FISA and the Good Corporate Citizen

By January 28, 2008Briefly Legal, Communications

From the conference call Senator Kit Bond (R-MO) of the Intelligence Committee had with bloggers this afternoon, with the question coming from Shopfloor.org:

Question: Is there a broader issue here, as well? We can talk about the specific telecom companies, but I wonder whether there isn’t a broader issue of being a good corporate citizen, being a citizen of America with certain obligations and responsibilities, as well, if you’re a telecom company or another company all together.

Bond: I think you’ll find regrettably a few in the Congress and some on the outside who are vocal who think there is no such thing as a good corporate citizen. They view any business that creates jobs and provides goods or services to be inherently evil. But I think the point of the matter is, that the carriers – telecommunications companies – are a vital link in our national security, both working with us when ordered to listen in on communication from terrorists abroad, and for the longer term, in working with us to ensure cyber-security – protect not only our government but private institutions and individuals from hackers.

So, we have many areas of cooperation with carriers and others. And if anybody who cooperates with the government can be sued by the radical fringe, so-called public interest groups that contend we shouldn’t have any secret intelligence, we ought not to do anything that isn’t totally disclosed – thus, in my view, (will) leave us totally vulnerable to the kind of attacks like the disaster of 9/11.

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Ben says:

    If this was really about security of our nation, the republicans wouldn’t have unanimously voted down the 30-day extension on the PAA today. The notion that the expiration of the PAA makes us unable to spy on terrorists is absolutely false. FISA is still in effect, and warrants from the secret courts are, as always, easily obtainable.

    This is really about the ability for parts of our government to operate in secret, with no checks or balances. This is a very bad thing no matter who it is.

    Being a good citizen, be it corporate or otherwise, does not mean blindly obeying the requests of the government. Or aren’t we still a free country?

  • J. Clifford says:

    Wait a minute. Corporations have responsibilities to their customers, to honor their privacy agreements. If corporations show that their legal agreements with customers no longer have any weight, what basis is there for trust in the marketplace any longer?

    It is absolutely absurd to claim that America can only be secure from terrorism when the government is allowed to conduct massive electronic spying operations against American citizens AND businesses without any judicial review or congressional oversight.

    This legislation is beyond reasonable reform. It is a threat to the independence of business from government and to the liberty of the individual citizen.

    No one can conduct business when they aren’t assured of private communications.

  • Paul Dirks says:

    can be sued by the radical fringe, so-called public interest groups that contend we shouldn’t have any secret intelligence

    Straw much?

    If you don’t like the law, change it and get on with it. Violating it for years doesn’t get it. It also presents the question of why FISA couldn’t have been updated by the Patriot act? The administration had the Congress in his pocket at the time, why wait till 2007 to update the law after violating it for 6 years?

    No one objects to intelligence gathering but the shameless lying is getting awfully old.

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