Threat Level posts some astonishing and disturbing news – if it turns out to be true. According to documents in the case of Quest’s former CEO – a man recently sentenced to prison for insider trading, and the only phone company official to refuse to assist the NSA in their massive surveillance efforts – the NSA approached phone companies to set up their unprecedented and unconstitutional data sweep of electronic communications several months before 9/11. This much-redacted document filed in his appeal may be covered in black ink, but it still has traces of a smoking gun. We can’t tell why the NSA approached him . . . but we can fill in the blanks. According to Threat Level, the appeal is partly based on the CEO claiming he expected higher earnings because of an NSA contract that fell apart when, in February 2001, he refused to provide calling records without a warrant. That was six months before the attacks that supposedly justify this surveillance.
Update: Threat Level has additional angles on this story. The former Quest CEO isn’t the only one saying this predated 9/11.
The other news this week, the Supreme disgrace. For the first time the Supreme Court has declined to hear a case because the US government has invoked a claim of state secrets. In effect, the court has given the government immunity for its rendition program, because any evidence that they may have broken the law is a state secret.
The moral of the story? Break the law and call what you did a state secret, and you’ll never get caught or be stopped. Kafka couldn’t come up with a better twist.