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Reply #37: Comey & Phone Companies' Role in the NSA Program = illegal wiretaps [View All]

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L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-21-07 10:20 AM
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37. Comey & Phone Companies' Role in the NSA Program = illegal wiretaps
Comey and the Phone Companies' Role in the NSA Program
by Shayana Kadidal

On Friday, professional administration apologist Douglas Kmiec published an op-ed in the Washington Post ( ) in which he criticizes former Deputy AG James Comey's testimony ( ) as "staggeringly histrionic," claims the media's analogies between the threatened mass resignations (of Comey, Ashcroft and FBI Director Mueller) to Watergate's Friday Night Massacre are absurd, and then (correctly) notes that the president, not the Attorney General or anyone else in DOJ, has the last word on exactly which interpretation of federal laws the rest of the executive branch will follow.

.............Professor Lederman provides is that "the signature might have been necessary to induce the requisite private actors -- telecom companies in particular -- to continue to go along with the program."............

..... the Wiretap Act contains a section, 18 USC 2511(2)(a)(ii), that allows telecom providers and other private parties (e.g. your landlord) to help the government carry out electronic surveillance if those private parties have been "provided with ... a court order" or "a certification in writing by ... the Attorney General of the United States that no warrant or court order is required by law, that all statutory requirements have been met, and that the specified assistance is required."

So, the government can go to AT&T with a court order -- a warrant -- allowing the government to put a wiretap in place, and AT&T is allowed to help them without such help subjecting AT&T to criminal or civil liability under the various wiretapping laws. ..................
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