You are viewing an obsolete version of the DU website which is no longer supported by the Administrators. Visit The New DU.
Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

Telecoms have indemnification agreements: why not worried about immunity. [View All]

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU
seasat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-03-08 10:00 AM
Original message
Telecoms have indemnification agreements: why not worried about immunity.
Advertisements [?]
Edited on Mon Mar-03-08 10:15 AM by seasat
I was reading Kevin Drum's blog at Washington Monthly and he had this post based on an e-mail from a lawyer that handles wire tapping cases. The post states that it is standard practice in wire tapping of any sort for the telecoms to get an indemnification agreement from the government. This agreement means that the US government will cover awards from any law suits over wire tapping. The telecoms do not have a financial liability in these cases and that is why they're not throwing huge support behind the immunity portion of the wire tap bill. These agreements are probably classified. The reason (as everyone on this board knows) Shrub Inc is for immunity because it keeps the scope of his wire tapping secret. It's not about protecting the telecoms. They are already protected.

Here's the post detailing this:

As we all know, the Bush adminstration is hellbent on passing a law granting telecom companies retroactive immunity for any surveillance laws they may have broken in the aftermath of 9/11. But there's an odd aspect to this whole thing: the telecom companies themselves don't really seem to be fighting all that hard on behalf of this legislation. Why?

A couple of days ago I got an email from commenter/blogger bmaz proposing an explanation for this. To be honest, I sort of blew him off at first without reading his argument carefully, which I now think was a mistake. There's some guesswork in what he says, but he's an attorney with considerable experience dealing with wiretapping cases and he suggests that the reason the telcos don't care all that much about the lawsuits being pursued against them is because they almost certainly signed indemnification agreements with the feds back in 2001. Such agreements would force the federal government to pay any legal judgments awarded in suits against the telcos:

It is my contention that the telcos have just such indemnification agreements with the Administration/government, that we do not know about because they are classified and hidden, that so protect them for any liability and losses resulting from the litigation they are faced with; thus they do not need immunity to protect them from potential liability verdicts, they are already covered....As someone that has had dealings with such entities regarding bad/illegal wiretaps, I can attest that they always protect themselves vis a vis the governmental entity they are working for and are not shy about the use of indemnity provisions.

In email, bmaz put it to me even more strongly: "The general counsels and legal departments of telcos are extremely accomplished and always protect their company's interests meticulously. They have been dealing with wiretapping and surveillance agreements with the government and law enforcement for over seven decades, this was not a matter of first impression to them; and in difficult and unique cases, I have never seen them not insist on indemnification. Never."
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 

Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC