Saturday, October 13, 2007

Bush sought eavesdropping before 9/11

That's the claim from this article in the Washington Post. The standard refrain from the Liar and Thief is that "everything changed after 9-11". Hence, their insistence that after the terrorist attacks they had to eavesdrop on phone conversations in order to protect the public. Telecos have gone along with this reasoning not only complying with the presidential request, but also seeking immunity from lawsuits after the program was revealed. Note: the program violated the Telecommunications Act, or that's what the lawsuits claim.

In the article, the former CEO of Qwest, who was convicted of insider trading, claims that members of the current administration approached him shortly after taking office about such eavesdropping. He claims that he refused and that the government retaliated for his refusal by denying his company millions of dollars in contracts.

None of this comes as a surprise to those of us paying attention to the direction of this government. Even if the charges are not true, we are prone to believe that they are valid based on prior actions, lies, and hubris of officials of the government. It's at times like these when I really wish we had something more of a parliamentarian system. I suggest to you that the government no longer represents a majority of the people in this country and that it has not done so in a long time. Under a parliamentarian system we might be able to bring down such a government as it has become illegitimate. Under the current system we'll just have to muddle through it, as painful as that will be. A couple of relevant quotes from the article:
A former Qwest Communications International executive, appealing a conviction for insider trading, has alleged that the government withdrew opportunities for contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars after Qwest refused to participate in an unidentified National Security Agency program that the company thought might be illegal.

In the court filings disclosed this week, Nacchio suggests that Qwest's refusal to take part in that program led the government to cancel a separate, lucrative contract with the NSA in retribution. He is using the allegation to try to show why his stock sale should not have been considered improper.

Nacchio was convicted for selling shares of Qwest stock in early 2001, just before financial problems caused the company's share price to tumble. He has claimed in court papers that he had been optimistic that Qwest would overcome weak sales because of the expected top-secret contract with the government. Nacchio said he was forbidden to mention the specifics during the trial because of secrecy restrictions, but the judge ruled that the issue was irrelevant to the charges against him.

Nacchio's account, which places the NSA proposal at a meeting on Feb. 27, 2001, suggests that the Bush administration was seeking to enlist telecommunications firms in programs without court oversight before the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon. The Sept. 11 attacks have been cited by the government as the main impetus for its warrantless surveillance efforts.

No comments: