South Florida Republican Sues ATT for Database records given to NSA by Mitch E. Perry06/28/06
A South Florida Republican has joined hands with the ACLU in suing ATT, trying to stop the phone company from handing over phone logs to the federal government, a program that President Bush has said is critical to national security.
In May, USA Today reported about the National Security Agency's attempt to build a giant database of telephone calls made by Americans, hoping to find patterns that will root out terrorists.
The ACLU and several prominent private citizens, including writer Christopher Hitchens and former NSA member James Bamford, have already filed suit.
Now , Hollywood Florida resident â€“ and Republican â€“ Theresa Fortnash, is also filing suit- the first citizen in Florida to do soâ€¦WMNF spoke with her late this afternoon from her home in Hollywood (roll tape#1 o.q.â€? not that importantâ€?) When the story broke in May, On Capitol Hill, Democrats expressed outrage over the secret project, and some leading Republicans â€” House Majority Leader John Boehner of Ohio and Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania among them â€” expressed concern.
Specter said he would call executives from AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth â€” the companies that supplied to the NSA their records on cellphone and land-line calls made from millions of homes, businesses and government offices â€” "to find out exactly what is going on."
But earlier this month, a last-minute deal with Vice President Cheney averted a possible confrontation between the Senate Judiciary Committee and U.S. telephone companies about the National Security Agency's database of customer calling records.
Senator Specter, as well as Utah Republican Orri Hatch, said Cheney promised that the Bush administration would consider legislation proposed by Specter that would place a domestic surveillance program under scrutiny of a special federal court.
In return, Specter agreed to postpone indefinitely asking executives from the nation's telecommunication companies to testify about another program in which the NSA collects records of domestic calls.
But to Hollywood Florida resident Theresa Fortnash, the Congress should keep ATT and the Federal Branch of Government in checkâ€¦Because theyâ€™re not, sheâ€™s suing (roll tape#2 o.q.â€?actual logicâ€?)
Thatâ€™s Theresa Fortnash,â€¦ A&T hasn't yet responded to Fortnash's lawsuit, but released a statement saying it didn't do anything wrong.
The statement said, â€œ"The fact is, AT&T does not give customer information to law enforcement authorities or government agencies without legal authorization, "We have an obligation to assist law enforcement and other government agencies responsible for protecting the public welfare, whether it be an individual or the security interests of the entire nation.''
The Justice Department has already filed motions hoping to quash similar actions in San Francisco, Detroit and New Jersey, and is expected to weigh in on Fortnash's lawsuit