Wednesday, May 24, 2006

NYT: The New York Timid continues to ignore the NSA scandal

The Federal Communications Commission will not pursue complaints about the National Security Agency's access to millions of telephone records because it cannot obtain classified material, the commission's chairman said in a letter released on Tuesday.

The above is from this morning's New York Times . . . and it's a Reuters article entitled "Agency Won't Investigate N.S.A. on Records."

See how they run
like pigs from a gun
see how they fly, I'm crying.
-- "I Am the Walrus" (words & music by John Lennon and Paul McCartney)

Like pigs from a gun indeed. The story the paper never wanted to break and sat on for over a year continues to be the story they refuse to cover. Now they're happy to print denials from big business -- denials they don't bother to analyze because the most basic analysis (even Bumiller or Burns could handle the most basic) indicate that the phone companies are playing word games. But otherwise, they look the other way -- just like they did when long time source Michael Hayden was nominated. What? You thought a snotty little boy (trim the beard or shave it, it's making you the joke of the newsroom) wrote his 'film criticism' all by himself?

But when it comes to actually covering a story (one that when forced to cover they can't stop inserting "as The New York Times reported . . ."), they have no interest in it. They haven't for months and we've noted it here. So they continue to look the other way and continue to remain silent. See how they run like pigs from a gun.

Cindy notes Matthew B. Stannard, Joe Garofoli's "Champion of Cyberspace Faces its Biggest Case Yet: Documents posted: They describe technology allegedly used in surveillance by telecom giant" (San Francisco Chronicle via Common Dreams):

According to the documents' introduction, which Wired News reported was written by Klein, that door concealed "computer gear for a government spy operation ... only people with security clearance from the National Security Agency can enter this room."
Behind the door, according to the documents, was a 24-by-48-foot room containing servers, routers and an industrial-size air conditioner. High-speed fiber-optic circuits are routed from AT&T's backbone servers to the room, where the documents suggest a special "splitter" routes part of the light signal to a device designed to collect and analyze high-speed and high-volume data.
"These installations enable the government to look at every individual message on the Internet and analyze exactly what people are doing," Klein wrote, according to Wired News. "This is the infrastructure for an Orwellian police state. It must be shut down!"
It appears, at least in the documents posted by Wired News, that Klein was describing a system partly based on his own observations, partly on what the documents call "educated guesses," and partly on conclusions drawn from different sources.
That said, the highly detailed nature of the documents tends to support their veracity, Aftergood said.
"It's rather detailed, which I think lends it some credibility, because there are many ways it could be shown to be wrong or inauthentic, and no one has done so," he said.

Brady notes "Verizon Refuses to Come Clean About Wiretapping" (The NewStandard):

Telecom giant Verizon is refusing to confirm or deny participation in the illegal National Security Agency (NSA) wiretapping program, as citizens in Maine urge the state's Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to investigate whether the company handed over its phone records.
In a tight-lipped 44-page response to the PUC last Friday, Verizon argued that the Commission lacks the authority to investigate a complaint that the telephone company was involved in the NSA program. The company further claimed such information is protected by the "state-secrets privilege."
[. . .]
"We were surprised to see Verizon make the state-secrets argument because only the government, not private entities, can assert that privilege," Shenna Bellows, executive director of the Maine Civil Liberties Union, said in a press statement. "Use of the state-secrets argument indicates that Verizon lawyers may have worked closely with federal government lawyers in drafting a response to the commission."

For anyone who's missed it (readers of the Timid?), the topic is Wired's "Whistle-Blower's Evidence, Uncut" and "AT&T's Implementation of NSA Spying on American Citizens, 31 December 2005."

Lloyd recommends Matthew Rothschild's interview with John Dean for Progressive Radio which you can read or listen to.

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