November 07, 2007

Telecom immunity on the skids...

As part of the FISA expansion/ warrantless wiretapping bill, the Administration and some in Congress (mostly Republicans but a few Democrats as well) have advanced a proposal to hold telecom companies that cooperated with the illegal wiretaps (advanced by Bush) harmless with a retroactive immunity law.

Say that five times fast, then spin around 10 times.

Now it appears that the Judiciary Committee is going to put this proposal down for a dirt nap, despite the best intentions of Senator Lawnchair. But that hasn't stopped some from making some rather outlandish claims, like a certain overreaching asst. AG...

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth L. Wainstein told the committee that immunity was a question of "fairness" for the carriers. He also said that proceeding with the cases risks the divulgence of classified information. The government has invoked a claim of state secrets to stop the litigation. "If we don't prevail with state secrets," Wainstein said, "then there's no guarantee that that information is not going to get out. In fact, even just the filing of lawsuits and the allegations made can actually end up . . . compromising sensitive sources and methods."

"Oh, really?" Specter replied. "Allegations in a lawsuit from people who are plaintiffs who don't have any inside information?"

"Yes," Wainstein said.

Kenny, this is the most specious argument I've seen advanced from the Administration since Condosleaza's admonishment about 'mushroom clouds'. Your excuses, Kenny are pretty embarrassing. The reality is if the Administration had done things the right way this wouldn't be an issue. Instead, they acted like a bunch of retards at the Y and shit all in the pool.

Yes. I totally ripped that from Drawn Together. Still, Kenny's argument is only marginally dumber than the one advanced by former AG Ashcroft who has recovered nicely from nearly having his heart ripped out by Card and Gonzales. Now he's working for the telecom companies. The same ones who are begging and pleading for the immunity...

Those firms, he explains, were acting on "explicit assurances from the highest levels of government that the activities in question were authorized by the president and determined to be lawful."

Uhm... on something like this, they would need a letter from the AG. You didn't give them one, did you John? No? Oh well, too bad so sad.

By what principle of justice should anyone face potentially ruinous liability for cooperating with intelligence activities that are authorized by the president and whose legality has been reviewed and approved by our most senior legal officials?

Here again, John, did you write them a get out of jail free letter? Oh, let me answer that for you... no. You didn't. Because YOU knew it was illegal. Now you're grubbing for money from the same people you put in this spot. Nice work, John. You'd make an excellent grifter. Wait... you already ARE.

These cases have to advance and they have to reach a final conclusion. If that conclusion is a massive settlement, then so be it. If it ends up bankrupting the company, so much the better. For one thing, it'll force shareholders to take more of an interest in what management is doing. For another, it'll show that no company is above the law.

Posted by mcblogger at November 7, 2007 03:03 PM

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