Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Lawmakers Delay Telco Immunity Vote

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the done-wrong-now-what dept.

Privacy 102

eweekhickins writes "The US Senate Judiciary Committee delayed a scheduled vote on whether telecommunications carriers should be granted immunity for cooperating with the White House's domestic spying program of telephone wiretapping and e-mail surveillance. The panel hopes to vote on the provision as soon as next week. Senator Pat Leahy said that immunity would make it impossible for Americans to seek redress for 'illegal' violations of their privacy." The article points out the confused state of the immunity measure: the House is considering a version of FISA renewal that has no immunity; in the Senate, two committees are working on different versions, one with immunity, one without.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Other side (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21308667)

I would like to take side of telcoms. They worked with government agencies. Government agencies said "Help us spying or you will be against law". And now government says "You were helping us spying, you were against law". So is it fault of telcoms or government?

Re:Other side (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21308687)

It's the fault of people continuing to make excuses for them.

Re:Other side (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21308775)

Yes its AT&T's fault just as much as the government's fault. AT&T has plenty of lawyers for these kinds of situations. One of the people involved could have gone to their legal department and found out if it was illegal to do this. The US Government can lock individuals away and silence them but its not quite as easy to silence one of the world's largest telecoms companies.

It should have been obvious that a spying program on this scale wouldn't stay secret too long.

Re:Other side (1)

packeteer (566398) | more than 6 years ago | (#21308871)

Remember that if they helped wiretap legally they are already immune. If there was a court order and the government required a wiretap the telco's cannot be sued. The problem here is that the government was breaking the law (allegedly lol) and the telco's helped work out the details of how to break the law.

Re:Other side (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21308777)

You forget that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land.

Re:Other side (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21308907)

"Stop throwing the Constitution in my face. It's just a goddamned piece of paper!"
--President George W. Bush [capitolhillblue.com]

Re:Other side (5, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21309015)

People were hanged at Nuremburg despite saying "I was only following orders".

There comes a time where you have to do what's RIGHT, even if you have to go to jail for it.

Re:Other side (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21309445)

And since corporations don't go to jail,
there was really no excuse to not do what's right.

But, the money blinds them.

Re:Other side (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21310047)

Wait.. are you saying that the Nuremberg convicts were right to follow the orders they did?

Re:Other side (1)

Nullav (1053766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21310667)

It looks more like he was saying that the telcos deserve to be hung (figuratively) for 'just following orders'. Though I can only see this really hurting the employees and customers, rather than the people who actually made the decision to allow this mass wiretapping.

Re:Other side (0, Redundant)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21310307)

Enabling the government to listen to people talking to other people outside the country after a terrorist attack killed almost 3000 people inside the country and having some notion to suspect that at least one of the caller might be a terrorist or someone giving aid to them when the government cal listen to the foreign part of the conversation all they want without reproach as long as they aren't US citizens is entirely different from killing people just because they practice a religion.

The just following orders in this situation didn't lead to anyone dieing and is order of magnitude different. Just following orders and following orders under the pain of imprisonment for a non life threatening action could be considered acceptable. And before you start blowing things out of portion, no one is suggesting that wire taps were anything other then listening to the other end of suspected terrorist accept the politically motivated people who see this as a downfall for the administration. No one with the knowledge of what was going on which includes several democrats (even senators) has made any statements to suggest anything else was happening.

Re:Other side (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21313965)

Lol.. Once again the moderators simply amuse me with their superior intellect. Despite that no one else in this thread has mentioned that the Nuremberg trials were nothing like this and no body was injured or killed as the results of the actions taken by the telcos the time stamp seems to indicate that MY post was before the others in responce to this.

Actually I know the point of the moderation was to suppress the point I was making be decreasing the posts score to go below the default settings. So let me reiterate it here. You cannot compare the reactions to genocide with the actions of letting the government tap phones when they were ordered to do it by the government. No where in the Nuremberg trials did the people who ran the trains taking the jews to the death camps get placed on trial. No where did the soldiers who rounded the jews up get placed on trial or prosecuted. No where did the factory workers who made parts for the gas chambers or the ovens that cremated the jews get busted, prosecuted or anything else. Why? because they were following orders not issuing them. They enabled the act, not participated in it. And that is a major difference between Nuremberg and the teclos. The tecos are more like the people who drove the trains or made the gas used to kill the jews. None of them were tried because they were just following orders and did not participate in the acts.

Wrong (5, Informative)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 6 years ago | (#21309071)

Why do people fall for this garbage? If telecoms are granted carte blanche immunity now it prevents a more reasonable immunity deal later which would have a chance of exposing what appears to be significant wrongdoing on the part of the government. The motivation behind telecom immunity isn't really to let telecoms off the hook as much as it is to prevent stuff from coming out in court about what the government did. There are many things we'll never find out about if Dianne Feinstein helps usher this crap through. (I phoned her office at 202-224-3841 to complain. That's 202-224-3841. If enough Californians call 202-224-3841 maybe she'll change her mind since her constituents are overwhelmingly against this. But probably not- Feinstein is really horrible and is probably not running for reelection when her term expires years from now.)

Telecoms don't go to prison like you or I would. At most they incur legal expenses- probably less than a day's operating expenses- it's the cost of doing business. And they could have easily told the government to screw themselves. They were cooperating with these patently illegal requests even before 9/11.

Telecom immunity is obstruction of justice enshrined into law.

Re:Wrong (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21309305)

Telecoms don't go to prison like you or I would. At most they incur legal expenses- probably less than a day's operating expenses- it's the cost of doing business.

If the Class Action Suit goes ahead, I bet a loss will cost them a few orders of magnitude more than a lawsuit with the government would have.

Re:Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21310289)

If the Class Action Suit goes ahead, I bet a loss will cost them a few orders of magnitude more than a lawsuit with the government would have.

That raises an interesting question. Is there anything in the world I could possibly care less about?

I wasn't terribly upset when Comet Holmes briefly lost its ion tail- but since that happened in space, I suppose it doesn't count as "in the world".

Re:Other side (5, Insightful)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21309083)

Bullshit. The law is the law, and that law makes it pretty damn clear that spying on U.S. citizens, without first demonstrating to a judicial authority probable cause for the issue a warrant authorizing such spying, is wrong. Period. This being the case, a business, and/or those responsible for operating that business, is/are responsible for obeying this well-established law, REGARDLESS of who asked them to break it. Their answer SHOULD have been, "No warrant - no wiretap. Sorry."

Re:Other side (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21310407)

There is a line of defense on the president's part that goes to the point that while he is commander in chief, collecting battlefield inteligence is entirely within the role of commander in chief and congress cannot pass any laws restricting the roles that the constitution places on the president unless the constitution specifically allows them to. In the case of commander in chief, collecting battlefield inteligence, congress has no such ability to limit this. So any existing law that would limit this just wouldn't be applicable under those circumstances. It would be like a law against running a red light unless you have sirens and flashing lights of a certain color going off. Then the law on running red lights doesn't apply.

Congress is very worried about this. If it goes to debate or the supreme court and it is found that this is true, congress losses a lot of percieved power that if anything, they can use to rally public opinion. The closer this case goes to trial, the more likely the chances of this being resolved in order to protect certain evidence and to exclude other evidence. Stuff like records of exactly who was tapped and when, who ordered it and what justification they had will all have to be decided. Of course when the telco says we were ordered to break law and told the law doesn't apply because of X, they then have to determine if they got bad advice from the government of it no wrong doing actually transpired.

Congress will give them immunity after dragging it out for a while. They will probably wait until it is closer to an election so the people who have years left until their election can vote yes and the people who are up for reelection can vote no and have it all forgotten by the time the next congressional election comes around. Congress then retains the appearance of total power over the executive branch and they remain happy about it.

If it the courts determine that the president was correct and justified in doing what they were doing, it will be a lot harder to limit the actions of anyone else who is in that office. Congress will have to go back to making and passing laws instead of acting like the jealous little brother who constantly has to tell on the older brother and they will have to accept that the president isn't above the law but only has certain laws effect him depending on the roles the constitution of the United State Of America places on the office of president and the person elected to fill that office.

I for one agree with this line of defense. Congress is too chicken to see if the courts do to. That is why there will be immunity.

Re:Other side (1)

Tancred (3904) | more than 6 years ago | (#21314069)

congress cannot pass any laws restricting the roles that the constitution places on the president unless the constitution specifically allows them to.

It's even simpler than that. Congress does not need to check if the constitution allows them to pass a law restricting warrantless wiretapping. The constitution itself already makes that illegal, in the 4th Amendment. I'll agree with you about Congress being chicken though. The President has publicly admitted to breaking the law, but the Congress will not act.

Re:Other side (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21314641)

It isn't really that cut and dry. The fourth amendment says without reasonable (probable) cause. Would someone conspiring with the enemy in order to inflict casualties to your citizens be reasonable or probable cause?

Remember, these taps were with international calls where on one end was either an American citizen inside or outside the country and on the other end a suspected terrorist outside the country. Congress had said that you only need the warrant when one of the parties is an American citizen or inside the US.

Re:Other side (1)

Tancred (3904) | more than 6 years ago | (#21315177)

I'm not a constitutional lawyer, but the probable cause phrase is clearly one of the requirements for issuing a warrant. If I was a judge and was shown probable cause of someone conspiring to inflict casualties, I would certainly issue a warrant.

Did you mistype that last paragraph? The taps were on American citizens, and you need a warrant when one of the parties is an American citizen?

Legality aside, have you heard a rational argument against following the FISA statute? Isn't wiretapping important enough to have some oversight? Remember that the warrants can be issued after the fact. To not even go to the FISA court afterward makes the tappers unaccountable. And in my book, "too much paperwork" doesn't cut it as an excuse.

Re:Other side (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21317867)

I'm not a constitutional lawyer, but the probable cause phrase is clearly one of the requirements for issuing a warrant. If I was a judge and was shown probable cause of someone conspiring to inflict casualties, I would certainly issue a warrant.
Law enforcement execute searches without getting an actual warrant every day. This is done because they have probable cause and can do so under the constitution when it (the cop thinks it) becomes necessary. To say no law enforcement agency cannot execute a search without a judge signing off first would likely over throw half of the convictions in some areas and a little less in others. Now if it is the case where they have to get warrants first, there are a lot of people who have been locked up because of unconstitutional methods. You can see this just by watching the television show cops where they pull someone over for tinted windows and find a kilo of coke in the trunk without ever getting a warrant. Or maybe even when they drive down the road, see someone they don't like, pull up to them to harass them and do a search to find bags of crack on them. And yes, a wire tap is considered a search, otherwise it the constitution wouldn't address it at all.

Did you mistype that last paragraph? The taps were on American citizens, and you need a warrant when one of the parties is an American citizen?
The taps were one American citizens on an international phone call where one party is/was a terrorist or suspected terrorist. This is in no way the government listening to you call your aunt Jane in the same state to figure out how to make cookies or pie. Current law of the time said they could listen to the terrorist/suspected terrorist side of the call with impunity if it was outside the US. It was only when they wanted to hear the citizen side that there was a problem.

FISA currently still only restricts the wire tapping when an American citizen is part of the conversation. It allows the US to tap Russian calls to the UK or within Russia or whatever as long as it isn't inside the US and an american citizen isn't likely to be on the line all it wants.

The government doesn't have the resources or the manpower to listen to every call made. They don't even have it to listen to the suspicious calls. These were limited to people talking to people with ties to terrorism. But that doesn't mean they didn't monitor other calls. Echelon, which the courts have already ruled is legal, scans every call made and listens for key words. When they are found, the call is recording, it is isn't already a recording because of a backlog on processing power, and then it is passed on to someone for review. This person makes a determination and decides if it should be flagged for follow up or if it should be discarded. When people start talking in code, they just add coded keywords to match what is being used. This has been going on since 1996 or so. It increases in it's effectiveness as technology gets better.

Now, for the warrant. FISA says you need a warrant when one of the parties of the conversation is either on American soil or is an American citizen. But you only need that warrant to hear their side of the call. But there is this defense the president has. congress in effect passed a declaration of war without actually saying we are at war. The courts have already considered it a declaration of war. A constitutional obligation of the president is to be commander in chief and a duty of commander in chief is to collect battlefield inteligence. The question that needs to be answered is, can congress limit the powers of the president when taking on a role that the constitution demands him to take without the consitution giving congress the power to do so. Congress certainly couldn't pass a law saying that the president must sign everything they give him into law. They couldn't pass a law saying the president can't negotiate treaties. They cannot pass a law saying that the president has to hire an all white staff. These are all duties assigned to the president by the constitution and congress cannot limit him from executing them. Now if the probably cause did satisfy the consitution then the FISA law would make it illegal. But if congress doesn't have the ability to limit the president in the capacity of commander in chief then the FISA law cannot be used to imped his actions when in that capacity. It just wouldn't restrict him. I would when he isn't acting in that capacity, say wanting to spy on Russia. But not when he is attempting to gather inteligence

Legality aside, have you heard a rational argument against following the FISA statute? Isn't wiretapping important enough to have some oversight? Remember that the warrants can be issued after the fact. To not even go to the FISA court afterward makes the tappers unaccountable. And in my book, "too much paperwork" doesn't cut it as an excuse.
They reported to congress about this from the start. It isn't like there was no oversight at all. Of course it wasn't the entire congress, it was only the senate inteligence comity members who have a clearance level high enough. This included several democrats but thy won't name which ones because of the clearance levels. It isn't like there was no oversight at all. The addition of the courts would only make it known to more people with more chances of it getting out. Some people have argued that terrorist won't call terrorist to discuss plans because terrorist are smart enough to know that someone might be listening. But what they might do is give codes off that would say start stage one of the plan or something similar. This allows the government to move in at the last minute and get everyone in the plan without causing the terrorist to abandon other contacts leaving us without anyway to monitor their activities. Once it became public that this was happening, the amount of chatter on the lines dropped enormously and the white house finally admitted to the situation because "it became ineffective after the program was leaked". Those are their words, not mine.

Anyways, there are questions about it, it isn't a cut and dry someone broke a law and congress is too chicken to find out because if the president was justified, they will loose a lot of percieved power. The amount of oversight involved doesn't really bother me because I think it falls within the probable cause parts of the constitution. There is definately less probable cause being used by law enforcement every day to execute warrants and the courts have said they are justified in doing so.

Re:Other side (1)

rpillala (583965) | more than 6 years ago | (#21315727)

The police emergency analogy is interesting in that I've never heard it before. Can you link or point me to more extended presentations of this?

My main complaint with this approach is that I don't view the world as a battlefield because that renders the term meaningless. It also renders terms like "civilian" meaningless. Or not maybe I have it wrong that's why I'd like to read more.

Re:Other side (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21316683)

as a former Telco worker, and not one of the co-conspirators, our answer when local cops wanted to evesdrop on neghibors, was the more polite form of that;

"Sir, as soon as the warrent is on my desk, it will be the first thing I take care of. You have my word."

Re:Other side (2, Insightful)

rpillala (583965) | more than 6 years ago | (#21309361)

The telecoms are in an awkward position (of their own making) for sure. The same people who said "help us or the terrorists win" aren't the ones who would see them prosecuted. The problem with your argument is that the government we have now is factionalized. While both factions operate under the same title of "US Government" they don't exercise their power in the same way. The executive branch seems to be taking the position of Nixon who famously said "If the President does it, it isn't illegal." They won't come out and say they're above the law, they'll change the law so that what they did can't be punished. If Congress weren't steadily selling out the people, the strategy wouldn't work. People complain about Dianne Feinstein and Charles Schumer, but really anyone from any party who supports this crap should be voted out. Republicans should be expected to do the right thing too.

And I think the answer to your question is "both."

Not "the government" - the Executive (1)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 6 years ago | (#21310353)

So is it fault of telcoms or government?

The Executive branch told the telecoms. The telecoms, who have been working with government agencies for years, very clearly knew this was illegal. They went along with it anyway. Congress was not involved in the warrantless surveillance program.

The rule of law means that the laws apply to everyone. It means that if your government asks you to do something illegal, you have a legal obligation not to obey the government. AT&T, et. al. are used to being sued by and suing the government. It's not like they're afraid of going to court. They made money circumventing the Constitution.

They should not be given amnesty, so the courts can determine the extent of their liability.

Forgot a implicit statement (1)

Johnny Mnemonic (176043) | more than 6 years ago | (#21311973)


They should not be given amnesty, so the courts can determine the extent of their liability.

I think you forgot to add: and when they are found to liable to the tune of several billions of dollars, they'll be damn sure to be acting within the law in the future, and not just acting on the whim of any single legislator.

And that'll go for any other organization too, that decides that a permission slip signed by the President himself is good enough. It's not. In fact, that's why we got rid of the King in the first place, and replaced him with a three part government, each of which can check the other.

Odd, isn't it ... ? (3, Insightful)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 6 years ago | (#21314397)

... that so many people need to be reminded of this:

In fact, that's why we got rid of the King in the first place, and replaced him with a three part government, each of which can check the other.

And odder still that so many people seem to crave a unitary executive, a king by another name. It seems too many Americans take their blessings for granted, and are willing to simply throw them away because it's too much effort to deal with the messiness of governing. Easier to have one guy in charge. That way the voter bears no responsibility, and everyone has a scapegoat when things go wrong. No need to look in the mirror. No need to read up on the issues, or send letters, or protest. Everyone can be smart and smug and self-righteous, while the unitary executive fucks us into the ground.

Re:Other side (1)

iamwahoo2 (594922) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313559)

Qwest had no problem making the right choice.

Get 'em up against the wall! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21317853)

Government agencies said "Help us spying or you will be against law". And now government says "You were helping us spying, you were against law". So is it fault of telcoms or government?

Any true patriot would have stood up to the government and said "Go fuck yourselves!" Liberty isn't granted. If you take it for granted, you won't have it very long. You have to stand up for yourself, be ever vigilant, and assert your liberties or they will be taken away from you. In the words of George W. Bush, "You're either with us, or your against us." The telecoms are clearly against us. That makes them terrorists. Plain and simple. Lock their asses up in Guantanamo.

They are all terrorists! (1, Troll)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 6 years ago | (#21308671)

Barack Obama, Chris Dodd and Joe Biden are all communists^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^hterrorists! They are supporting
communists^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^hterrorists by not allowing the US government to search all of our records when they please so that they can find the communists^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^hterrorists. That is so un-American. We must find and lock up all the communists^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^hterrorists.

George Orwell was not wrong, just early.

Re:They are all terrorists! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21308723)

I'll bet you look a lot like Comic Book Guy.

Re:They are all terrorists! (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21309617)

George Orwell was not wrong, just early.

Not really. This has been going on for a long time. We're only now starting to feel the effects.

Re:They are all terrorists! (1)

homer_ca (144738) | more than 6 years ago | (#21311291)

The feds have always spied secretly on phone calls, but the incident where Alberto Gonzales and Andrew Card went to John Ashcroft's hospital bed [washingtonpost.com] to get him to sign off on the spying program points to something much worse. You can either believe a) John Ashcroft is a principled civil libertarian and doesn't believe in spying on Americans or b) the spying program under Bush was so egregiously illegal that it far exceeded any secret spying that we may have conducted previously.

Judiciary Committees (4, Informative)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 6 years ago | (#21308675)

For reference: Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee [senate.gov] , House Judiciary Committee [house.gov]

Re:Judiciary Committees (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21308703)

When I think of dirty old men, I think of Ike Thomas and when I think about Ike I get a hard-on that won't quit.

Sixty years ago, I worked in what was once my grandfather's greenhouses. Gramps had died a year earlier and Grandma, now in her seventies had been forced to sell to the competition. I got a job with the new owners and mostly worked the range by myself. That summer, they hired a man to help me get the benches ready for the fall planting.

Ike always looked like he was three days from a shave and his whiskers were dirty white, shaded by the brim of his battered felt fedora.

He did not chew tobacco but the corners of his mouth turned down in a way that, at any moment, I expected a trickle of thin, brown juice to creep down his chin. His bushy, brown eyebrows shaded pale, gray eyes.

The old-timer extended his hand, lifted his leg like a dog about to mark a bush and let go the loudest fart I ever heard. The old fellow then winked at me, "Ike Thomas is the name and playing pecker's my game."

I thought he said, "Checkers." I was nineteen, green as grass. I said, "I was never much good at that game."

"Now me," said Ike, "I just love jumping men ..."

"I'll bet you do."

"... and grabbing on to their peckers," said Ike.

"I thought we were talking about ..."

"You like jumping old men's peckers?"

I shook my head.

"I reckon we'll have to remedy that." Ike lifted his right leg and let go another tremendous fart. "He said, "We best be getting to work."

That summer of 1941 was a more innocent time. I learned most of the sex I knew from those little eight pager cartoon booklets of comic-page characters going at it. Young men read them in the privacy of an outside john, played with themselves, by themselves and didn't brag about it. Sometimes, we got off with a trusted friend and helped each other out.

Under the greenhouse glass, the temperature some times climbed over the hundred degree mark. I had worked stripped to the waist since April and was as brown as a berry. On only his second day on the job and in the middle of August, Ike wore old fashioned overalls. Those and socks in his high-top work shoes was every stitch he wore. When he bent forward, the bib front billowed out and I could see the white curly hairs on his chest and belly.

"Me? I just love to eat pussy!" Ike licked his lips from corner to corner then sticking his tongue out far enough that the tip could touch the end of his nose. He said, A man's not a man till he knows first hand, the flavor of a lady's pussy."

"People do that?"

He winked. "Of course the taste of a hard cock ain't to be sneezed at neither. Now you answer me, yes or no. Does a man's cock taste salty or not?"

"I never ..."

"Well, old Ike's willing to let you find out."

"No way."

"Just teasing," said Ike. "But don't give me no sass or I'll show you my ass." He winked. "Might show it to you anyway, if you was to ask."

"Why would I do that?"

"Curiosity, maybe. I'm guessing you never had a good piece of man ass."

"I'm no queer."

"Now don't be getting judgmental. Enjoying what's at hand ain't being queer. It's taking pleasure where you find it with anybody willing." Ike slipped a hand into the side slit of his overalls and I could tell he was fondling and straightening out his cock. "Now I admit I got me a hole that satisfied a few guys."

I swallowed, hard.

Ike winked. "Care to be asshole buddies?"

---

We worked steadily until noon. Ike drew a worn pocket watch from the bib pocket of his loose overalls and croaked, "Bean time. But first its time to reel out our limber hoses and make with the golden arches before lunch."

I followed Ike to the end of the greenhouse where he stopped at the outside wall of the potting shed. He opened his fly, fished inside, and finger-hooked a soft white penis with a pouting foreskin puckered half an inch past the hidden head.

"Yes sir," breathed Ike, "this old peter needs some draining." He exhaled a sigh as a strong, yellow stream splattered against the boards and ran down to soak into the earthen floor.

He caught me looking down at him. He winked. "Like what you're viewing, Boy?"

I looked away.

"You taking a serious interest in old Ike's pecker?"

I shook my head.

"Well you just haul out yourn and let old Ike return the compliment."

Feeling trapped and really having to go, I fumbled at my fly, turned away slightly, withdrew my penis and strained to start.

"Take your time boy. Let it all hang out. Old Ike's the first to admit that he likes looking at another man's pecker." He flicked away the last drop of urine and shook his limp penis vigorously.

I tried not to look interested.

"Yes sir, this old peepee feels so good out, I just might leave it out." He turned to give me a better view.

"What if somebody walks in?"

Ike shrugged. He looked at my strong yellow stream beating against the boards and moved a step closer. "You got a nice one,boy."

I glanced over at him. His cock was definitely larger and beginning to stick straight out. I nodded toward his crotch. "Don't you think you should put that away?"

"I got me strictly a parlor prick," said Ike. "Barely measures six inches." He grinned. "Of course it's big enough around to make a mouthful." He ran a thumb and forefinger along its length and drawing his foreskin back enough to expose the tip of the pink head. "Yersiree." He grinned, revealing nicotine stained teeth. "It sure feels good, letting the old boy breathe."

I knew I should button up and move away. I watched his fingers moving up and down the thickening column.

"You like checking out this old man's cock?"

I nodded. In spite of myself, my cock began to swell.

"Maybe we should have ourselves a little pecker pulling party." Ike slid his fingers back and forth on his expanding shaft and winked. "I may be old but I'm not against doing some little pud pulling with a friend."

I shook my head.

"Maybe I'll give my balls some air. Would you like a viewing of old Ike's hairy balls?"

I swallowed hard and moistened my dry lips.

He opened another button on his fly and pulled out his scrotum. "Good God, It feels good to set 'em free. Now let's see yours."

"Why?"

"Just to show you're neighborly," said Ike.

"I don't think so." I buttoned up and moved into the potting shed.

Ike followed, his cock and balls protruding from the front of his overalls. "Overlook my informality." Ike grinned. "As you can see I ain't bashful."

I nodded and took my sandwich from the brown paper bag.

"Yessir," said Ike. "I just might have to have myself an old fashioned peter pulling all by my lonesome. He unhooked a shoulder strap and let his overalls drop around his ankles.

I took a bite of my sandwich but my eyes remained on Ike.

"Yessiree," said Ike, "I got a good one if I do say so myself. Gets nearly as hard as when I was eighteen. You know why?"

I shook my head.

"Cause I keep exercising him. When I was younger I was pulling on it three time a day. Still like to do him every day I can."

"Some say you'll go blind if you do that too much."

"Bull-loney!" Don't you believe that shit. I been pulling my pud for close to fifty years and I didn't start till I was fifteen."

I laughed.

"You laughing at my little peter, boy?"

"Your hat." I pointed to the soiled, brown fedora cocked on his head. That and his overalls draped about his ankles were his only items of apparel. In between was a chest full of gray curly hair, two hairy legs. Smack between them stood an erect, pale white cock with a tip of foreskin still hiding the head.

"I am one hairy S.O.B.," said Ike.

"I laughed at you wearing nothing but a hat."

"Covers up my bald spot," said Ike. "I got more hair on my ass than I got on my head. Want to see?"

"Your head?"

"No, Boy, my hairy ass and around my tight, brown asshole." He turned, reached back with both hands and parted his ass cheeks to reveal the small, puckered opening. "There it is, Boy, the entrance lots of good feelings. Tell me, Boy, how would you like to put it up old Ike's ass?"

"I don't think so."

"That'd be the best damned piece you ever got."

"We shouldn't be talking like this."

"C'mon now, confess, don't this make your cock perk up a little bit?"

"I reckon," I confessed.

"You ever seen an old man's hard cock before," asked Ike.

"My grandpa's when I was twelve or thirteen."

"How'd that come about?"

He was out in the barn and didn't know I was around. He dropped his pants. It was real big he did things to it. He saw me and he turned around real fast but I saw it."

"What did your grandpa do?"

"He said I shouldn't be watching him doing that. He said something like grandma wouldn't give him some,' that morning and that I should get out of there and leave a poor man in peace to do what he had to do."

"Did you want to join him."

"I might have if he'd asked. He didn't."

"I like showing off my cock," said Ike. "A hard-on is something I always been proud of. A hard-on proves a man's a man. Makes me feel like a man that can do things." He looked up at me and winked. "You getting a hard-on from all this talk, son?"

I nodded and looked away.

"Then maybe you should pull it out and show old Ike what you got."

"We shouldn't."

"Hey. A man's not a man till he jacked off with a buddy."

I wanted to but I was as nervous as hell.

Ike grinned and fingered his pecker. "C'mon, Boy, between friends, a little cock showing is perfectly fine. Lets see what you got in the cock and balls department."

In spite of my reluctance, I felt the stirring in my crotch. I had curiosity that needed satisfying. It had been a long, long time since I had walked in on my grandfather.

"C'mon let's see it all."

I shook my head.

"You can join the party anytime, said Ike. "Just drop your pants and pump away."

I had the urge. There was a tingling in my crotch. My cock was definitely willing and I had a terrible need to adjust myself down there. But my timidity and the strangeness of it all held me back.

Hope you don't mind if I play out this hand." Ike grinned. "It feels like I got a winner."

I stared at his gnarled hand sliding up and down that pale, white column and I could not look away. I wet my lips and shook my head.

Old Ike's about to spout a geyser." Ike breathed harder as he winked. "Now if I just had a long finger up my ass. You interested, boy?"

I shook my head.

The first, translucent, white glob crested the top of his cock and and arced to the dirt floor. Ike held his cock at the base with thumb and forefinger and tightened noticeably with each throb of ejaculation until he was finished.

I could not believe any man could do what he had done in front of another human being.

Ike sighed with pleasure and licked his fingers. "A man ain't a man till he's tasted his own juices."

He squatted, turned on the faucet and picked up the connected hose. He directed the water between his legs and on to his still dripping prick and milked the few remaining drops of white, sticky stuff into the puddle forming at his feet. "Cool water sure feels good on a cock that just shot its wad," said Ike.

---

"Cock-tale telling time," said Old Ike. It was the next day and he rubbed the front of his dirty,worn overalls where his bulge made the fly expand as his fingers smoothed the denim around the outline of his expanding cock.

I wasn't sure what he had in mind but I knew it wasn't something my straight-laced Grandma would approve of.

"Don't you like taking your cock out and jacking it?" Ike licked his lips.

I shook my head in denial.

"Sure you do. A young man in his prime has got to be pulling his pud."

I stared at his calloused hand moving over the growing bulge at his crotch.

"Like I said," continued Ike, "I got me barely six inches when he's standing up." He winked at me. "How much you got, son?"

"Almost seven inches ..." I stuttered. "Last time I measured."

"And I'm betting it feels real good with your fist wrapped around it."

"I don't do ..."

"Everybody does it." He scratched his balls and said, "I'll show you mine if you show me yours." Then, looking me in the eye, he lifted his leg like a dog at a tree and let out a long, noisy fart.

Denying that I jacked off, I said, "I saw yours yesterday."

"A man has got to take out his pecker every once in a while." He winked and his fingers played with a button on his fly. Care to join me today?"

"I don't think so."

"What's the matter, boy? You ashamed of what's hanging 'tween your skinny legs?"

"It's not for showing off."

"That would be so with a crowd of strangers but with a friend, in a friendly showdown, where's the harm?"

"It shouldn't be shown to other people. My Grandma said that a long time ago when I went to the bathroom against a tree when I was seven."

"There's nothing like a joint pulling among friends to seal a friendship," said Ike.

I don't think so." I felt very much, ill at ease.

"Then what the fuck is it for," demanded the old man. "A good man shares his cock with his friends. How old are you boy?"

"Fifteen almost sixteen."

You ever fucked a woman?"

"No."

"Ever fucked a man?"

"Of course not."

"Son, you ain't never lived till you've fired your load up a man's tight ass."

"I didn't know men did that to each other."

"Men shove it up men's asses men all the time. They just don't talk about it like they do pussy."

"You've done that?"

"I admit this old pecker's been up a few manholes. More than a few hard cocks have shagged this old ass over the years." He shook his head, wistfully, "I still have a hankering for a hard one up the old dirt chute."

"I think that would hurt."

"First time, it usually does," agreed Ike. He took a bite from his sandwich.

I looked at my watch. Ten minutes of our lunch hour had already passed.

"We got time for a quickie," said Ike. "There's no one around to say, stop, if were enjoying ourselves."

He unhooked the slide off the button of one shoulder-strap, pushed the bib of his overalls down to let them fall to his feet.

"Showtime," said Ike. Between his legs, white and hairy, his semi-hard cock emerged from a tangled mass of brown and gray pubic hair. The foreskin, still puckered beyond the head of the cock, extended downward forty-five degrees from the horizontal but was definitely on the rise.

I could only stare at the man. Until the day before, I had never seen an older man with an erection besides my grandpa.

Ike moved his fingers along the stalk of his manhood until the head partially emerged, purplish and broad. He removed his hand for a moment and it bobbled obscenely in the subdued light of the potting shed. Ike leaned back against a bin of clay pots like a model on display. "Like I said, boy, it gets the job done."

I found it difficult not to watch. "You shouldn't ..."

"C'mon, boy. Show Ike your pecker. I'm betting it's nice and hard."

I grasped my belt and tugged on the open end. I slipped the waistband button and two more before pushing down my blue jeans and shorts down in one move. My cock bounced and slapped my belly as I straightened."

"That's a beaut." Ike stroked his pale, white cock with the purplish-pink head shining. "I'm betting it'll grow some more if you stroke it."

"We really shouldn't ..."

"Now don't tell me you never stroked your hard peter with a buddy."

"I've done that," I finally admitted,. "But he was the same age as me and it was a long time ago." I though back to the last time Chuck and me jerked each other off in the loft of our old barn. Chuck wanted more as a going away present and we had sucked each other's dicks a little bit.

"Jackin's always better when you do it with somebody," said Ike. "Then you can lend each other a helping hand."

"I don't know about that," I said.

Ike's hand continued moving on his old cock as he leaned over to inspect mine. "God Damn! Boy. That cock looks good enough to eat." Ike licked his lips. "You ever had that baby sucked?"

I shook my head as I watched the old man stroke his hard, pale cock.

"Well boy, I'd say you're packing a real mouthful for some lucky gal or guy." He grinned. "Well c'mon. Let's see you get down to some serious jacking. Old Ike's way ahead of you."

I wrapped my fist around my stiff cock and moved the foreskin up and over the head on the up stroke. On the down stroke the expanded corona of the angry, purple head stared obscenely at the naked old man.

Ike toyed with his modest six inches. "What do you think of this old man's cock?" His fist rode down to his balls and a cockhead smaller than the barrel stared back at mine.

"I guess I'm thinking this is like doing it with my grandpa."

"You ever wish you could a done this with your grandpa?"

"I thought about it a lot."

"Ever see him with a hard-on."

"I told you about that!"

"Ever think about him doing your grandma?"

"I can't imagine her ever doing anything with a man."

"Take my word for it, sonny, we know she did it or you wouldn't be here." Begrudgingly I nodded in agreement.

"Everybody fucks," said old Ike. "They fuck or they jack off."

"If you say so."

"Say sonny, your cocks getting real juicy with slickum. Want old Ike tolick some of it away?"

"You wouldn't."

Ike licked his lips as he kept his hand pistoning up and down his hard cock. "You might be surprised what old Ike might do if he was in the mood for a taste of what comes out of a hard cock."

And that is what he proceeded to do. He sucked me dry.

Then he erupted in half-a-dozen spurts shooting out and onto the dirt floor of the potting shed. He gave his cock a flip and shucked t back into his overalls. He unwrapped a sandwich from its wax paper and proceed to eat without washing his hands. He took a bite and chewed. "Nothing like it boy, a good jacking clears the cobwebs from your crotch and gives a man an appetite."

---

The following day, We skipped the preliminaries. We dropped our pants. Ike got down on his knees and sucked me until I was hard and good and wet before he stood and turned.

"C'mon boy, Shove that pretty cock up old Ike's tight, brown hole and massage old Ike's prostate.

Ike bent forward and gripped the edge of the potting bench. The lean, white cheeked buttocks parted slightly and exposed the dark brown, crinkly, puckered star of his asshole. "Now you go slow and ease it along until you've got it all the way in," he cautioned. "This old ass craves your young cock but it don't want too much too soon. You've got to let this old hole stretch to accommodate you."

"Are you sure you want to do this?"

"Easy boy, easy," he cautioned. "You feel a lot bigger than you look. Put a little more spit in your cock."

"It's awfully tight. I don't know if it's going to go or not."

"It'll go," said Ike. "There's been bigger boys than you up the old shit chute."

I slipped in the the last few inches.. "It's all in."

"I can tell," said Ike. "Your cock hairs are tickling my ass."

"Are you ready," I asked.

"How are you liking old Ike's hairy asshole so far?"

"It's real tight."

"Tighter than your fist?"

"Might be."

"Ready to throw a fuck into a man that reminds you of your grandpa."

"I reckon."

"I want you should do old Ike one more favor."

"What?"

While you're pumpin' my ass, would you reach around and play with my dick like you would your own? Would you do that for an old man?"

I reached around and took hold of his hard cock sticking out straight in front of him. I pilled the skin back and then pulled it up and over the expanded glans. I felt my own cock expand inside him as I manipulated his staff in my fingers. I imagined that my cock extended through him and I was playing with what came out the other side of him.

"C'mon, boy, ram that big cock up the old shitter and make me know it. God Damn! tickle that old prostate and make old Ike come!"

I came. And I came. Ike's tightened up on my cock and I throbbed Roman Candle bursts into that brown hole as I pressed into him. His hairy, scrawny ass flattened against my crotch and we were joined as tightly as two humans can be.

"A man's not a man till he's come in another man." said old Ike. "You made it, boy. But still, a man's not a man till he's had a hard cock poked up his ass at least once."

Every time I think of that scene, I get another hard-on. Then I remember the next day when old Ike returned the favor.

I never have managed to come that hard again. If only Ike were here.

Heres what will happen... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21308681)

Dick "Head" Cheney will be blamed for it all... the spying, the illegal war, illegal election activities, lying to the UN.. and he'll get some symbolic sentence.

Then on his last day in office, Bush will pardon him because he was doing his patriotic duty.

History (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21308683)

Am I truly witnessing the inflection point of the decline of the USA?

I'm sad, but also feel privileged to be a witness.

Re:History (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 6 years ago | (#21308853)

I'd prefer the position of an outside observer, personally.

Re:History (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21309629)

Am I truly witnessing the inflection point of the decline of the USA?

Nope. That happened in 1945, it's pretty much been downhill ever since.

Mum?!? (4, Insightful)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 6 years ago | (#21308709)

FTFA: Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama, Chris Dodd and Joe Biden all oppose granting immunity to the carriers.

Good for them!

Other Democratic candidates, including Hillary Clinton, have not stated a position on immunity for telecom carriers. Republican presidential hopefuls have also been mum on the issue.

You chicken shit sons (and daughter) - of - bitches!

Re:Mum?!? (0, Troll)

Clay Pigeon -TPF-VS- (624050) | more than 6 years ago | (#21308729)

Ron Paul hasn't issued a statement?

Re:Mum?!? (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#21308735)

He's not a senator.

Re:Mum?!? (1)

DJCacophony (832334) | more than 6 years ago | (#21311799)

No, but he's a state representative

Re:Mum?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21308791)

He'd probably state that criminal prosecution constitutes government interference, would support immunity so the "free market" could sort everything out. At least that's what I'd expect from my experience with the "Libertarian" party.

Re:Mum?!? (1)

Joe Jay Bee (1151309) | more than 6 years ago | (#21312423)

Not a supporter of Paul, but that's a little off base. He'd probably consider granting the telcos immunity to be unwanted government interference.

Re:Mum?!? (1)

mstahl (701501) | more than 6 years ago | (#21309919)

You chicken shit sons (and daughter) - of - bitches!

I'm glad someone else had the balls to say that. This isn't the usual sort of grey area political issue that you can see one way or another pretty easily: it's black and white. On one side of that border is a runaway executive branch that has completely forgotten all their responsibilities to the citizens of the United States, the Constitution, and the whole world. On the other side is a population of people who are scared shitless and doesn't even know why anymore.

When the telcos acquiesced to the government's illegal demands, they should have known that it was illegal, and even the government has to play by the rules until they make new ones. They deserve no immunity and neither do the people who ordered this.

Re:Mum?!? (1)

iamwahoo2 (594922) | more than 6 years ago | (#21313603)

I always just assume that silence means that they will eventually take a position that is opposite of what is popular with the public. They just want to do it quietly.

Wikimedia Commons Link.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21308727)

Please see here. [wikimedia.org]

MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21309559)

Whoever modded this troll is an idiot, it's clearly relevant.

Rule of Law. (5, Insightful)

headkase (533448) | more than 6 years ago | (#21308739)

If the telecoms are granted immunity by the government then the USA will no longer be under the rule of law. If it comes to pass, some people or organizations will be above the law and in my opinion that is not what the US should be about. What's next Bush, dictator for life?!?

Re:Rule of Law. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21308789)

In spite of all the harping, what they did was legal. It's blatantly spelled out in some classified legislation. Yes, your heroic democrats have it both ways; it was legal; the democrats voted for it. However, the legislation is classified, so they can't get hit for it. Hint, it's old legislation.

To the point, the telecom immunity makes them immune to these frivolous suits, not immune to any real (as opposed to imagined) violations of law.

Re:Rule of Law. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21308837)

Lying son of a bitch. Bastard. Which ever title you prefer. How the fuck do you know a damn thing about any of it? Going to make an internet claim that you work/worked for some secret agency now? You don't know a damn thing. SO shut the fuck up, bitch.

Re:Rule of Law. (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21308993)

You don't know a damn thing. SO shut the fuck up, bitch.

Now now, don't get all worked up. It's the nature of sheep to bray. Would you blame the rain for being wet, or the snow for being cold? There will always be mindless followers no matter what the issue. Just try not to be one of them.

Re:Rule of Law. (3, Insightful)

Sique (173459) | more than 6 years ago | (#21309059)

If it was legal, then we won't need a law to immunize the telcos against it, right? So what's the fuss about?

Re:Rule of Law. (1)

Johnny Mnemonic (176043) | more than 6 years ago | (#21311961)


So what's the fuss about?

Seriously? It's about retroactive immunity. Since the telcos did it when it was illegal, and have since been caught at it, the question is should they be immunized for the past crimes they committed. In fact, they are being sued by the EFF over these (past) actions, and the court has basically suspended the case until it's determined if the Congress will give the telcos retroactive immunity--which would make the suit moot.

Re:Rule of Law. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21309313)

I'm gonna second the guy who called you a lying son of a bitch. Even if it is secret and classified there should exist references to it, even if just among conspiracy buffs.

In other words, cite your source or shut your hole.

Re:Rule of Law. (1)

BSAtHome (455370) | more than 6 years ago | (#21308805)

He will declare a national emergency and stay on the presidential post for some more years. He has got good examples in the rest of the world...

Re:Rule of Law. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21308979)

Hey, some of them are in their seat becaues of US money, the least they can do in return is open the specs and the howtos.

Doesn't matter (4, Insightful)

foreverdisillusioned (763799) | more than 6 years ago | (#21309045)

Even if they aren't granted immunity, I can guarantee you that no one is going to be arrested. No one in a corporation is ever arrested, no matter how many white collar crimes they commit, unless those crimes directly affect the pocketbook of other white collar citizens (e.g. Enron). I realized this the day it came to light that Sony was installing rootkits on people's machines without their permission, and yet no one was even talking about arrests... and yet, if a fourteen year old was installing rootkits on thousands or millions of machines without their owners' permission, he would be arrested in a heartbeat and we'd be subjected to a month of scary and retarded Dateline specials on those evil hackers.

Similarly, if a fourteen year old phreaker records people's calls without their consent, he is arrested immediately. If a corporation does it, it at best merits a class-action lawsuit (which is the most we're going to see here... IF immunity isn't granted.) The fact that the corporations in this case were doing the bidding of the state certainly doesn't hurt them, but it's foolish to suppose to begin with that corporations are ever held to the same standard of justice as non-affiliated individuals.

Re:Doesn't matter (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21309443)

...No one in a corporation is ever arrested... Give me a break! Corporate executives are arrested, tried, convicted and sent to prison are a regular basis. Its government officials who skate. The UN oil for food scam by itself raked in orders of magnitude more cash for high UN and government officials around the world than Enron, Worldcomm and Global Crossing combined. Of course the head of the DNC made himself rich via Global Crossing so I'm not sure how to count that one, but, in any event no body in government went to jail or was even reprimanded :)

Re:Doesn't matter (3, Insightful)

foreverdisillusioned (763799) | more than 6 years ago | (#21310105)

Corporate executives are arrested, tried, convicted and sent to prison are a regular basis.

Yes. Because they commit crimes against other executives, or the government, or their shareholders. As long as they DON'T cost these people money, they can get away with pretty much any non-violent, non-obviously-fraudulent crime against the public at large. They're occasionally caught and sued, or caught and fined, but almost never actually imprisoned.

Re:Doesn't matter (1)

BadHaggis (1179673) | more than 6 years ago | (#21310441)

Even if they aren't granted immunity, I can guarantee you that no one is going to be arrested. No one in a corporation is ever arrested, no matter how many white collar crimes they commit, unless those crimes directly affect the pocketbook of other white collar citizens (e.g. Enron).

The immunity is not about sending people to jail it is about nulling out the civil lawsuits currently going on. If the Telcoms get immunity then the people that they have helped spy on have no recourse for civil lawsuits or compensation for having their 4th amendment rights trampled on.

Re:Doesn't matter (1)

foreverdisillusioned (763799) | more than 6 years ago | (#21310735)

That's precisely my point. Again, putting aside the fact that they were apparently (illegally) acting on behalf of the government, why ISN'T jail time being considered? If I recorded your phone conversation, I would be imprisoned. AT&T does it, and not only is prison out of the question but they're debating whether or not they're even going to let you sue them.

Re:Rule of Law. (1)

Alt_Cognito (462081) | more than 6 years ago | (#21309143)

Aye carumba, look, there is a 4th amendment, the judicial branch can check the legislative branch if they find the law unconstitutional. The judges put in place by Bush over the last 8 years will be replaced (as is the custom) come new leadership.

Re:Rule of Law. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21309981)

You mean Like Chavez?....wait...the left loves Chavez. Now that I mention it, the left has been very quiet about him recently. Perhaps they misjudged him? Or maybe they were just too anxious to join with anyone who hates Bush. Or maybe it's just a tacit approval of his path to dictatorship.

Obvious reason (1, Interesting)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 6 years ago | (#21308747)

The bribes haven't arrived yet.

Re:Obvious reason (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 6 years ago | (#21308859)

Damn you! I was going to say they're waiting for the checks to clear the bank. :-)

Re:Obvious reason (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21308865)

Re:Obvious reason (1)

mOdQuArK! (87332) | more than 6 years ago | (#21310091)

No, bribes is the right word.

Don't Get It (4, Insightful)

Wellington Grey (942717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21308959)

Why would anyone vote for immunity for the telcos when we don't even know what they did wrong? Who in their right mind would excuse someone without knowing the crime?

-Grey [luminiferous-aether.net]

Obvious Answer... (1)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 6 years ago | (#21309603)

The obvious answer is everybody in Washington *does* know what they Telco's did, but some think the scandal may cause a lot of damage to a lot of politicians.

Nothing else makes sense.

To save us the trouble of finding out (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 6 years ago | (#21311009)

This would be an ugly, ugly case in court. The government will insist at every turn that it would compromise national security to either dismiss the case or deny access to information and people.

So there would be investigations for years, which ultimately would accomplish nothing, all with the goal of possibly punishing a company who will claim that they thought they were doing the patriotic thing.

From a political point of view, Republicans think that they were just defending national security (and therefore deserve to be let off the hook) and some Democrats think that they're going to be portrayed as soft on terrorism.

I'm not saying I'm happy with this reasoning, but that's what's going on in their skulls. Not that you're any happier now that you know it. Sorry.

Re:Don't Get It (1)

Absimiliard (59853) | more than 6 years ago | (#21326025)

Who in their right mind would excuse someone without knowing the crime?
I'm guessing Cardinal Richelieu for a starting point.......

And obviously GWB as well . . . . .

Conclusions drawn from these two examples are the property of the concluder, even I agree with them.

-abs

No Suprise (3, Funny)

Wellington Grey (942717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21308969)

From the article: Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama, Chris Dodd and Joe Biden all oppose granting immunity to the carriers. Other Democratic candidates, including Hillary Clinton, have not stated a position on immunity for telecom carriers.

No surprise there, seeing as Clinton won't give us an opinion on anything

-Grey [luminiferous-aether.net]

ahh, saturdays on slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21309013)

First off, this article is two days old.

Second off, this is one of the worst articles that I've seen on this issue. It's not a FISA renewal bill, its called the RESTORE Act in the house. And the whole package is meant to make permanenet the PROTECT America that was passed in August which will expire in February. And throwing Qwest in with Verizon and ATT as the telcos being sued for alleged complicity is just laughable. HAs eWeek heard of a guy named Nacchio. Furthermore, Hillary has made a statement on the issue. I could go on but skip eWeek for this subject (I can't believe I actually have a subscription to these jokers!) and go to cnet or wired for the latest information.

This is complete horseshit (1, Interesting)

leereyno (32197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21309077)

Either the wiretapping was legal, or it was not.

That is what must be determined conclusively.

If it was legal, then there is nothing to grant immunity for.

If it was not legal, then the telco companies are the least of our problems. They should of course still be nailed for it. Just because it is a government agency that is directing your company to commit a crime, does not mean that you will be protected from the other agencies in our government, or from the consequences of that crime.

At the end of the day the sad truth of the matter is that our enemies overseas are nowhere near as dangerous to the well being of our nation as our domestic enemies, many of whom are in government. We are at war. Unfortunately we are in a war which is largely undefined, at least by official sources. It is called the "war on terror." This is a lie. That is declaring a war on an activity without ever identifying the persons responsible for that activity. If someone was tracking mud into your house, declaring a war on mud without ever addressing the person tracking it in would result in nothing, except perhaps a lot of mopping. You have to define your enemy before you can successfully wage war against him.

Our enemies are those elements in the Muslim world who wish to see Islam, and particularly islamofascism, conquer the world. This isn't a war against terror, or even terrorists really. This is a war against people and groups and nations, who wish to destroy our civilization, our societies, and replace each with their own. Terrorism is but one of many strategies they employ to accomplish this. This is who we are at war with because this is who is waging war upon us, and upon the west as a whole.

Within our own nation, and our own government, there are those who seek to help our enemies overseas. They do this for a variety of reasons, but primarily because they believe that the enemy of their enemy is their friend. They have no special love for the Islamofascists. In most instances they would be mortal enemies. But both are enemies of liberal democracy, so they're working together to destroy it. Who is this internal enemy that is working with our enemies overseas? This enemy has many names, and many faces. It is not so much a singular enemy as much as an ad hoc swarm of smaller enemies, some of whom are almost as much at odd with one another as they are with us. Principle among these enemies are crypto-marxists. Then you have your socialists, gramscian marxists, and a whole slew of other groups and ideologies that can be collectively known as the political left. Not all self-described leftists are of course a part of this swarm, but the majority are. Others are unconsciously working in concert with them without understanding their intentions. These are generally known as "useful idiots."

These are people who attempt to color everything that the president and his administration are doing as an assault on the American people. There is of course room for honest criticism of this administration, but that isn't what these people are about. They're about weakening our nation from within so that we will be less able to fight our external foes. No nation is ever conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within, and that is exactly what their game plan is.

This is just the cold war all over again in many ways. In fact it would be more honest to say that the cold war never really ended. The Soviet Union collapsed under its own weight, but its allies here in the states never threw in the towel. Those allies are still hard at work on their long march through our institutions, weakening and destroying from within. Now that a new foe has surfaced, they're working overtime.

But none of this answers the question of whether these wiretaps were legal or not. The Bush administration knows all too well that our internal enemies will use the legal system to attack from within. If this administration did not verify the legality of what they were planning before they did it, then that is what we call an ID-ten-T error. They have potentially handed the islamofascists and their moonbat allies here at home a huge victory against America. Just because you're the president, and just because we're at war, doesn't mean you can ignore the laws of the land, even if your goals and intentions are good ones. Assuming of course that this is what has happened. If the legal foundations for this program were verified as sound ahead of time, and nothing has changed, then you can add this to the list of moonbat bullshit that has been going on since shortly after 9/11.

Re:This is complete horseshit (2, Interesting)

AlamedaStone (114462) | more than 6 years ago | (#21309203)

This is the new Limbaugh meme, right? Progressives are really the old school Commie sympathizers, who have weaseled their way into key government positions to undermine REAL Amurricuns? Is it Zionism, or Islamofascists? Or maybe the Mexicans... it's so hard to keep track of all the paranoid, xenophobic rhetoric!

Want me to top off that kool-aid for you?

Re:This is complete horseshit (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#21309711)

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Re:This is complete horseshit (1)

jefu (53450) | more than 6 years ago | (#21309879)

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

But then too :
Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from malice.

Re:This is complete horseshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21309463)

"This is a war against people and groups and nations, who wish to destroy our civilization, our societies, and replace each with their own."

Uhm, to the rest of the world that looks like the position the US has taken. Above all others, you just described the current US policy to replace other cultures and belief systems, etc with their own. And the US is the _only_ country doing that. Point a finger at someone else and there are 4 pointing back at yourself.

Re:This is complete horseshit (1)

Sergeant Pepper (1098225) | more than 6 years ago | (#21309707)

Then you have your socialists, gramscian marxists, and a whole slew of other groups and ideologies that can be collectively known as the political left. Not all self-described leftists are of course a part of this swarm, but the majority are. Others are unconsciously working in concert with them without understanding their intentions. These are generally known as "useful idiots."

These are people who attempt to color everything that the president and his administration are doing as an assault on the American people. There is of course room for honest criticism of this administration, but that isn't what these people are about. They're about weakening our nation from within so that we will be less able to fight our external foes. No nation is ever conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within, and that is exactly what their game plan is.

This is just the cold war all over again in many ways. In fact it would be more honest to say that the cold war never really ended. The Soviet Union collapsed under its own weight, but its allies here in the states never threw in the towel. Those allies are still hard at work on their long march through our institutions, weakening and destroying from within. Now that a new foe has surfaced, they're working overtime.
Then you have your fascists, totalitarians, dictators, and a whole slew of other groups and ideologies that can collectively be known as the political right. Not all self-described righties are a part of this swarm, but the majority are. Others are unconsciously working in concert without understanding their intentions. These are generally known as "useful idiots."

These are the people who attempt to color everything that the president and his administration are doing as "necessary for the sake of security." There is, of course, room for honest praise of this administration, but that isn't what these people are about. They're about weakening our nation from within so that we will be less able to fight them when they assume power. No nation is ever conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within, and that is exactly what their game plan is.

This is just the Cold War all over again in many ways. In fact it would be more honest to say that the Cold War never ended. The Soviet Union collapsed under its own weight, but its allies in the states never threw in the towel. These allies are hard at work on their long march driving our country into the ground - demolishing the constitutional freedoms that set us apart from the Soviet Union and sinking us into just as much debt as the Soviet Union was in, the debt that caused them to collapse under their own weight.



Look at that, I can take every word you said and make it apply to the right! You, sir, are a tool. You're an unthinking tool for the fools who subscribe all the demons of the world to the "leftists". Does the left have their problems? Yes. Does the right? Yes. But to blame one side for all of the problems is ridiculous - no matter what side it is. I'll admit it. I'm socially and economically liberal. And yet I do not appear to be blinded by that fact, unlike yourself. You seem to be asserting that Islamofascists want America to be a communist nation. Wouldn't they rather it be a fascist nation? You're so blinded by your hate of the left that you cannot see the problems that exist on the right. Neither side is perfect.

Re:This is complete horseshit (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#21309741)

In actuality, neither side fights and toils for "The People".

No side advocates for smaller government (although individuals sometimes do).

No side fights for more freedoms.

No side cares except for their own.

Stupid (4, Informative)

phalse phace (454635) | more than 6 years ago | (#21309105)

So far, it seems like it's either give the telcos immunity or have taxpayers pay for any legal expenses or damages awarded against the telcos [news.com] .

Specter suggested granting "indemnification" to telephone companies who allegedly cooperated with the government's surveillance regimes in violation of federal privacy laws. That would mean lawsuits could go forward, but taxpayers would be responsible for covering any legal expenses or damage awards against the communications companies. Damages could run into the tens of billions of dollars if the suits are successful, according to Senate Intelligence committee estimates.

Re:Stupid (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 6 years ago | (#21309397)

So far, it seems like it's either give the telcos immunity or have taxpayers pay for any legal expenses or damages awarded against the telcos [news.com] .

Specter suggested granting "indemnification" to telephone companies who allegedly cooperated with the government's surveillance regimes in violation of federal privacy laws. That would mean lawsuits could go forward, but taxpayers would be responsible for covering any legal expenses or damage awards against the communications companies. Damages could run into the tens of billions of dollars if the suits are successful, according to Senate Intelligence committee estimates.

... you know, that *almost* makes sense. "Sorry, our bad. Since it's our fault, we'll take any punishments for you." Which might actually be OK, except for the conflict of interest from this being the government saying that and the fact that any punishments will be much less effective deterrents against a government than against a corporation.

Re:Stupid (3, Insightful)

Skreech (131543) | more than 6 years ago | (#21309421)

On the other hand, the people are responsible by tolerating a government that does things like this.

Doesn't really matter (2, Informative)

H3lldr0p (40304) | more than 6 years ago | (#21309181)

what version is passed by the House or the Senate. It will come down to the conference committee [wikipedia.org] which creates the final bill that is sent to the president to sign. Whatever those people want is what we will get. As the reference says this is an ad-hoc committee so there is no telling who will be seated for it.

Lawmakers Delay Taco Immunity Vote (3, Funny)

rbanzai (596355) | more than 6 years ago | (#21309195)

I swear that's what I saw when I first looked at the headline!

Re:Lawmakers Delay Taco Immunity Vote (1)

Grandiloquence (1180099) | more than 6 years ago | (#21309949)

Luckily there aren't any lobbyists shilling for Big Taco.

Re:Lawmakers Delay Taco Immunity Vote (1)

g-san (93038) | more than 6 years ago | (#21310739)

Just remember if the taco did nothing illegal then it should not need immunity. Guacamole maybe, but not immunity.

Above the Law? (1)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 6 years ago | (#21309297)

Does it make sense (from government's point of view) to treat corporations as above the law?

Maybe -- if, from a future perspective, it turns out that corporations are the successors to nation-states.

-kgj

Re:Above the Law? (0, Troll)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#21309473)

The corporations ARE the nation-states. More like pirate empires really. Their only purpose being to insure the profits of their most elite "citizens", and amuse the slaves to keep them distracted.

Court vs government (3, Interesting)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#21309387)

The government makes the laws, the police investigate/arrest people suspected of breaking it, and the courts decide if someone should be punished. So why the fuck is the government about to decide if the telcos should be punished or not? Even if they made a law to give them imunity, surely that should apply only to future wrongdoings... Retroactively changing the law is only acceptable under very exceptional circumstances. Of course, these days retroactively raising the income tax could probably be justified as "national security", so it is not as if it is surprising...

To much information to process. (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 6 years ago | (#21309493)

The whole thing suggest that we have the technology to analyze such a massive amount of constantly renewing information.

Assume that we do have such computing power, what would be better, more productive, perhaps even disease solving applications of such computing power?
Now is it possible to extract and identify in such a massive constant flow of information what would be coded communication, coded into normal everyday phrases that only the receiver would recognize the meaning?

This spying wasn't to find terrorist. It was to get an overview of public opinion and public intelligence and for the use of the Bush administration intent on manipulation of the news media via scare tactic of the antrax threat. They had control over the news media, they needed to know what to have them tell the public.

There is this issue of the "Trillion Dollar bet" http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/2704stockmarket.html [pbs.org]
About the winners and even more about the losers such as enron, worldcom, etc...
But also about the retaliation reason/excuse of those who participated in the 9/11 WTC fall. Building 7 contained relevant SEC information and that building was intentionally taken down by US. Destroying the records being review for criminal activity.

Anyways, it really helps to have a "clear channel" view of the American public, when you want to manipulate them, deceive them.

The act was not against any individual but against the American public and the immunity BS is still applying cover-up tactics as it presents the matter in a false light.

     

Re:To much information to fit in my tiny brain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21310055)

(inhales deeply) "Hey dude...take another hit. This shit is great. Here, let me show my new hat. Made all of tin foil. Isn't it awesome?"

You forgot to mention the JFK cover up and TWA 800. Come one now, you can do better than that.

No impunity (1)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 6 years ago | (#21309519)

It's your responsibility as an American citizen/company to fight taking any measures you feel are unconstitutional or illegal. I'm not even saying that they have to go far as to break a single law. A telco with the insane amount of money they have should have hired lawyers to fight the orders to comply with the government. (If they weren't even orders then the company doesn't even need lawyers, they just shouldn't have given up the info).

The telcos didn't do this for their own selfish reasons and they should pay the price for doing so. That said, the government is also responsible for using the telcos like this in the first place and they should definitely receive some type of punitive action. Sadly, this isn't going to happen until the next administration takes over. And then only if Bush doesn't "pardon all individuals who may have committed some type of crime during their action in the U.S. gov." on his last day.

Re:No impunity (1)

backbyter (896397) | more than 6 years ago | (#21309737)

only if Bush doesn't "pardon all individuals who may have committed some type of crime during their action in the U.S. gov." on his last day.
I don't think he has enough ink or stamina to do all of them on his last day.

Re:No impunity (0, Flamebait)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 6 years ago | (#21309945)

The telcos didn't do this for their own selfish reasons and they should pay the price for doing so.

I hope you mean that they did do it for their own selfish interest. They got paid $1000 to initiate each tap and $750/month to maintain it. The phone companies raked in a buttload of money by not checking on (or ignoring) what the law is. They deserve everything a court can throw at them (even revocation of their corporate charter). They knew that they were breaking the law and they charged very well for it.

democrats in action! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21310553)

It's just hilarious to watch the democrat congress do such a wonderful job of opposing the white house.

What a bunch of idiots, along with those who voted for them.

Bush is just trying to perfect his Ling Rush strat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21311429)

So much fuss over something that began so innocuously. This is not about terrorism. One of the telecoms sending data to the republican administration is AT&T. And you know what that means, right? AT&T hosts Blizzard's battlenet forums. You see, it's really only because Bush wants to see the game replays from players on Blizzard's Battlenet, so that he can improve his microing for his ling rush strategy on Starcraft.

Duh. Anyone can see that's what's really behind this. Bush just loves his starcraft!

Something about the "nuclear launch detected" sound effect when he nukes the Toss and ZErg makes him feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Nazis weren't punished if they just took orders (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21311507)

Should a private company now be punished for cooperating with the government? When they would have gone out of business if they hadn't?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?