Three telecommunications companies have declined to tell Congress whether they gave U.S. intelligence agencies access to Americans' phone and computer records without court orders, citing White House objections and national security.What. The. Fuck. What this means is that the White House is telling private businesses they can flaunt Congressional authority. It means that the Congress has been publicly declared irrelevant, a toothless body with no power to do anything except rubber stamp the shrub's royal edicts.
Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell "formally invoked the state secrets privilege to prevent AT&T from either confirming or denying" any details about intelligence programs, AT&T general counsel Wayne Watts wrote in a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Qwest and Verizon also declined to answer, saying the federal government has prohibited them from providing information, discussing or referring to any classified intelligence activities.
How much do you want to bet that Congress will, in response to this latest outrage, do absolutely nothing? Oh, Conyers is meekly asking the Bush injustice department to answer allegations that it began mining citizens' data immediately after the terrible duo seized power. But he'll just be told to go Cheney himself, and he'll shut up like a good little dog. But let's be honest with ourselves about what's going on. The same people selling you telephone and Internet services on lines you as taxpayers own are happily turning over records of your conversations and web surfing to a dictatorship that is hellbent on transforming this once-great nation into a bastard hybrid of the Roman Empire and Nazi Germany.
Don't count on the consciences of the telecommunications companies' CEOs to save you from this tyranny; when former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio refused to hand over your records without a court order, he found his corporation being punished and himself prosecuted and convicted for insider trading. I want you to think about the implications of this for a few minutes. Nacchio was probably guilty of the crimes with which he was charged. But what are the chances that the reason he was prosecuted and convicted, in an era where CEOs break the law while DoJ turns a willfully blind eye, because he defied the dictator? The message the other CEOs got is that being complicit in White House illegal spying keeps their asses out of prison.
So what's to be done now? Congress is irrelevant as long as impeachment is kept off the table and the legislature continues to rubber stamp the regime's crimes. DOn't count on elections to change anything; they're rigged to "elect" mostly those who will keep the status quo going, not people who will actually do anything to stop this fascism.