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Whaddaya Know: Obama Administration Seeks Delay In Handing Over Telco Immunity Lobbying Info

from the like-you-didn't-see-that-coming dept

Earlier this week, we noted that a court had rejected, yet again, the Obama administration's attempt to stall in handing over info on who lobbied to get telco immunity. At the time, we asked what excuse the administration would use to delay again -- given that the release of documents was due today, Friday. Well, it appears they haven't come up with any excuse... they've just tried asking the court yet again -- as if the first three "no" answers weren't enough.

Honestly, I'm beginning to wonder what's going on here. As I said when the initial court order came out, I don't know what could possibly be surprising in the documents. It seems quite likely that the telcos lobbied hard for immunity. That would not be a surprise or particularly revealing. So who is the government trying to cover up for here?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    citizen joe, Oct 16th, 2009 @ 1:02am

    secret underhand government

    Cos the government of Obama is failing in its pledge of open government and therefore fails the people.

    It is following the footsteps of the EU in becoming a dictatorship with much to hide and having no trust in its citizens.

    Truth, openness, honesty already gone to the dogs

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2009 @ 2:27am

    One of the biggest promises

    I think a lot of people, if they really gave politics enough attention, would be having a huge problem here, as much of why many voted for Obama was the promise of openness. I do consider it to still be early in his term, and I therefor dont expect much in the way of legislative progress. Issues such as this where the decision could be made at the top though do scream "Yep, just another political campaign promise"

     

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  3.  
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    Michael, Oct 16th, 2009 @ 4:11am

    I also find it weird

    I would assume that either the telco companies lobbied for their own immunity, or the administration lobbied for it as a favor for the telco cooperation.

    Either way, it does not seem that shocking. I cannot think of a way that there would be something to cover up here. It just seems strange that the administration would take a hard line on something so mundane and go directly against one of their campaign promises for it.

    Unless it was a terrorist organization or aliens that lobbied for it...

     

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  4.  
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    John Doe, Oct 16th, 2009 @ 4:21am

    Re: I also find it weird

    It just seems strange that the administration would take a hard line on something so mundane and go directly against one of their campaign promises for it.

    Surely you didn't believe those promises? I know half the country didn't I have a hard time believing the other half did.

     

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  5.  
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    Skout (profile), Oct 16th, 2009 @ 4:32am

    weird?

    It's not necessarily that we believed. We're guilty of a more innocent crime: we WANT to believe. This isn't worse than what we had under Bush. But it's more of the same, something we'd hoped was voted away. More than a little depressing.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    ..., Oct 16th, 2009 @ 5:07am

    Re: secret underhand government

    "Truth, openness, honesty already gone to the dogs"

    That happened a long time ago

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2009 @ 5:09am

    Re: One of the biggest promises

    "why many voted for Obama was the promise of openness."

    They voted for him because he is not bush

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    ..., Oct 16th, 2009 @ 5:12am

    Terror Industrial Complex

    Colin Powell warned us about the terror industrial complex several years ago, few listened.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2009 @ 5:21am

    Re: Re: One of the biggest promises

    No, they voted for him because he is Black. Political correctness is crap. Tell it like it is. Stop trying to sugar coat it.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2009 @ 6:01am

    Re: One of the biggest promises

    No, they voted for him because he is Black. Political correctness is crap. Tell it like it is. Stop trying to sugar coat it.
    Personally, I did not like Clinton and I really did hope for the openness that Obama promised. I did not vote for him because he is black. That never even enter my conscious thoughts (although it still may have effected my vote just not consciously.)

    Back on the subject... I don't know why we need telco immunity. If the government really did coerce them into revealing the data, and it was a national security measure, fine. Both the government and the telco's are off the hook (no pun intended.) If the telco's freely handed over the data the deserve to burn for it. Lets let the courts decide what the truth of the matter is.

    The pure, unadulterated power grab for power by the executive branch of the government over the course of the last 28 years must be stopped! There are three branches of the government, and each must be equally powerful for this country to be run as the republic it is supposed to be.

     

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  11.  
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    Coughing Monkey (profile), Oct 16th, 2009 @ 6:07am

    Voting for someone simply because they are Black or any other color is actually racism in it's purist form.

     

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  12.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 16th, 2009 @ 6:26am

    I would think this is pretty simple

    The goal isn't to get a list of the people that lobbied for immunity to see who wanted immunity. The goal is to see who lobbied for immunity because those people may have OTHER informaiton regarding what in the hell was going on.

    For instance, if a list is acquired saying Joe Smith from AT&T was one of the people lobbying for immunity and, oh, he just happens to relatively high up the chain at the company, THEN you interview HIM to see what he knows about the domestic spy program.

    You mark my words, in the unlikely event that some light is shed on this whole escapade, there are going to be some very alarming and damaging revelations regarding who was spied on, why, when, etc.

    My guess is that if we find anything out at all, it will be that the NSA wiretaps were actually a continuation of the COINTELPRO program that FBI was ordered to shut down years ago.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COINTELPRO

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2009 @ 6:48am

    Re: Re: Re: One of the biggest promises

    No, they voted for him because he is Black. Political correctness is crap. Tell it like it is. Stop trying to sugar coat it.

    No, he's half black. A lot of us voted for the white half.

     

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  14.  
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    Bri (profile), Oct 16th, 2009 @ 6:58am

    Hmmm

    So at this point, why in the hell isn't the judge holding them in contempt of court??? That better be the next step, along with jail time for anyone involved in not relinquishing the information.

     

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  15.  
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    j. wyatt (profile), Oct 16th, 2009 @ 7:12am

    Re: Hmmm

    Bri said: "So at this point, why in the hell isn't the judge holding them in contempt of court??? That better be the next step, along with jail time for anyone involved in not relinquishing the information."

    That's what I was thinking. Starting putting people in jail for contept and you'll start getting the documents you asked for.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Beta, Oct 16th, 2009 @ 7:17am

    The logic is hard to grasp...

    ...for a mere scientist like me.

    Last week... the documents were due to be turned over by Friday, October 9... The government asked Federal District Court Judge Jeffrey White for [a] delay, a request that Judge White ultimately denied, giving the government a new deadline of Friday, October 16, by 4 p.m. Pacific time.

    "Hello?"
    "Steve, it's Jeff. What's the idea of coming into my court with a box of documents?"
    "Sorry Jeff, I have a new assistant who thought we should actually bring--"
    "For God's sake, what if someone had taken a picture? How could I explain not asking for the box? And don't cut it so close next time, I look ridiculous denying you an extension and giving you an extension in the same breath."
    "I'm sorry, look we have next week's motion all ready, it's 14,000 pages."
    "Good, give it to me at the last minute, I'll take a few days to review it, an afternoon saying no, and then give you a new deadline. How're we doing on dividing up the the documents?"
    "Pretty good, we're asking to hold back about 10% temporarily, which will become--"
    "Which will become %80 indefinitely after we allow it, I know. And the other %20?"
    "We'll be unable to prepare them in time, you know, computer problems, clerical errors..."
    "Paper jams? A fire in the file room? You're killing me, man. Look, I can give you a few more extensions like that, but then you'll have to divulge something..."
    "Have to, Your Honor? Are you talking about a hard deadline? Do you want to actually demand something from us at a set time?"
    "NO! Come on, nobody wants a showdown, just give us something boring, you know, to get it off the front page."
    "We'll get back to you on that."

     

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  17.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 16th, 2009 @ 7:27am

    Re: Re: Hmmm

    "That's what I was thinking. Starting putting people in jail for contept and you'll start getting the documents you asked for."

    I think the issue is one of how to proceed. The President and, through him, his administration are the highest ranking officials in enforcing the law. The judiciary can scream, "Arrest those men!" all they want, but who's going to do the arresting?

    In order to bring in the administration, you need to go through the proper channels of checks and balances and have BOTH the judiciary AND congress call for his head.

    Best of luck getting that to happen...

     

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  18.  
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    DavidB, Oct 16th, 2009 @ 7:28am

    what they don't want us to see...

    The way I see it is the current administration is holding out because they wish to protect for themselves the excesses expanded by prior administrations.

    Well, that, and I suspect they are protecting some pretty high up notables that during the bruhaha back then were publicly on the side of "we shouldn't give them immunity" but privately were in favor of it. Yeah, I'm that cynical about our executive and legislative branches of government.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2009 @ 8:11am

    Terrorism is a big business, like an economic bubble.

    Colin Powell called it a "Terror Industrial Complex"

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22425001/vp/33336509#33336509

     

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  20.  
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    Overcast (profile), Oct 16th, 2009 @ 3:36pm

    This is Obama's Government Transparency version 1.2F - "F" for fail.

     

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  21.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), Oct 16th, 2009 @ 5:46pm

    Re: I also find it weird

    Wrong, guys. There was a campaign promise of vague "increase openness", yes. But it did not apply to telco immunity.

    In fact, Obama (disappointingly) voted as a Senator in favor of telco immunity.

    It is a cover-up and it is dirty. But it is not back-tracking on a campaign promise.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Dark chubs, Oct 16th, 2009 @ 8:13pm

    Re: Re: One of the biggest promises

    4 if you count wall st.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 19th, 2009 @ 8:22am

    Derek, the open government promise obviously is what is being ignored by Obama, that is back tracking on a campaign promise. It isn't the issue of telco immunity at question but the question of not giving the information about lobbying out that is a violation of open government.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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