NSA Spying: AT&T Only?

by on July 5, 2006

USA Today is backing off its previous claims that BellSouth and Verizon shared customer calling records with the NSA, but is sticking by its contentions that AT&T did so. The paper now says that it can’t definitively confirm that BellSouth or Verizon participated in the program, although it says four Congressional sources say that “Verizon’s subsidiary MCI did turn over records to the NSA.”

Of course, the fact that USA Today can’t prove that records were turned over by Verizon or BellSouth doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Which is why programs like this ought not to be conducted in secret. Voters and customers deserve to know if they’re being spied on. There might be legitimate reasons for such spying, but if so the president should be willing to publicly ask Congress for authorization for the program, so there can be a public debate about its costs and benefits. (and no, such a debate wouldn’t compromise national security: terrorists already know their phones might be tapped, and are presumably already taking measures to avoid detection)

Luckily, EFF’s lawsuit was filed against the company that everyone seems to agree has been cooperating with the NSA’s spying program.

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