On Wednesday, Oct. 3, Senator Jay Rockefeller wrote an op-ed piece for The Wasthing Post in which he argues why telecommunications companies should be granted immunity from prosecution for their possibly illegally sharing information with the government on phone calls by U.S. citizens. This sharing was most probably illegal, although the phone companies were assured at the time that it was legal. This is, of course, a spurious defense by companies which have large legal departments which could have quickly verified the assertion.
The senator’s arguments would hold more water if he had not accepted more than $42,000 in donations from executives at these companies.
None of the senator’s arguments make sense. As Glenn Greenwald writes, “If the Government wants telecoms to cooperate, they simply serve warrants — just like the “law” requires — and telecoms are then required to cooperate. Rockefeller’s claims that surveillance efforts will “come to a screeching halt” without his amnesty plan is nothing more than the sort of deceitful fear-mongering which the Bush administration has relentlessly churned out over the last six years.”