Verizon is taking a lot of heat for disclosing that they released calling records to the government more than 700 times without a warrant.
From what I understand, they are the first phone company to respond to Congressional inquiries. Maybe they are trying to get out in front of a bad story, or maybe they are blowing the whistle on these programs.
I doubt that their stated reason (urgency of national security requests) is the whole story. They're probably more interested in immunity at this point.
I have to agree with Bush on this one...
They should be given retroactive blanket immunity. Then they can disclose what they know so creeps in the Bush administration and the Justice Department who are violating the Constitution they have sworn to uphold can be found out and prosecuted.
Further, phone companies, banks, credit card companies, etc. should all be given blanket immunity relating to compliance with a government request. Why should they be required to have lawyers to double check everything their government demands or spend millions defending the government's actions in court?
Besides the fact that they shouldn't have to do the government's job and that they should be able to trust the government to act legally, they are under a lot of government pressure from other angles -- for licensing, frequency allocations, and all sorts of regulation. They're not going to ask questions because it's in their best interest to cooperate.
So yes, give them all immunity. Then, require them to disclose all such requests to Congress or the appropriate oversight agency. Then shutdown all these illegal wiretapping operations and prosecute those responsible. Then repeal the quasi-legal Patriot Act fishing licenses and get back to running our country according to the Constitution.
Or elect another Republican and invade Iran. Whatever.
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