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View Diary: The AP Phone Records, the Press, and the Devil's Bargain (45 comments)

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  •  Frankly, I don't see why AP had any expectation (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kurt, se portland, ratcityreprobate

    whatsoever that its telephone records were not subject to unannounced government surveillance.  The story about Room 614A broke in 2006.  That story and its aftermath made it crystal clear that the telecom companies are completely in the government's pocket (or possibly vice versa).

    Of particular note is this story from June 3, 2009, when the suits against AT&T were dismissed:

    SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed lawsuits targeting the nation’s telecommunication companies for their participation in President George W. Bush’s once-secret electronic eavesdropping program.

    In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker upheld summer legislation protecting the companies from the lawsuits. The legislation, which then-Sen. Barack Obama voted for, also granted the government the authority to monitor American’s telecommunications without warrants if the subject was communicating with somebody overseas suspected of terrorism.

    We must drive the special interests out of politics.… There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will neither be a short not an easy task, but it can be done. -- Teddy Roosevelt

    by NoMoJoe on Fri May 17, 2013 at 04:38:58 PM PDT

    •  Why did they not fight the subpoena? (0+ / 0-)

      People fight subpoenas every day. Why not in this case?

      If you help burn a spy I do not think that you can possibly expect to escape consequence.

      The politicians may be bought, and the system corrupt, but it is our duty to fix these things.

      by sebastianguy99 on Fri May 17, 2013 at 05:22:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The subpoenas (5+ / 0-)

        ...were administration subpoenas delivered to the phone companies and not AP.  And the phone companies are immunized against suits by citizens who are victims of warrantless seizure of records.

        The fact of immunity from customer wrath and the subpoena penalty from the government makes the phone companies compliant.  It's not their dog in the hunt, so why not deliver the records to the government without trying to quash the subpoena.

        50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

        by TarheelDem on Fri May 17, 2013 at 08:00:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I keep sounding like an idiot ditto head (0+ / 0-)

          I reread my comment after I write it, then I post it, only to find that someone replied right before me, only with a more succint and pithy comment. So, yeah, what TarheelDem said.

          The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived, and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. --John F. Kennedy

          by CenPhx on Fri May 17, 2013 at 09:54:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  The AP was not notified of the subpoena (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kurt

        I'm trying to get up to speed on the intricate details of this, so I may not have this precisely accurate, but....the subpoena, which is an administrative subpoena issued by the DOJ, not like the kind you ordinarily hear about which must be approved by a judicial officer or a grand jury, was sent to the telecommunications companies, not the AP as the subject of the investigation.

        The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived, and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. --John F. Kennedy

        by CenPhx on Fri May 17, 2013 at 08:07:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Getting phone records is legal (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        xaxnar, ratcityreprobate

        The U.S. Supreme Court said so in a 1979 decision, Smith v. Maryland.
        The subpoena might have been challenged as being unnecessarily broad.  That would depend on the particular facts of the case -- the previous investigative efforts, what justification there was for looking for records on these particular phone numbers on these particular dates, etc.

        Of course, the A.P. wasn't given the chance to fight the subpoena, because it was served without their knowledge.  They have a much higher stake in protecting this information than the phone company does.  Whether that was appropriate also depends on the facts of the case, which we really don't know.  But it does raise some question, at least.

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