May 17, 2006 5:15 PM PDT

Legal loophole emerges in NSA spy program

SAN FRANCISCO--An AT&T attorney indicated in federal court on Wednesday that the Bush administration may have provided legal authorization for the telecommunications company to open its network to the National Security Agency.

Federal law may "authorize and in some cases require telecommunications companies to furnish information" to the executive branch, said Bradford Berenson, who was associate White House counsel when President Bush authorized the NSA surveillance program in late 2001 and is now a partner at the Sidley Austin law firm in Washington, D.C.

Bradford Berenson Bradford Berenson

Far from being complicit in an illegal spying scheme, Berenson said, "AT&T is essentially an innocent bystander."

AT&T may be referring to an obscure section of federal law, 18 U.S.C. 2511, which permits a telecommunications company to provide "information" and "facilities" to the federal government as long as the attorney general authorizes it. The authorization must come in the form of "certification in writing by...the Attorney General of the United States that no warrant or court order is required by law."

Information that is not yet public "would be exculpatory and would show AT&T's conduct in the best possible light," Berenson said. But he did not acknowledge any details about the company's alleged participation in the NSA's surveillance program, which has ignited an ongoing debate on Capitol Hill and led to this class-action lawsuit being filed in January by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Some legal experts say that AT&T may be off the hook if former Attorney General John Ashcroft, who was in office at the time the NSA program began, provided a letter of certification. (Other officials, including the deputy attorney general and state attorneys general, also are authorized to write these letters.)

"If the certification exists, AT&T is in pretty good shape," said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center and co-author of a book on information privacy law.

EFF's lawsuit alleges that the telecommunications company let the NSA engage in wholesale monitoring of Americans' communications in violation of privacy laws. Confidential documents that EFF unearthed during the course of the suit--kept under seal and still not public--allege that AT&T gave the government full access to its networks in a way that let millions of e-mail messages, Web browsing sessions and phone calls be intercepted.

AT&T's ace in the hole?
If a letter of certification exists, AT&T could have an ace in the hole. A second section of federal law says that a "good faith" reliance on a letter of certification "is a complete defense to any civil or criminal" lawsuit.

During the hearing Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Carl Nichols also hinted that such a letter exists. Nichols said that there are undisclosed "facts that AT&T might want to present in its defense."

AT&T's legal defense?

An obscure section of federal law says that AT&T may have legally participated in the NSA surveillance program -- if, that is, it received a "certification" from the attorney general.

That section says: "Notwithstanding any other law, providers of wire or electronic communication service... are authorized to provide information, facilities, or technical assistance to persons authorized by law to intercept wire, oral, or electronic communications... if such provider... has been provided with... a certification in writing by... the Attorney General of the United States that no warrant or court order is required by law, that all statutory requirements have been met, and that the specified assistance is required, setting forth the period of time during which the provision... is authorized... No provider of wire or electronic communication... shall disclose the existence of any interception or surveillance or the device used to accomplish the interception or surveillance..."

But, Nichols added, those facts relate to classified information that are "state secrets" and would jeopardize national security if they were disclosed. A hearing on the Bush administration's request to dismiss the case on national security grounds has been scheduled for June 23.

For its part, AT&T has remained silent about the extent of its alleged participation in the NSA surveillance scheme, which initially was thought to apply only to international calls but now may encompass records of domestic phone calls and more. Verizon and BellSouth, for instance, took steps to distance themselves from a USA Today report that said their call databases were opened to the NSA. BellSouth on Thursday demanded a retraction. But AT&T wouldn't comment.

Marc Bien, a spokesman for AT&T, told CNET News.com on Wednesday: "Without commenting on or confirming the existence of the program, we can say that when the government asks for our help in protecting national security, and the request is within the law, we will provide that assistance."

The next tussle in this lawsuit is likely to center on how far the "state secrets" concept can extend. Is AT&T able to divulge the text of any certification letter, without saying exactly what information it turned over as a result? Must the mere existence of a certification letter remain secret?

Injecting additional complexity is 18 U.S.C. 2511's prohibition on disclosure. It says that telecommunication companies may not "disclose the existence of any interception or surveillance or the device used to accomplish the interception or surveillance"--except if required by law. Unlawful disclosures are subject to fines.

EFF claims that the existence of a letter of certification should not be classified. Cindy Cohn, an EFF attorney, told the judge on Wednesday that it is "not a state secret because the statute has a whole process" governing it.

"If you have a certification, let's see it," EFF attorney Lee Tien said in an interview after the hearing.

For his part, Berenson, the former attorney for President Bush who's now representing AT&T, complained about allegations that his client is violating the law. It's unfortunate that EFF "chose to use words like 'criminal tendency' and 'crimes,'" Berenson said. AT&T "is one of the great companies of the United States. To attach those kinds of labels is reckless at best."

Berenson's biography says he worked for Bush on the "war on terrorism" and the USA Patriot Act. Since leaving the White House, Berenson has written letters to Congress (click here for PDF) calling for renewal of the Patriot Act and has co-founded a group called Citizens for the Common Defence that advocates a "robust" view of presidential authority. It filed, for instance, an amicus brief (click here for PDF) before the Supreme Court in the Hamdi case arguing that a U.S. citizen could be detained indefinitely without trial because of the war on terror.

See more CNET content tagged:
NSA, information privacy, AT&T Corp., certification, telecommunications company

102 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
National Security
"But, Nichols added, those facts relate to classified information that are "state secrets" and would jeopardize national security if they were disclosed."

Yes, it would jeopardize the national security of anyone who authorized this and doesn't want to go to jail.
Posted by ajbright (447 comments )
Reply Link Flag
AT&T's Nuremberg Defense
And they should get the same punishment.
Posted by Too Old For IT (351 comments )
Link Flag
National Security
"But, Nichols added, those facts relate to classified information that are "state secrets" and would jeopardize national security if they were disclosed."

Yes, it would jeopardize the national security of anyone who authorized this and doesn't want to go to jail.
Posted by ajbright (447 comments )
Reply Link Flag
AT&T's Nuremberg Defense
And they should get the same punishment.
Posted by Too Old For IT (351 comments )
Link Flag
Insightful article -- but what else are they doing?
That's the question on everyone's mind.

Email? Web? Yahoo? AOL? Mining the text of emails? Non-
electronic network analysis? Newsgroups?

I don't think anyone has suggested the domestic-to-
international tapping and the phone log analysis is all there is to
it.

So what else?

I think widespread outrage is on the horizon.
Posted by mgreere (332 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Insightful article -- but what else are they doing?
That's the question on everyone's mind.

Email? Web? Yahoo? AOL? Mining the text of emails? Non-
electronic network analysis? Newsgroups?

I don't think anyone has suggested the domestic-to-
international tapping and the phone log analysis is all there is to
it.

So what else?

I think widespread outrage is on the horizon.
Posted by mgreere (332 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Note The Revolving Public/Private Revolving Door
For all practical purposes there is no longer any wall between the public and private sector. You see the same players go back and forth between government jobs and private sector jobs. Ex-officios like Clinton, Dole, and Albright hawk for Dubai. Cheney gives Halliburton non-bid contracts. Ex DOD guys go to work for defense contractors. Congressional aids go to work on K Street as paid lobbyists. The whole thing is insidious, and in the end we get things like the FCC approving the AT&T/SBC merger in exchange for NSA access to AT&T customer data. Is this really a surprise to anyone?
Posted by CancerMan2 (74 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Revolving Doors
Nothing new about the revolving door of people moving in and out of the government and private sector. It has been going on as long as the country has been in existence. In a democracy it is inevitable. The only way to prevent would be to have a governing class, elite, that did nothing but govern.

The more telling aspect of this instance is that AT&T would use a lawyer to defend it who was a Bush attorney and advocate of the notion that Bush has unrestricted powers by virtue of his position as Commander in Chief in time of war. There are no credible constitutional authorities who believe that. Therefore, the lawyer AT&T has chosen will himself be a point of contention.

It would seem that the people running AT&T have themselves blundered twice. When Quest was asked for its records, it refused and the Bush people backed off. Why did the government back off? Because they knew that going after Quest to make it comply would bring unwanted publicity about what the government was doing. AT&T blundered again when it chose a highly controversial lawyer associated with Bush to defend itself.

Of course these are same people who ran SBC when that company bought AT&T and lobbied the Bush administration not to invoke antitrust law to block the buy-out. AT&T owed Bush one. That is the really sad part of this. It was *** for tat, big business/government, and the public be hanged.
Posted by gmcaloon--2008 (72 comments )
Link Flag
Note The Revolving Public/Private Revolving Door
For all practical purposes there is no longer any wall between the public and private sector. You see the same players go back and forth between government jobs and private sector jobs. Ex-officios like Clinton, Dole, and Albright hawk for Dubai. Cheney gives Halliburton non-bid contracts. Ex DOD guys go to work for defense contractors. Congressional aids go to work on K Street as paid lobbyists. The whole thing is insidious, and in the end we get things like the FCC approving the AT&T/SBC merger in exchange for NSA access to AT&T customer data. Is this really a surprise to anyone?
Posted by CancerMan2 (74 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Revolving Doors
Nothing new about the revolving door of people moving in and out of the government and private sector. It has been going on as long as the country has been in existence. In a democracy it is inevitable. The only way to prevent would be to have a governing class, elite, that did nothing but govern.

The more telling aspect of this instance is that AT&T would use a lawyer to defend it who was a Bush attorney and advocate of the notion that Bush has unrestricted powers by virtue of his position as Commander in Chief in time of war. There are no credible constitutional authorities who believe that. Therefore, the lawyer AT&T has chosen will himself be a point of contention.

It would seem that the people running AT&T have themselves blundered twice. When Quest was asked for its records, it refused and the Bush people backed off. Why did the government back off? Because they knew that going after Quest to make it comply would bring unwanted publicity about what the government was doing. AT&T blundered again when it chose a highly controversial lawyer associated with Bush to defend itself.

Of course these are same people who ran SBC when that company bought AT&T and lobbied the Bush administration not to invoke antitrust law to block the buy-out. AT&T owed Bush one. That is the really sad part of this. It was *** for tat, big business/government, and the public be hanged.
Posted by gmcaloon--2008 (72 comments )
Link Flag
Loophole?
What, so Bush is now a King who can bypass the Constitution? Has AT&T heard of the Fourth Amendment?

This is truly sickening.
Posted by R. U. Sirius (745 comments )
Reply Link Flag
750 executive orders and counting..
But Bush can just create a new executive order that says he doesn't have to follow the rules.
Posted by mycall (8 comments )
Link Flag
Loophole?
What, so Bush is now a King who can bypass the Constitution? Has AT&T heard of the Fourth Amendment?

This is truly sickening.
Posted by R. U. Sirius (745 comments )
Reply Link Flag
750 executive orders and counting..
But Bush can just create a new executive order that says he doesn't have to follow the rules.
Posted by mycall (8 comments )
Link Flag
A T & T are desperate!!!
A T & T, by hinting at that useless piece of information are truly desperate and fighting a very poor rearguard action indeed!, for their actions and activities are totally reprehensible and very very illegal with that throwaway line!!!!!!

Also given what happened at QWEST, watch these headless chickens start running around in circles!!!!!

For both the US Constitution, and amendments are inviolate(US Supreme Court Decisions, no illegal law agency fishing is permitted period), and also the Telecommuniction Privacy Act 1986, has specific fines per violation!!!!, and the Patriot Act has specific minimum legal requirements, also the oath of the office of the president means that bearer is beholden to all congressional laws!

It is a pity that a group non government lawyers were forced into a class action to uphold the laws of congress, for that shows that, the current encumbemt, A R Gonzales has literally failed to uphold the oath of his office when he was sworn in!

Oh well, looks like a quickie settlement is comming very soon within the next couple of weeks!!!!!

Still, such bad timing of the President spying on and profiling all the country's citizens and treating them as enemy combatants per se, can have little positive effects for the reelection of encumbent Republican candidates for both houses in the upcoming mid terms!!!!
Posted by heystoopid (691 comments )
Reply Link Flag
A T & T are desperate!!!
A T & T, by hinting at that useless piece of information are truly desperate and fighting a very poor rearguard action indeed!, for their actions and activities are totally reprehensible and very very illegal with that throwaway line!!!!!!

Also given what happened at QWEST, watch these headless chickens start running around in circles!!!!!

For both the US Constitution, and amendments are inviolate(US Supreme Court Decisions, no illegal law agency fishing is permitted period), and also the Telecommuniction Privacy Act 1986, has specific fines per violation!!!!, and the Patriot Act has specific minimum legal requirements, also the oath of the office of the president means that bearer is beholden to all congressional laws!

It is a pity that a group non government lawyers were forced into a class action to uphold the laws of congress, for that shows that, the current encumbemt, A R Gonzales has literally failed to uphold the oath of his office when he was sworn in!

Oh well, looks like a quickie settlement is comming very soon within the next couple of weeks!!!!!

Still, such bad timing of the President spying on and profiling all the country's citizens and treating them as enemy combatants per se, can have little positive effects for the reelection of encumbent Republican candidates for both houses in the upcoming mid terms!!!!
Posted by heystoopid (691 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Impeachment is the only remedy here
Nixon was impeached for authorization of spying on democratic
party headquarters.

If Bush can get away with spying on the entirety of the American
people without getting impeached that would be out of balance.
Posted by balooh (37 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Impeachment is the only remedy here
Nixon was impeached for authorization of spying on democratic
party headquarters.

If Bush can get away with spying on the entirety of the American
people without getting impeached that would be out of balance.
Posted by balooh (37 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Impeachment is the only remedy here
Nixon was impeached for authorization of spying on democratic
party headquarters.

If Bush can get away with spying on the entirety of the American
people without getting impeached that would be out of balance.
Posted by balooh (37 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Out of balance?
Do while politician != 'Deceased'

If politicians spy on other politicians, that's a crime against the political party that's being spied on. That political party just won't stand for this. The general rules of politics mandate that political parties get rid of all opposition using any means they can get away with. Legal, Constitutional, or otherwise, if they can get away with it then they will do it. This goes for all times too. Doesn't matter if they're spied on, lied to, or simply disagreed with. Doesn't matter if it was yesterday, today, or tomorrow. The goal of politics is to eliminate the dissenting view.

The situation we have here is politicians spying on citizen constituents. That's different. Politicians don't give a rats ass about the principles involved. Bush has ALREADY gotten away with this; therefore, a) it'll never go away, and b) the 'real issue' (to the politicians) is controlling public perception about the governance of this program.

Loop
Posted by scdecade (329 comments )
Link Flag
What impeachment?
Sorry, but Nizon quit before he could be impeached let alone convicted.
Posted by goodscouter (2 comments )
Link Flag
Impeachment is the only remedy here
Nixon was impeached for authorization of spying on democratic
party headquarters.

If Bush can get away with spying on the entirety of the American
people without getting impeached that would be out of balance.
Posted by balooh (37 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Out of balance?
Do while politician != 'Deceased'

If politicians spy on other politicians, that's a crime against the political party that's being spied on. That political party just won't stand for this. The general rules of politics mandate that political parties get rid of all opposition using any means they can get away with. Legal, Constitutional, or otherwise, if they can get away with it then they will do it. This goes for all times too. Doesn't matter if they're spied on, lied to, or simply disagreed with. Doesn't matter if it was yesterday, today, or tomorrow. The goal of politics is to eliminate the dissenting view.

The situation we have here is politicians spying on citizen constituents. That's different. Politicians don't give a rats ass about the principles involved. Bush has ALREADY gotten away with this; therefore, a) it'll never go away, and b) the 'real issue' (to the politicians) is controlling public perception about the governance of this program.

Loop
Posted by scdecade (329 comments )
Link Flag
What impeachment?
Sorry, but Nizon quit before he could be impeached let alone convicted.
Posted by goodscouter (2 comments )
Link Flag
here we go again
so here we go again.

our president, who is beholding to congressional laws, has decided he san subvert then whenever he pleases. all in the name of national security. is there an armada parked south of florida? are there americans working in cahoots with these imaginary enemies? are these enemies dumb enough to use a copper line to plan the new revolution. why wouldnt they all buy Trac Phones or use encrypted VOIP? i doubt that a government that failed to stop hijacked airplanes - when they had a memeo stating that the terrorists weretraining to fly planes but not land them, that had a suspect in custody and let him go, and never bothered to scramble jets to shoot the damn things down - has the ability to protect us from anything.

and who is this imaginary enemy that has you all so terrified? a terorist group managed to kill 3,000 people at one time. not to sound cold about it, but thousands of american freeze, or starve to death every year. We should have wire tapped FEMA and the Weather Channel - and maybe we could have saved some of the Katrina Victims.

i'll take my chances with some freak terrorist group. just pay an attorney rto watch the weather channel. When the commentator says that the newest hurricane will kill thousands, load a couple half-tons (military trucks) with MREs and dispatch the national guard. thats all i ask.

or does dick cheney think he's god? is he the only man who can assure that there wont be a terrorist attack? so what if there is. Do i have to give up my freedoms and live as a suspect for the rest of my life in hopes of saving the next 3,000 people?
Posted by davaal (74 comments )
Reply Link Flag
here we go again
so here we go again.

our president, who is beholding to congressional laws, has decided he san subvert then whenever he pleases. all in the name of national security. is there an armada parked south of florida? are there americans working in cahoots with these imaginary enemies? are these enemies dumb enough to use a copper line to plan the new revolution. why wouldnt they all buy Trac Phones or use encrypted VOIP? i doubt that a government that failed to stop hijacked airplanes - when they had a memeo stating that the terrorists weretraining to fly planes but not land them, that had a suspect in custody and let him go, and never bothered to scramble jets to shoot the damn things down - has the ability to protect us from anything.

and who is this imaginary enemy that has you all so terrified? a terorist group managed to kill 3,000 people at one time. not to sound cold about it, but thousands of american freeze, or starve to death every year. We should have wire tapped FEMA and the Weather Channel - and maybe we could have saved some of the Katrina Victims.

i'll take my chances with some freak terrorist group. just pay an attorney rto watch the weather channel. When the commentator says that the newest hurricane will kill thousands, load a couple half-tons (military trucks) with MREs and dispatch the national guard. thats all i ask.

or does dick cheney think he's god? is he the only man who can assure that there wont be a terrorist attack? so what if there is. Do i have to give up my freedoms and live as a suspect for the rest of my life in hopes of saving the next 3,000 people?
Posted by davaal (74 comments )
Reply Link Flag
AT & T's Real Problem
AT & T's may beat the law suite. But they can't beat the loss of buisness that may result from the publicity they are getting. If you don't like what AT &T has done don't use any of their services or products. Or if you think AT &T's actions are good use more of AT &T's products. Let the market decide
Posted by jamander (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
AT & T's Real Problem
AT & T's may beat the law suite. But they can't beat the loss of buisness that may result from the publicity they are getting. If you don't like what AT &T has done don't use any of their services or products. Or if you think AT &T's actions are good use more of AT &T's products. Let the market decide
Posted by jamander (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's all part of the new world order
Squashing the dissenting view is necessary to achieve order, but, how long will it last? Nothing lasts forever.
Posted by casper2004 (267 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Life is not the goal
The goal of the US politicians participating in the crackdown on freedom is not a better life here and hereafter. Not in the slightest. It's about the duality of satisfying their ego with (arbitrary and capricous) 'power' now (this split second) and delaying their eventual realization that their ego is not real. Most will gladly die before they confront these truths. And a few will take everyone else down with them if they can...

How long will it last? We'll see. If it's to end peacefully, then someone extraordinary is going to have to sneak up on the status quo and basically trick them.
Posted by scdecade (329 comments )
Link Flag
The loophole may not be that big...
AT&T's lawyers are no doubt keenly aware of the
law and regulations regarding the items and
access they allegedly provided. The law quite
specifically precludes turning them over to a
third party or the government without a specific
warrant.

The Attorney General can issue certifications on
the applicability of the law, but he cannot
authorize the breaking of the law. If the law
and its applicability is clear, the
certification is worthless (save to indict the
person that issued it improperly). AT&T would
argue that even if its issue was improper, they
are no less indemnified against suits since it's
the certification and not the validity of it
that indemnifies them. The court will first
determine if the certification was valid within
the law under which it was issued (probably
not), then considering that AT&T has been around
a while and has some experience with the
particular laws in question, the court will make
its judgment based on whether AT&T should have
known the certification was bogus and whether it
appears AT&T solicited the certification in an
attempt to have culpability for actions they
knew to be illegal to be indemnified. If the
court decides that the certification was
improper, and there wasn't really any question
that AT&T was breaking the law (and they knew
it), the certification itself would probably be
vacated.

The text of the applicable laws are online, it
doesn't take but a few minutes to find them and
only slightly longer to read them. IANAL, but to
me they are pretty clear and very explicitly
state in no uncertain terms the rules for
turning over the information.

I don't think that a certification, even if they
had received one prior to providing access, is
an "ace-in-the-hole". I don't think AT&T thinks
that either, otherwise it would have been on the
judge's desk the day the suit was filed and the
case would have been dismissed by now.
Posted by Zymurgist (397 comments )
Link Flag
It's all part of the new world order
Squashing the dissenting view is necessary to achieve order, but, how long will it last? Nothing lasts forever.
Posted by casper2004 (267 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Life is not the goal
The goal of the US politicians participating in the crackdown on freedom is not a better life here and hereafter. Not in the slightest. It's about the duality of satisfying their ego with (arbitrary and capricous) 'power' now (this split second) and delaying their eventual realization that their ego is not real. Most will gladly die before they confront these truths. And a few will take everyone else down with them if they can...

How long will it last? We'll see. If it's to end peacefully, then someone extraordinary is going to have to sneak up on the status quo and basically trick them.
Posted by scdecade (329 comments )
Link Flag
The loophole may not be that big...
AT&T's lawyers are no doubt keenly aware of the
law and regulations regarding the items and
access they allegedly provided. The law quite
specifically precludes turning them over to a
third party or the government without a specific
warrant.

The Attorney General can issue certifications on
the applicability of the law, but he cannot
authorize the breaking of the law. If the law
and its applicability is clear, the
certification is worthless (save to indict the
person that issued it improperly). AT&T would
argue that even if its issue was improper, they
are no less indemnified against suits since it's
the certification and not the validity of it
that indemnifies them. The court will first
determine if the certification was valid within
the law under which it was issued (probably
not), then considering that AT&T has been around
a while and has some experience with the
particular laws in question, the court will make
its judgment based on whether AT&T should have
known the certification was bogus and whether it
appears AT&T solicited the certification in an
attempt to have culpability for actions they
knew to be illegal to be indemnified. If the
court decides that the certification was
improper, and there wasn't really any question
that AT&T was breaking the law (and they knew
it), the certification itself would probably be
vacated.

The text of the applicable laws are online, it
doesn't take but a few minutes to find them and
only slightly longer to read them. IANAL, but to
me they are pretty clear and very explicitly
state in no uncertain terms the rules for
turning over the information.

I don't think that a certification, even if they
had received one prior to providing access, is
an "ace-in-the-hole". I don't think AT&T thinks
that either, otherwise it would have been on the
judge's desk the day the suit was filed and the
case would have been dismissed by now.
Posted by Zymurgist (397 comments )
Link Flag
Why didn't QUEST use the certificate?
Word out there is that QUEST refused to cooperate UNLESS the NSA gave them a legal request, and the NSA refused to go on paper with their request, so QUEST refused to release the information to them. Why did AT&T get a legal form, and yet the government did NOT go that route with QUEST ?
Posted by cpeterka (13 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Nobody said AT&T did get certification...
The article presents a hypothetical loophole.
AT&T has other issues too with regard to the
NSA, not just the call data records one.

I already pointed out why it wouldn't be a good
loophole, and why I'm pretty sure AT&T doesn't
have the ceritfication:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://news.cbsi.com/5208-1028-0.html?forumID=1&#38;threadID=17081&#38;messageID=147554&#38;start=-159" target="_newWindow">http://news.cbsi.com/5208-1028-0.html?forumID=1&#38;threadID=17081&#38;messageID=147554&#38;start=-159</a>
Posted by Zymurgist (397 comments )
Link Flag
Why didn't QUEST use the certificate?
Word out there is that QUEST refused to cooperate UNLESS the NSA gave them a legal request, and the NSA refused to go on paper with their request, so QUEST refused to release the information to them. Why did AT&#38;T get a legal form, and yet the government did NOT go that route with QUEST ?
Posted by cpeterka (13 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Nobody said AT&T did get certification...
The article presents a hypothetical loophole.
AT&#38;T has other issues too with regard to the
NSA, not just the call data records one.

I already pointed out why it wouldn't be a good
loophole, and why I'm pretty sure AT&#38;T doesn't
have the ceritfication:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://news.cbsi.com/5208-1028-0.html?forumID=1&#38;threadID=17081&#38;messageID=147554&#38;start=-159" target="_newWindow">http://news.cbsi.com/5208-1028-0.html?forumID=1&#38;threadID=17081&#38;messageID=147554&#38;start=-159</a>
Posted by Zymurgist (397 comments )
Link Flag
I smell a conspiricy
Not to sound like an insane conspiricy theorist, but who's to say that they can't just draft a certification letter with a ficticious date and present it to the court. The goverment itself is backing AT&#38;T on this, why wouldn't they do everything in their power to make the outcome in their favor?
Posted by zrdunlap (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I smell a conspiricy
Not to sound like an insane conspiricy theorist, but who's to say that they can't just draft a certification letter with a ficticious date and present it to the court. The goverment itself is backing AT&#38;T on this, why wouldn't they do everything in their power to make the outcome in their favor?
Posted by zrdunlap (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Who watches the wtchers?
I am for the "war on terror."
I am against loss of personal privacy, except under circumstances and controls that allow the monitoring of the process by competent judicial authority, and public disclosure of the existance of the program's monitoring requirements and compliance. To do less opens the door to insidious further invasion of my "personal space," something I won't give up without a fight to the death.
It appears that the availability of phone records relating to each and every telephone call are designed to allow the government to "reverse engineer" contacts between suspected terrorists and their collaborators.
This is a process by which the government may at a future date discover calls and telephone numbers between a known or suspected terror operation. Discovering their contacts and methods of communication would then allow "trolling" of archived records to see with whom those suspects communicated. Same for wireless and Internet, including VOIP.
Nothwistanding the lack of overt cooperation that some foreigh countries have displayed, I believe the US should have the absolute right to destroy terrorists wherever and whenever found, regardless of the host countrys willingness to cooperate. And if they object or interfere, why they might just get a dose of Afghanistan.
I am angry that the US is being hunted in so many ways by so many people, and other governments like Pakistan, Syria, and Iran to name a few are complicit and should be "taken out" if need be.
No mercy, no rules.
But let's protect our privacy and freedom here, and pursue the war where it needs to be confronted.
Make the terrorists disapear and supporting governments cooperate or face the consequences. And those consequences are to be swift and harsh.
A few capitols bombed, a few terrorist leaders taken out regardless of collateral damage, and a few goverments might understand our willingness to "go the distance" on this issue.
"Beware waking the tiger, his bite is ferocious, and his defense of his territory relentless."
Diogenes
Posted by bdennis410 (175 comments )
Reply Link Flag
who watches the watchers?
The war on terror is not what is seems to be. I believe that the corporate controlled government of the US is responsible for more covert terrorism than all other country's terrorist factions combined. The US is a cancer in more than 200 countries. Installing different regime leaders at will, even if the leader is a 'democratically' elected one. The corporate/military manufactured 9/11 scheme was stadged to promote the wars in Afghanistan (for big oil's pipeline) and Iraq (for big oil's control of Iraqi oil). It was also manufactured for the ushering in of the New World Order by bankrupting the US in a much quicker method than simply having Bush sign every bill that crosses his desk. Again, 9/11 was also manufactured because Sadam was going to sell his oil for Euro dollars only, once the UN sanctions were lifted. Iran wants to do the same. What do you think will happen with Iran. I think the answer is very clear. The Partriot Acts, NAFTA and CAFTA are just a couple of the corporate elite's schemes to dethrone the US citzens of freedoms and liberties proclaimed by our very own constitution (using their manufactured terrorism schemes as a sword to get what they want accomplished). Bush and his corporate leaders, step on or walk around the constitution with out much resistance from the Democratic (also corporate run) party. Any future wars that this present corporate controlled administration plans, will only happen if it adds more money to the corporate elite's piles and add to their control of the world's resources while collecting more groups of slaves to produce their 'commodies' at slave wages. The corporate elite wants to obtain all the major resources of the world. That includes oil and food supplies. In the US there are very few family farms left. The corporate elite essentially has and control of the food supply in the US. That should be scary in itself to any consumer in America. The push for 'complete' internet and phone access by our corporate controlled government is a an example of the control that they are seeking to obtain over the US taxpayers. They are suppose to be working for us, not controlling us. They spend billions of dollars yearly to hide their secret dealings from the US taxpayers. That's ridiculous!! But they (corporate elite) are gaining more control over us................

Regards
Viet Vet
Posted by kripto551m (7 comments )
Link Flag
Spying and privacy.....they do NOT belong together!
I agree with a lot of what you typed, but when you made the comment of taking the fight to any nation, and anywhere 'we' find 'terrorists', you open up a world of hurt for US in that every nation we stomp on without proper and LEGAL reason(as in a proclaimed war), we WILL have even MORE bombs being planted on our soil if we believe that 'we' have some 'right' to go wherever we choose and do whatever we want to anybody, anywhere, is INSANE!

We as a nation have NO RIGHT to invade, enslave or destroy ANY nation, no matter how terrible we think that nation may be in OUR views, we are NOT the global police and I DESPISE any thought that we have become this as well!

If we keep this so-called 'war' in Iraq going, we will be seen as a nation that must be stopped at all costs, and since most of the middle eastern nations already hate us, how long do you think it will take to rally support from these fractured countries to unite and stand up to fight us AND defeat us as well?

We assume we are the might of the world, and to any defenseless country, that may be true, but with the middle east, they DO have thousands if not MILLIONS of willing people ready to strap on explosives and kill as many of us as they can.

If history has taught anything to anybody, it's the FACT you can NOT stop a DETERMINED group of people bent on killing U.S. citizens, this is a hard fact that many willingly and (stupidly) IGNORE!!

Just like the 'war' on drugs, it is IMPOSSIBLE to stop people determined to do something or anything, or stop the flow of a 'wanted' substance, no matter what it is.

Things like these are failures that need to STOP and be re-examined for validity and necessity, and the 'war' on drugs is NOT a 'necessity' that will ever be stopped, no matter how many cops are on the prowl.

Smae goes for this latest fiasco in Iraq.
Once we leave, that country WILL revert back to the way it's used to working (or not working really), this is a fact we must remember, and we can NEVER install any type of 'democracy' on a nation that does not desire it,and they have been living their own lives with the type of 'government' THEY created for thousands of years, it's ARROGANT to assume we can change their entire way of thinking and living with our presence alone, it's foolhardy to think it will work.

Forcing a life style on others has proven to be ineffective and wrong and will only lengthen the time it takes for the 'terrorists' to unite into a far stronger force than we could ever hope to destroy or eliminate, they have had several thousands of years to prepare, who are we to think we have the power or ability to stop this?

We NEED a NEW government, OR a CIVIL WAR to FORCE the government to change the way they do OUR business!

BUSH: Good for decorating your yard, but HORRIBLE as a nation's leader!

Bush MUST be PLANTED in PRISON for LIFE for TREASON!!!

NO EXCUSES, NO PAROLE!!

If I were the president, the FIRST order of business I would perform would be to close down the NSA as it currently exists and enact laws to PROHIBIT ANY spy agency from spying on ANY citizen, at aany time, and make is a treasonous offense to do so, with life terms in prison for attepmting it.

The next thing I would do is RECALL our troops from Iraq and concentrate on Osama, THAT is who we SHOULD be looking for in the first place.

After this latest fiasco with AT&#38;T handing ove OUR private information to the NSA, I'll be DUMPING MY SHARES OF AT&#38;T STOCK and CANCELLING ALL OF MY AT&#38;T services from this day forward!!

They want to SCREW me, then SCREW AT&#38;T and NEVER pay for their 'srvices ever again!

Hit them where it HURTS....THE BANK ACCOUNT!!!

Thank goodness I have my guns!
Posted by AECRADIO (21 comments )
Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.