Company that Engaged in Criminal Wiretapping Hails Obama’s Wiretap Extension

The Wall Street Journal–owned by the same guy whose company and son are in trouble in the UK for criminally wiretapping those they wanted to collect information on–has found something to love in the Obama Administration.

Well, not everything President Obama and the 112th Congress managed to achieve is so terrible. With scarcely any notice, much less controversy, they did at least preserve one of the country’s most important post-9/11 antiterror tools.

That would be wiretapping, which you may recall liberals portrayed during the George W. Bush era as an illegal and unconstitutional license for co-President Dick Cheney and his spymasters to bug the bedrooms of all U.S. citizens. But now Washington has renewed the 2008 amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that were due to expire at the end of 2012, with no substantive changes and none of the pseudo-apoplexy that prevailed during the Bush Presidency.

In addition to applauding Obama’s “fairly ruthless antiterror prosecut[ions] and unapologetic assert[ions] of Presidential powers,” the WSJ revels in this opportunity to mock those who thought illegal wiretapping was wrong.

This is a turnabout from 2007 and 2008, when letting U.S. spooks read al Qaeda emails or listen in on phone calls that passed through domestic switching networks supposedly spelled doom for the American Republic. Democrats spent years pretending that Mr. Bush’s eavesdropping program was “wrong” and “destructive,” as Attorney General Eric Holder put it at the time, lamenting that “I never thought I would see a President act in direct defiance of federal law.”

Maybe this mutual love of abusive wiretapping is why–as Elliot Spitzer has pointed out–DOJ has thus far failed to pursue News Corp under Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

And finally, where is the inept U.S. Department of Justice in all this?

The DOJ has brought many irrelevant and tiny cases against companies for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which makes it illegal to bribe either individuals or government officials, even in a company’s overseas operations. The DOJ loves to use the statute to show just how tough it is.

Yet now they have the most important case sitting right there in front of them. It’s easy. Even a rookie could field this one.

But what are they doing? It’s not clear.

If they fail to make this case against News Corp., Eric Holder is a failure as attorney general.

After all, Eric Holder’s DOJ successfully fought to give legal sanction to Cheney’s illegal wiretapping. It would look rather silly, after having extended warrantless wiretapping past the end of the Obama Administration, for them to prosecute Rupert Murdoch for doing the same thing Cheney did.

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2 Responses to Company that Engaged in Criminal Wiretapping Hails Obama’s Wiretap Extension

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @pwnallthethings Actually, it does. It's what rules compliance--but not reality of impact--is based on. @electrospaces is
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emptywheel *Even* Michael O'Hanlon... https://t.co/HUjxyJ7bxx
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emptywheel @pwnallthethings For most part, however, they're not doing stuff that affects people's privacy and is subject to govt rules @electrospaces
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emptywheel @pwnallthethings Go ahead and mock English profs. Hell, mock CompLit profs, if you're trying to get at jargon. @electrospaces
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emptywheel @Bsox327 Oh, that was @bmaz, not me. @CNN
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emptywheel @pwnallthethings That doesn't mean real people shouldn't mock them for redfining basic language when it serves to obfuscate @electrospaces
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emptywheel @electrospaces Has the aspiration to omniscience helped those it serves make better decisions? Nope.
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emptywheel @electrospaces Does a system that starts w/premise of "collect it all" raise ominous implications? Yep, even with oversight and targeting
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JimWhiteGNV RT @SmylyD: Congrats to @MattyMoe55 for putting in 14 months of hard work and getting back on the big league mound today! #rays
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emptywheel @electrospaces Does a targeting system for adequate targeting make sense? That's not what XKS is, bc of other issues I've raised.
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emptywheel @electrospaces Let's start with the obvious lack of adequate oversight, then move onto the underlying overbroad targeting. Then talk tools.
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emptywheel @electrospaces But go ahead and parrot the jargon of spooks trying to minimize the scope of what they're doing, by all means. Mark yourself.
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January 2013
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