USA Today reports that at least three U.S. telecoms are cooperating with the NSA spying program:
The National Security Agency has secured the cooperation of large telecommunications companies, including AT&T, MCI and Sprint, in its efforts to eavesdrop without warrants on international calls by suspected terrorists, according to seven telecommunications executives.
The executives asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the program.
AT&T, MCI and Sprint had no official comment.
Almost as troubling to me is this passage:
Telecommunications executives say MCI, AT&T and Sprint grant the access to their systems without warrants or court orders. Instead, they are cooperating on the basis of oral requests from senior government officials.
One of the reasons for doing it this way is there is no paper trail which is convenient for both the government and the telecoms. When those nasty supoenas land on your doorstep the evidence is all in your head, not on the page, which can dramatically hinder a congressional investigation.
If you’re a customer of any of these benighted companies, call the office of their legal counsel to complain. And if you’d get an answer out of them, blog about it. I have asked my phone company, Qwest, and my ISP, Comcast, to tell me whether they’ve cooperated. Guess what, they thought silence was the better part of valor. What does it take to make the telecoms do the right thing and respond to their customers?
Hat tip, Media Matters.