EFF sues over telecom immunity for wiretapping

From Wired magazine’s Threat Level:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a brief Thursday claiming that the government’s attempt to give retroactive immunity to the companies that helped the Bush administration’s warrantless spying program violates the Constitution by ripping from the courts the power to hear citizens’ grievances against the government.

The EFF’s brief, filed in response to a September decision in the EFF’s case against AT&T, argues that Congress had no right to pass legislation granting immunity, since the courts have a fundamental duty and right to hear citizens’ complaints that the government violated their Constitutional rights.

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Senators answers questions about homeland security (and other issues)

Democrat Tom Harkin and Republican Christopher Reed answered a series of questions about national issues.  Many questions his on other topics, but Homeland Security-related questions include:

  • Would you vote for a defense or supplemental appropriations bill that includes a fixed timeline for withdrawal from Iraq?
  • Should the government be allowed to monitor electronic communications in the interest of homeland security without first obtaining court approval?
  • Would you support additional federal money for the construction of a border fence with Mexico?
  • Would you support a plan under which those immigrants in the United States who do not have legal status eventually could become citizens?
  • Should there be any additional federal restrictions on the purchase or possession of firearms?

For the answers and questions on other topics, read the Full article.

Senate Intelligence Committee to investigate claims of questionable eavesdropping

From the New York Times:

The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, said Thursday that the committee would investigate claims by two military eavesdroppers that they routinely listened in on private calls home from American military officers, aid workers and journalists stationed in Iraq.

The two former intelligence officers, Adrienne Kinne, an Army reservist, and David Murfee Faulk, a Navy linguist, spoke Thursday to ABC News. They also were interviewed for a book on the National Security Agency by James Bamford, a former ABC producer and author of two earlier books on the agency, that is scheduled for publication next week.

Mr. Faulk said that when another eavesdropper protested that they were personal calls and should not be transcribed, a supervisor replied, “My orders were to transcribe everything.”

It was unclear whether the intercepts the two former intelligence officers described were part of the program of surveillance without warrants that President Bush approved shortly after the 2001 terrorist attacks. He and other officials said that program intercepted only calls of people believed to be linked to Al Qaeda.

A statement issued by the NSA on Thursday night said, “Some of these allegations have been investigated and found to be unsubstantiated; others are in the investigation process.”

The statement said the agency operated within the law and took accusations of wrongdoing seriously. “When we find misconduct, we take swift and certain remedial action,” the statement said.