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Unsung Hits of the FISA Debate: Pre-9/11 Wiretapping

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January 16, 2008

Congress will be back in session next Tuesday, and one of the top orders of business is debating the FISA Amendments Act of 2007 in the Senate. Every day until Congress returns, we’ll be blogging on the best and most overlooked FISA-related news stories in our DailyKos Diary.

Today’s hit: Pre-9/11 Wiretapping. At the insider-trading trial of Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio last year, documents revealed the NSA sought Qwest’s participation in a wiretapping program well before 9/11. This goes right to the heart of the telecom immunity debate:

If Qwest was approached in early 2001, we can only assume that the other phone companies were as well. With that revelation, it would be incredibly naïve to think that retroactive immunity for the phone companies is justified by the exigent circumstances of 9/11. Congress must investigate these claims of pre-9/11 NSA programs before it closes the courthouse door forever.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s installment: using libraries for surveillance. To catch up on all of the FISA action that’s taken place thus far, check out our FISA page.