Hear That Deafening Silence From AT&T And Verizon About NSA Surveillance?
from the yup,-thought-so dept
Now, perhaps it's reasonable to question whether or not the statements from the internet companies are completely accurate, but they've been increasingly specific in their denials. On the flip side, the telcos haven't issued any denials at all, and, given the evidence that Klein presented seven years ago, you can see why they might not have grounds to issue a denial. The remaining silence, however, speaks volumes.
The Internet companies have asked Attorney General Eric Holder to lift secrecy restrictions on 702 orders so they can clear their name, in part by disclosing how many records they have turned over in response to legal process. Google sent an open letter to Holder yesterday, and Facebook and Microsoft have also asked the Justice Department for permission to divulge summary statistics. Holder has not responded.
By contrast, AT&T never asked for permission to disclose NSA surveillance. Instead, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Carl Nichols said during a 2006 court hearing in San Francisco that a discussion of all the "facts" about NSA surveillance could only happen in a classified setting. The Bush administration asked that the case be tossed out on "state secrets" grounds.
Neither did Verizon, which has secretly turned over daily logs of all customers' phone calls to the NSA, according to a court order that the Guardian published last week. When USA Today disclosed in 2006 that NSA was vacuuming up phone logs, Verizon didn't deny it. Instead, a spokesman told the newspaper only that "we do not comment on national security matters."