The telecommunications companies complied with a government request after being assured, in writing, that the activities had been authorized by the president and deemed lawful by the attorney general. Punishing them by forcing them to endure the cost and hassle of lawsuits would be counter- productive to securing such cooperation in the future, while offering little prospect of a useful outcome.Greg Greenwald, who has blogged the FISA controversy extensively, comments:
Incidentally, the section of the The Washington Post where the editorial defending the telecommunications industry appeared came wrapped in a full page color advertisement for Sprint, and an entire section of the paper was named after AT&T! (above photo) Moreover, the only two-page color advertisement appearing in the front section of the current issue is for T-mobile. At today's Washington Post it certainly appears as if securing advertiser revenue comes before the defense of the public interest.
. . . with this new FISA bill, our political establishment is doing what it now habitually does: namely, ensuring that the political and corporate elite who break our laws on purpose are immune from consequences. . . .
This history of the telecoms -- faring no better in court than the President has -- gives the lie to Fred Hiatt's deeply (and typically) dishonest Washington Post Editorial today -- by way of praising Obama's FISA stance -- that telecom immunity is a good idea because "The likelihood of prevailing -- or even getting very far -- with such lawsuits is low." The exact opposite is true: it's precisely because the telecoms know they are in severe danger of losing in court -- because they broke multiple laws -- that they and the White House are so desperate for amnesty.