Hooray, its dead..the bullshit will ensue of course..but for now..its dead as the proverbial doornail. And I couldn’t be happier. 😉 Dana Perino can kiss my liberal ass.
Check out this wonderful short video on this issue..simply marvelous!