One More White House Horror
If this country still had a working system of laws and a government with at least some checks and balances left in place, it would be a huge scandal simply that Bush "sought" to do this:
A former Qwest Communications International executive, appealing a conviction for insider trading, has alleged that the government withdrew opportunities for contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars after Qwest refused to participate in an unidentified National Security Agency program that the company thought might be illegal.These allegations "could" affect the debate? I doubt it. Should? Hell, they should spark immediate investigations and wholesale resignations. Think about it:
Former chief executive Joseph P. Nacchio, convicted in April of 19 counts of insider trading, said the NSA approached Qwest more than six months before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to court documents unsealed in Denver this week.
Details about the alleged NSA program have been redacted from the documents, but Nacchio's lawyer said last year that the NSA had approached the company about participating in a warrantless surveillance program to gather information about Americans' phone records...
Nacchio's account, which places the NSA proposal at a meeting on Feb. 27, 2001, suggests that the Bush administration was seeking to enlist telecommunications firms in programs without court oversight before the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon. The Sept. 11 attacks have been cited by the government as the main impetus for its warrantless surveillance efforts.
The allegations could affect the debate on Capitol Hill over whether telecoms sued for disclosing customers' phone records and other data to the government after the Sept. 11 attacks should be given legal immunity, even if they did not have court authorization to do so.
Within five weeks after George W. Bush moved into the White House (after a stolen election, let's not forget), his administration sought to wiretap without any legal oversight whatsoever, severely punishing those that insisted on obeying the law.* Not work to change the law, mind you, but rather to disobey the laws of this country with total impunity.
Within five weeks. Long before 9/11. Kee-rist.
Now, cynical, deeply uncivil Bush-bashers will surely sneer, "What took them so long?" Count me among them. I'm certain it started earlier. The disgraceful, felonious behavior that we already know about is just a drop in the bucket.
Prediction: If this garners any level of national outrage (but it probably won't), then in response, every rightwing lunatic will squawk that Qwest's failure to participate in February '01 was clearly the reason Bush didn't know about the 9/11 plot until it was too late. Had they only been able to tap everyone's phones without all those pesky restrictions, y'see..
And if that happens, you will see very thoughtful commentary as people take that argumment seriously, instead of expressing fury at being taken for suckers.
h/t to Duncan.
*This, of course, assumes that Nacchio's allegations are true, but given what we know already about this worst ever of administrations, they sure smell like they are.