Telcos Respond to Spying Questions: AT&T Says Blame the Government - UPDATE
Ryan Singel writes on Threat Level:
Verizon, Qwest and AT&T each responded in their own special ways to a request from a key Congressional committee about how they respond to government requests for information in letters made public on Monday.More here.
Qwest's brief answer to the House Energy and Commerce Committee said the company -- the only one known to have refused a request from the NSA for cooperation without a court order -- is extremely rigorous in reviewing complicated requests. But the company declined to answer questions about that request, saying it was caught in the crossfire of a lawsuit filed by the federal government against New Jersey's Attorney General, who is seeking answers on how telecoms cooperated with the administration's secret spying programs,
AT&T responded to the detailed questions posed earlier this month by Representatives Edward J. Markey (D-Massachusetts), John D. Dingell (D-Michigan) and Bart Stupak (D-Michigan) by dodging them.
Instead, AT&T's general counsel Wayne Watts wrote a 13-page plea for immunity from lawsuits, laying the blame for any unlawful transfer of customer communication records on the government and calling the lawsuits "exceptionally unfair."
UPDATE: 17:39 PDT: Reuters reports that "Major U.S. telephone carriers refused to answer questions from the Democratic-led Congress about their possible participation in President George W. Bush's warrantless domestic spying program, according to documents released by lawmakers on Monday."