In the eyes of President Bush we are all suspected terrorists.

There’s been a lot of reports of odd goings on at various phone company data centers for awhile now, but yesterday USA Today broke the story on the U.S. Government’s secret phone call data collection program:

The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.

The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans — most of whom aren’t suspected of any crime. This program does not involve the NSA listening to or recording conversations. But the spy agency is using the data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity, sources said in separate interviews.

Congratulations! We’re all suspected terrorists now. Not only that, but you’ve been a suspected terrorist since 2001.

“It’s the largest database ever assembled in the world,” said one person, who, like the others who agreed to talk about the NSA’s activities, declined to be identified by name or affiliation. The agency’s goal is “to create a database of every call ever made” within the nation’s borders, this person added.

For the customers of these companies, it means that the government has detailed records of calls they made — across town or across the country — to family members, co-workers, business contacts and others.

The three telecommunications companies are working under contract with the NSA, which launched the program in 2001 shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the sources said. The program is aimed at identifying and tracking suspected terrorists, they said.

The interesting twist to this tale is that the three telecommunications companies could find themselves in a lot of hot water for going along with the NSA:

Such conduct appears to be illegal and could make the telco firms liable for tens of billions of dollars. Here’s why:

  1. It 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.
  2. The penalty for violating the Stored Communications Act is $1000 per individual violation. Section 2707 of the Stored Communications Act gives a private right of action to any telephone customer “aggrieved by any violation.” If the phone company acted with a “knowing or intentional state of mind,” then the customer wins actual harm, attorney’s fees, and “in no case shall a person entitled to recover receive less than the sum of $1,000.”

      (The phone companies might say they didn’t “know” they were violating the law. But USA Today reports that Qwest’s lawyers knew about the legal risks, which are bright and clear in the statute book.)

  3. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act doesn’t get the telcos off the hook. According to USA Today, the NSA did not go to the FISA court to get a court order. And Qwest is quoted as saying that the Attorney General would not certify that the request was lawful under FISA. So FISA provides no defense for the phone companies, either.

In other words, for every 1 million Americans whose records were turned over to NSA, the telcos could be liable for $1 billion in penalties, plus attorneys fees. You do the math.

That would be such a shame. Would probably force all three of them into bankruptcy. So now not only has KingPresident Bush declared you all to be possible terrorists he’s also responsible for putting a good chunk of the telecommunications industry at risk of financial ruin.

Please, won’t someone give Bush a blowjob so we can impeach him??

27 thoughts on “In the eyes of President Bush we are all suspected terrorists.

  1. Would probably force all three of [the Telcos who voluntarily complied with the NSA’s request] into bankruptcy.

    – Absolutely fry their buts.
    – Revoke their corporate charters.
    – Indict all of their officers and board members and bar them all for life from ever holding any officer position on any publicly-traded company.

    If a person committed treason against the US, would you give them a slap on the wrist and say, “Sorry, Mate, don’t do it next time”? Heck no, their arse would be on the next bus to Ryker’s Island or Gitmo for a Nice Long Stay.

    Why is it that I get the feeling that these fools will get off with no damage whatsoever? What message does that send to other (non-Quest) companies who will be faced with a similar situation in the future? “Don’t do it?

    ” or “If you do it, you’re all going to jail and your company will be staked out and left for the crows” ?

  2. Not sure of the specifics involved, but couldn’t the telcos claim entrapment?

  3. I’ve got two phone companies, hopefully someone is licking the stamp to mail me my two grand as we speak.

  4. Not sure of the specifics involved, but couldn’t the telcos claim entrapment?

    How is (apparently) bending over meekly when asked entrapment? Its not like a ‘hand us over the records of all your customers phone calls’ should not have all privacy alarmbells ringing with any executive.

    I have long lived with the knowledge of at least the *potential* of any of my calls being listened to by secret services, US or otherwise (and I am not a US citizen or living there). So this isn’t really surprising at all.

    What I DO like about it is the massive way in how this is/might be blowing up in their faces. I woulda thought they’d have covered their butt in some despicable but ‘fully legal’ way…

  5. Please, won’t someone give Bush a blowjob so we can impeach him??

    Hell, Les, I’ve never given a man a blowjob, but I’d do it.  Or I’d give you a blowjob while you’re giving Bush a blowjob, if that’d help.  Anything to get this clown out of office.  Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s going to be that easy…

  6. Les, I’ve never given a man a blowjob, but I’d do it.  Or I’d give you a blowjob while you’re giving Bush a blowjob, if that’d help.

    I’m getting some weird pictures in my head, boys.LOL
    I was read somewhere that Bushit had already broken 750(?) laws.
    Isn’t that enough to impeach? confused
    Maybe the DemoCats don’t have a Starr in their arse-nal.
    Or is it that Sex is the only thing that offends good Americans? shock

  7. Blowjobs, schmowjobs…I’d give Ol’ Smirk one at this point. I’ve certainly given ‘em to assholes before.

    LuckyJohnny: Or is it that Sex is the only thing that offends good Americans?

    Bingo. That and anything that could be characterized as “anti-American,” it seems.

  8. I have long lived with the knowledge of at least the *potential* of any of my calls being listened to by secret services, US or otherwise (and I am not a US citizen or living there).

    Its worth remembering that even if your country’s own electronic spy agency can’t legally spy on you they can always ask their foreign counterparts to do so.  The agencies of the US, Canada, UK, Australia, and New Zealand are all part of the UKUSA agreement of ‘48, which sees the agencies share their intel.  For example its been alleged that Canada’s Communication Security Establishment spied on dissenting members of Magaret Thatcher’s cabinet at UK behest.

  9. – Absolutely fry their buts.
    – Revoke their corporate charters.

    I understand the sentiment, but how do you run the US telecoms industry afterwards- it would probably edn up sold to a foriegn investor.  How about the French. “Unteel your prezidant apologises, you ‘ave no phones”…

    MORE IMPORTANTLY- How do I get a blow-job from Sadie.  I am a considerate lover, not an asshole.  It upsets me that she may be wasted on the Shrub

  10. Last Hussar: MORE IMPORTANTLY-How do I get a blow-job from Sadie.

    1. Come out to the Bay Area.
    2. Become close friends with John, my permanent lover (or at least make sure you get along with him; he’s a great guy).
    3. Buy me dinner.

    LOL  LOL  LOL

  11. Bingo. That and anything that could be characterized as “anti-American,

  12. Maharishi (it took a bit of research):
    1. Come out to the Bay Area.
    2. Become close friends with John, my permanent lover (or at least make sure you get along with him; he’s a great guy).
    3. Buy me dinner.

    I wasn’t going to enter into this conversation … but … you’ve piqued my interest.
    A return Qantas flight to San Francisco (is that the ‘Bay Area’?), 1st Class, is $au2574.00.
    Um. Are you good (worth the outlay) and can you hum like a dynamo hum? LOL

  13. 1. Come out to the Bay Area.
    2. Become close friends with John, my permanent lover (or at least make sure you get along with him; he’s a great guy).
    3. Buy me dinner.

    Sadie, why don’t you come to Northern Michigan? I’ll buy you dinner and give John a blow-job if it’ll get me into your pants…

    forms queue behind KPG.  Actually depending on your definition of the word behind Sadie could be in for a hell of a time!!!

  14. That last post was supposed to contain a big ass grin that would convey my absolute joy at the thought of getting into Sadie’s pants.

    Terrible place for a techinal snafu.

    So, once again….

    BIG ASS GRIN

  15. I wonder if Les is going to get annoyed when he notices that we’ve hijacked his thread with shameless flirtation?

    Oh, well, that’s what he gets for mentioning blows jobs in a political post.

  16. we’ve hijacked his thread with shameless flirtation

    I was just thinking that- a serious thread on the powers of the state has turned into an attempt to get into Sadie’s knickers

    mmmmmmmm…. Sadie’s Knickers

    Think I need a lay down.

  17. Sorry, Les!  red face

    …Sadie’s Knickers…

    I get my kicks ABOVE the waistline, sunshine! Or not, in case you couldn’t tell…  smile

    P.S. What’s with the font?

  18. What’s with the font?

    Sorry. That was me.
    Little Johnny decided to become Big Bad John:lol:

  19. P.S. What’s with the font?

    Trust Les in die in the arse and, make it all right,

  20. I tend to correct those problems once they’re brought to my attention. I just don’t always notice them right away.

  21. Speaking of Stupid Evil Bastard…Dude, get a fucking life! really, you’re pathetic!

  22. Are you addressing someone in particular, Diana, or are you just randomly making a fool out of yourself?

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