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Mr. Klein Goes To Washington
Whistleblower tells Congress not to deliver spying telco legal immunity
by Karl Bode 06:21PM Wednesday Nov 07 2007
Mark Klein, a 62-year-old retired AT&T technician, spent 22 years with the company and exposed their participation (pdf) in the government's warrantless wiretap program. Klein today took an important trip to Washington DC.

His goal? To try and convince Congress that AT&T should not be given legal immunity for handing over your voice and data to Uncle Sam without a court order. AT&T and Verizon are currently facing 37 different lawsuits for their involvement. Klein makes it clear his goal is Justice, not "bringing down" the company or lower level AT&T employees:

The plain-spoken, bespectacled Klein, 62, said he may be the only person in the country in a position to discuss firsthand knowledge of an important aspect of the Bush administration's domestic surveillance program. He is retired, so he isn't worried about losing his job. He did not have security clearance, and the documents in his possession were not classified, he said. He has no qualms about "turning in," as he put it, the company where he worked for 22 years until he retired in 2004.

"If they've done something massively illegal and unconstitutional -- well, they should suffer the consequences," Klein said. "It's not my place to feel bad for them. They made their bed, they have to lie in it. The ones who did [anything wrong], you can be sure, are high up in the company. Not the average Joes, who I enjoyed working with."
The phone companies, meanwhile, have been spending millions to lobby lawmakers in order to dodge legal accountability for their actions (one wonders how well that would work for you or I). Former Attorney General John Ashcroft (now a telecom lobbyist paid by AT&T) penned this editorial in the New York Times this week, arguing that the telcos were simply following orders:
If the attorney general of the United States says that an intelligence-gathering operation has been determined to be lawful, a company should be able to rely on that determination.
Klein (and the EFF, who is suing AT&T on your behalf) believe that AT&T chose to participate in what AT&T lawyers knew was a constitutionally dubious endeavor -- they just never believed it would become public information. Allowing unfettered access to all customer data and phone communications -- across multiple carriers -- violated your legal rights, and Klein believes they should be held legally accountable for their error in judgment.

You and I would be.

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Bloom County

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I guesss those who don't mind illegal wiretapping...

won't mind when some nimrod in govt decides a person means something that they really don't and when the black helicoptors come in and arrest the person as a 'terrorist' and as such you can be kept without counsel or a hearing indefinitely - they won't mind at all.

After all - we have to catch the terrorists - if innocent people get caught up - too bad. Maybe the govt should bring back the Stormtroopers as well - all is fair in the 'war' against terrorists (that never disappeared and has been around since the dawn of man). This type of talk would make Hitler blush and Stalin salute.

Maybe we need to just make it easier and the govt should declare martial law and suspend the Constitution since all is now fair.

Wow - the govt sure has successfully made people paranoid - pretty sad to see. I guess those insipid ads with kids about "what to do in case of a terrorist attack" have done their job after all.

Free health care is 100% a misnomer - it is not free and never will be free.


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I can't believe some of the responses here. Too many to be trolls.

First, where does it say in the constitution that what is lawful is EVER determined by one man?!?!?!?!?

Sure, the attorney General has more credence than the average Joe when it comes to saying what is lawful and constitutional or not but that in no way means that just because the Attorney General says something is lawful that it is.

Would we start running red lights from now on because the Attorney General said it's ok to do so? I sure wouldn't...and that's just a traffic violation, NOT THE WHOLESALE SURRENDER (and probably sale) of oceans of private communications without any judicial or congressional oversight!

Second, I get the feeling that the folks who vigorously defend these people's methods and madness only do so because they perceive no significant ramifications to their daily lives. However if their child was caught in this absurd dragnet for making a joke web page about something terror related or forwarding an email to their friend that contains "lefty wing-nut" language I would bet dollars to donuts that we'd be seeing their mugs on Frontline whining about this whole ordeal.

Step back and look at the RAMIFICATIONS of what is taking place. Think chess and and ponder the possible moves to come. What could possibly happen? Could something like the above happen? Bet your ass it could! It already has happened and it will happen again.

Third, does anyone here actually believe that AT&T were just being good corporate citizens? Does anyone believe that AT&T would actually use their own capital to build these secret rooms? Further does anyone even believe that AT&T would supply the space, engineers and equipment AT COST? If there is someone out there that believes that then I'm your long lost nephew and I need help paying my mortgage and I'll pay you back as soon as I get back on my feet. AT&T was surely richly compensated for their part (money, perks or otherwise), I would stake my next year's salary on it.

The entity AT&T cares about it's bottom line and that's it. For a corporation to behave otherwise would be suicide. Your average garden variety slug has enough sense in it's squishy noggin to know this. AT&T cares about AT&T--Bushco cares about Bushco. There is no goodwill and citizenry here.

Deeds done by way of honor, honesty and the desire to help your fellow citizens are NEVER DONE IN A CLANDESTINE BACK ROOM. NEVER.

Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Tulsa, OK

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reply to jester121

Re: :rolleyes:

Let's see the political right support this if the legislation was "Monitor and record any Gun Owners in the USA"...

Let somehow, monitoring people on the Internet is "just some left wing socialist's concern."

I don't get it. If our Government is so trustworthy and upstanding, then hell, we don't need the Second Amendment anymore, do we? Let's just ban everything other then hunting rifles and shotguns (small pellet only) and turn the rest in, scrap our gun manufacturers and melt down all the rest for metal.

Good plan, right? I mean, we don't need to have a way to rise up against such a well meaning, well run and well intentioned Government, do we?
"Regulatory capitalism is when companies invest in lawyers, lobbyists, and politicians, instead of plant, people, and customer service." - former FCC Chairman William Kennard (A real FCC Chairman, unlike the current Corporate Spokesperson in the job!)

Complete Your Transaction


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Mr. Klein is a true patriot; AT&T is the real terrorist

Defending the constitution and the rule of law, Mr. Klein should receive the highest award given to civilians.

AT&T, for spitting on the constitution with a wink wink nod nod from their lawyers, should be punished.

Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Tulsa, OK

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reply to FFH5

Re: Thanks

Anyone who thinks the EFF is "just another Anti-Bush left wing organization" should really take a look at what the EFF does.... lest they find themselves deserving the label of "Just another right-wing nut..."



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reply to JasonD
B***S***. How many more of your freedoms are you willing to give up? You know, tyrannies and dictatorships often begin as democracies or republics. Hitler was able to take over because he worked through the system to change laws so that he could do whatever he wanted. So did Caesar. Sound familiar? How does the saying go?

"When they took the Jews, I didn't say anything because I"m not Jewish. When they took the homosexuals, I didn't say anything because I'm not a homosexual. When they took the Gypsies I didn't say anything because I'm not a Gypsy. When they took the Catholics I didn't say anything because I'm not Catholic. When they came to take me away, there was no one left to speak up for me."


Santa Clarita, CA

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Doing The Right Thing

He is doing the right thing. All the Government had to do if they were interested in something was get a warrant for it. If it was a "National Security Priority" and needed immediately the Government should have done what the law for years has allowed, get the data/tap the line, then get a warrant from a Judge afterwards.
The problem with getting the warrant afterwards was they were just mining data, no particular data, but everyone's data. A Judge would have never signed off on it. If it was so legal, why have they still not gone to the Judge, justify it, and received their warrant afterwards as the law allows them to?
To me it is like surrounding a city because you know there are criminals there, going door to door, searching every house until you find something. What is the difference between the two? No one would stand for the door to door searches.


Vancouver, WA

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reply to ninjatutle

Re: Thanks

said by ninjatutle:

The terrorist thanks you too Mr. Klien.
And when we give up our freedoms to beat the terrorists, they have just won.


San Ramon, CA

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reply to powerhog
The terrorist thanks you too Mr. Klien.

Stinkin' up the joint
Owasso, OK

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Thank you Mr. Klein.