NSA, the FCC and White House Martin’s, and Sen. Stevens: Beyond Cover-up

It’s not surprising that FCC chair Kevin Martin refused to investigate how the phone companies he oversees have turned over our personal records to the National Security Agency. Martin—who is supposed to be running a so-called “independent agency”—said he was obeying “the representations” of Director of National Intelligence (DNI) John Negroponte and NSA chief Keith Alexander. In a letter to Rep. Ed Markey (who has been doing a terrific job all around on communications issues), Kevin Martin said that the DNI and NSA had warned him that such a study would require the FCC to examine “highly sensitive classified information.” Kevin Martin, of course, is part of the Bush White House conservative cabal that is behind the violation of all our privacy. Martin’s wife Catherine is an assistant to President Bush. Before that, she was an assistant to Vice President Cheney. Her relationships with Texas allies of Pres. Bush go back a number of years as well.

Meanwhile, Senate Commerce Committee chair Ted Stevens, who termed the call for an FCC investigation “misguided,” revealed once again how out of touch he is. Stevens is quoted in Communications Daily (May 24, 2006) saying that he had been briefed on the NSA phone record collection effort. The newsletter reports that Stevens “believed the information the companies gave the NSA was equivalent to creating a database of the names and phone numbers in a phone book.” And Stevens thinks that fine! Can’t wait until he helps wreck U.S. broadband/digital media with his forthcoming bill.

Meanwhile, Kevin Martin should be asked to resign. He isn’t running an independent agency; it’s now just a creature of the defense intelligence establishment

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