Sunday, June 3, 2007

House Intelligence Committee to Investigate Secret NSA Spying and AT&T's role

Hi NewsHackers,

The link in the heading leads to the Electronic Frontier Foundation's article supporting the recent decision by Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes to hold hearings into the National Security Agency's illegal spying on Americans and AT&T's role violating its customers' privacy and the law by cooperating with the NSA.

All Americans owe the EFF our thanks for leading the legal charge to expose this random spying on us all. Their legal case against AT&T is going forward despite the motions by the defendant and the government to have this case quashed as a matter of national security.

Domestic terrorism threats are real and frightening. The plot to bomb the tank farm at Kennedy International Airport was revealed yesterday. We learned about the plan to attack troops at Ft. Dix, New Jersey a few weeks ago.

However, even this danger does not justify the government in spying randomly on all Americans. I believe that the NSA and AT&T both broke existing Federal law prohibiting warrant-less domestic surveillance. A Congressional investigation of how these transgressions were ordered and justified is imperative if we are to avoid these depredations in the future.

I look for some amazing political theatre to develop out of the revelations that are expected from this investigation. The hearing questions will include: "Who ordered the program? Under what supposed authority? Didn't the order to bypass the FISA Court trouble you constitutionally? Why did AT&T cooperate so readily? Were they expecting competitive advantages in winning future government telecommunications contracts?" It's going to be fun.

/Dick

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