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?

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Comments on “Whaddaya Know: Obama Administration Seeks Delay In Handing Over Telco Immunity Lobbying Info”

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Anonymous Coward says:

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”

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

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.

Michael (profile) says:

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…

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

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.


j. wyatt (profile) says:

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.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

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…

Beta says:

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.

“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.”

DavidB (profile) says:

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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