Carol Platt Liebau: Fake But Accurate?

Friday, May 19, 2006

Fake But Accurate?

It looks like there's at least a decent possibility that the USA Today "scoop" on phone companies being forced to hand over their phone records is wrong.

Of course, no one in the press is willing to say as much yet, at least not publicly. Could it be that they're simply "cooling out the mark", as Thomas Sowell puts it in another context?

One interesting but largely overlooked clue may be that the Bush Administration has never confirmed the existence of this program -- in stark contrast to its relatively swift confirmation back in December of surveillance of Al Qaeda foreign calls, including those coming into America.


Blogger Mr. Twister said...

Wow, Carol! I am surprised it took you so long to jump on the talking point band wagon here.

Unfortunately for you, the President in direct response to a question about this report, the President said members of Congress had been fully briefed.

Trent Lott has confirmed the program exists.

Qwest confirmed that they were asked to disclose the calling records to the NSA.

On May 5th the President signed an executive order allowing companies like Bell South and Verizon to lie with impunity in situations like this. Even despite this administration cover, Bell South and Verizon, waited for a week to release carefully parsed "denials" of a carefully-crafted-to-disguise-the-truth kind.

7:02 AM  
Blogger One Salient Oversight said...


It'd be great to have a link to those assertions.

7:10 AM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

One Salient Oversight said, "It'd be great to have a link to those assertions."

Fair enough.

Trent Lott: "Several members of Congress briefed by the administration on the program confirmed it exists. The United States needs 'to use modern technological tools' to defeat terrorists, Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., told reporters. He said the USA TODAY account undermines a 'legitimate and legal' program." [Cite]

QWEST: "Former Qwest Communications Chief Executive Joseph Nacchio refused to share customer telephone records with the National Security Agency following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks because authorities did not want to use 'any legal process' to justify their request, Nacchio's attorney said Friday." [Cite]

Executive Order: My bad, it was a Presidential Memorandum and not an Excutive Order. Anyway, read it here> The law cited in the memorandum can be found here.

"Wait, wait," I hear you say, "what about your first assertion?" Since you should have been able to find any single one of these points if you had taken a moment to look, I'm leaving #1 as a bit of an exercise for the reader. I will give you a hint, though--look for the transcript of the Tony Snow's press gaggle, where the new press secretary claims the President never confirmed the existence of the program. Then find the President's quote the reporter is referring to, and you will see the President confirming the existence of the program that Tony Snow said the Preisdent never confirmed the existence of.

11:30 PM  

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