News International

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.

Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @Ali_Husain333 I've been plenty critical of Hillary on this. But the actual emails reveal convenience is an issue @digby56 @LukeRussert
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emptywheel @JZdziarski That's not what the model in the Super Bowl ads looks like.
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emptywheel @JZdziarski Cmon, the 500 is cute. Don't you like cute?
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bmaz So, apparently attorney Barbara P. Berens of Minneapolis is the "player to be named later" by the NFLPA in #Deflategate appeal. Interesting.
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emptywheel @JZdziarski They never wanted Chrysler in the first place. No logic now, either, IMO.
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emptywheel 6 years ago people were pushing GM to eat Chrysler and warning of Buick imports from China. Today, same thing.
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emptywheel @digby56 Apparently @LukeRussert hasn't noticed the hours of the emails and the noted difficulties conveyed w/official system. Journamalism.
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bmaz @EVINELive Yes, I bought Item # 630-028 from you less than 30 days ago. It looks great, but no longer works. Will email.
8mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Zach Carter calling a judge upholding terms of union contract a "technicality." https://t.co/HsrD5eiS3f
16mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @KagroX Cmon, didn't you Duck and Cover as a child?
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emptywheel Journos asking POTUS candidates if we should accept Syrian refugees (we should!) should also ask if we should accept Lat Am drug refugees
19mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @PatrickCToomey But of course, how would we know?!?! That's sort of point: recreating ignorance when we all know @NateWessler
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September 2015
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