Dodd Leads On FISA Telco Amnesty

Against the odds, Senator Chris Dodd has led the fight against FISA telco immunity.

The first step is to make sure retroactive immunity doesn’t make it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee — where it will be considered shortly.

If we can get it stripped there, it will have to be offered as an amendment to the overall bill where it will be a lot easier to get 41 votes against retroactive immunity than 41 to sustain my filibuster if necessary

This is a vitally important issue, as the Dodd campaign demonstrates in this video of the whistleblower Marc Klein, who told the story of the telco’s failure to respect the privacy of its customers that the law (the Communication Storage Act) requires.

My name is Mark Klein. I used to be an AT&T technician for 22 years.

[Former AT&T Technician Mark Klein Speaks Out on Retroactive Immunity and Domestic Surveillance]

“What I figured out when I got there is that they were copying everything flowing across the internet cables, the major internet links between AT&T’s network and other companies’ networks.”

“It struck me at the time that this was a massively unconstitutional, illegal operation.”

“It affects not only AT&T’s customers, but everybody because these links went to places link Sprint, Qwest, a whole bunch of other companies.”

“And so they’re basically tapping into the entire internet.”

[But isn’t the government only monitoring suspected terrorists and not ordinary Americans?]

“To perform what they say they want to do, which is look at international traffic, none of this makes any sense. These installations only make sense if they’re doing a huge, massive domestic dragnet on everybody in the United States.”

[Shouldn’t the telecoms trust that the Bush administration’s requests are legal?]

“These companies know very well what’s legal and illegal. They’ve been dealing with this for decades. And it’s a fact that Qwest refused the NSA’s approaches because they didn’t have, they weren’t shown any legal justification for it. And they did the right thing and said, “no.” “

“What I’m here for is it looked like a few weeks ago that the Senate bill which passed the Intelligence Committee would give immunity to the telecom companies and that would probably put an end to the lawsuits.”

[The Senate Judiciary Committee is currently reviewing retroactive immunity]

“So I came here to lobby against giving immunity to the telecom companies. Let the court cases proceed and Congress should not interfere in that.”

Tell the Senate to oppose telecom immunity

Chris Dodd, leading on the issues now and demonstrating the leadership we will need from our next President.

Now call the Judiciary Committee Senators now. Use this. Chris Dodd will pay for your call.


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    • Edger on November 8, 2007 at 17:02

    One of my “trades” is Network Administration.

    “To perform what they say they want to do, which is look at international traffic, none of this makes any sense. These installations only make sense if they’re doing a huge, massive domestic dragnet on everybody in the United States.”

    None of this makes any sense, except to feed massive databases to be used for datamining operations.

    This is as close (so far) as “they” can get to collecting and recording all the “thoughts” of every person in the United States and elsewhere, to be later sifted through when they want to find out who is thinking about “this” or “that”.

    Or… when they want to know what any specific individual is thinking.

    • Edger on November 8, 2007 at 17:24

    From The Hill this morning:

    At a markup on a bill to overhaul the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) plans to offer an amendment that would make the federal government – instead of the phone companies – the defendant in about 40 pending lawsuits across the country.

  1. Without Mr. Klein, we might never have known  what we know now about our government’s domestic spying operation.

    Not only did he blow the lid off the whole sordid operation, but when the trial court barred EFF, entity that brought the lawsuit, from publicly disclosing Klein’s evidence because of alleged state secrets, Klein, who was under no similar order, released the documents himself.

    Now there’s a guy who ought to get the Medal of Freedom.

  2. …but I sent him $25 just on principle for his stand on this.

  3. the Dodd links provided and called it easy. Only got though to 2 of the senators in question as the rest were all swamped with calls. Dodd is my choice moving up on Edwards, as they seem to actually be on the side of restoring our Republic.

    • Edger on November 9, 2007 at 04:18

    The dispute over whether Attorney General Alberto Gonzales committed perjury when he parsed words about George W. Bush’s warrantless surveillance program misses a larger point: the extraordinary secrecy surrounding these spying operations is not aimed at al-Qaeda, but at the American people.

    So what’s the real explanation for all the secrecy about the overall structure of the so-called Terrorist Surveillance Program?

    The chief reason, especially for the excessive secrecy around the data-mining operations, appears to be Bush’s political need to prevent a full debate inside the United States about the security value of these Big Brother-type procedures when weighed against invasions of Americans’ privacy.

    In 2002, the technological blueprint for this Orwellian-style project was on the drawing board at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Pentagon’s top research and development arm. DARPA commissioned a comprehensive plan for this electronic spying — and did so publicly.

    “Transactional data” was to be gleaned from electronic data on every kind of activity — “financial, education, travel, medical, veterinary, country entry, place/event entry, transportation, housing, critical resources, government, communications,” according to the Web site for DARPA’s Information Awareness Office.

    When the “total information awareness” project was disclosed, public outrage forced the Bush administration into retreat, ousting Poindexter and supposedly scrapping the massive data-mining program.

    What is now apparent, however, is that the Bush administration simply took many of these data-mining features and put them under the rubric of what’s known generally as the Terrorist Surveillance Program, or as administration insiders call it, “the TSP.”

    The data-mining component of the operation is considered so sensitive that in December 2005 when Bush acknowledged the TSP’s warrantless wiretapping, he continued his silence about the data-mining aspect.

    The real purpose of all the secrecy appears to be to enable the Bush administration to construct an authoritarian framework — similar to the “total information awareness” concept — without the American people knowing that their liberties are facing a draconian threat from intrusive government spying.

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