Thursday, May 11, 2006

News Flash: The Terrorists Have Won...

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

This morning, USA Today reported that three telecommunications companies – AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth – provided “phone call records of tens of millions of Americans” to the National Security Agency. Such conduct appears to be illegal and could make the telco firms liable for tens of billions of dollars.

This activity violates the Stored Communications Act. The Stored Communications Act, Section 2703(c), provides exactly five exceptions that would permit a phone company to disclose to the government the list of calls to or from a subscriber: (i) a warrant; (ii) a court order; (iii) the customer’s consent; (iv) for telemarketing enforcement; or (v) by “administrative subpoena.” The first four clearly don’t apply. As for administrative subpoenas, where a government agency asks for records without court approval, there is a simple answer – the NSA has no administrative subpoena authority, and it is the NSA that reportedly got the phone records.

What are we defending if it isn’t our way of life? Wasn't the conservative movement founded on smaller, less intrusive government?

I eagerly await wing-nut explanations for why this isn’t a violation of the very premise of our form of government. I can hear the refrain already: "the enemy is at the gate" ... well, maybe we look in the mirror.


Za said...

He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemies from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.
- Thomas Paine

Personally, I don't believe that liberty has been on the US agenda for a while now.

Za said...

Sorry for the doublepost, my connection's breaking up for some strange reason.

Reign of Reason said...

Not a problem.

I don't think our current crop of leaders even understands the principles on which the nation was founded.

They certainly aren't conservatives.

Intellectual Insurgent said...

If Ben Franklin were alive today and said the same thing, the Republicans would call him a stupid liberal who hates America.

Reign of Reason said...

That is so true... its actually scary to think these numb-nuts are running the country.

mrsleep said...

They understand the principles they just pay hollow tribute to them.

jarhead john said...

I'll wait to form my opinion on the reviewing of phone records (not conversations mind you) until a source other than USA Today has something to say about it.

I wonder if USA Today even entertained the idea of taking this issue up in a forum other than the public one? Naw, who needs to protect classified info?

I have to agree with you wholeheartedly that the current crop of professional politicians is far from conservative. Until we put some leaders in place that are NOT professional politicians, things will not improve (regardless fo what side of the ailse they sit on).

Reign of Reason said...

I understand you wanting to wait... however, the media's job is to keep our government honest. And the fact that the Stored Communications Act specifies exactly under what condition records can be requested/release, it's likely this is illegal.

I'm amazed at how up in arms my conservative friends were when Clinton lied about a blow job -- "The rule of LAW" they cried. Now we have an administration that openly flaunts the law (claiming executive "privilege" to not follow law (read GW's signing statement on the torture bill), etc. ... Where's the outcry!?!?

Anonymous said...

ROR you forget the cry of we are at war so its OK./(Sarcasm)

There was a poll that said a majority thought this is OK. The latest has 53% saying it goes to far. What is wrong with the 41% that say it is Necessary? Benjamin Franklin had it right, the people that say it is alright to trample "just a little bit" of our freedom for a false sense of security deserve neither.

We are already sliding down the slippery slope and picking up speed. Congress is M.I.A. so who will stop the slide?

When did a large portion of Americans become a bunch of scared babies completely ignorant of the consequences of supporting a government that's taking our freedoms and clearly breaking the law. How far will we slide??

Sorry for the rambling.



Anonymous said...

One more thing NSA Whistleblower To Expose More Unlawful Activity: ‘People…Are Going To Be Shocked’

Well I certainly won't be shocked. I think this administration is capable of anything except running a country correctly.

Za said...

This is entirely pointless anyway, since Al Qaeda uses disposable mobile phones and personal couriers to avoid this kind of detection.

Reign of Reason said...

JJ, ZA -- That's the thing: American's forget that we are supposed to be suspicious of power/government. And there is plenty to be afraid of when the government starts ignoring law and feels they can do what they want to "protect us".

How far does it go? How will we be monitored next to better keep the "bad guys" away?