The Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed a Freedom of Information Lawsuit against the Department of Justice to obtain records on telecom lobbying efforts, Ars Technica reports.
EFF is seeking documentation of lobbying around amendments to the FISA law and the granting of immunity for surveillance activities. What connections and communications were there between DOJ officials, Congress people and senators, andn telecom execs? The government has failed to process the FOIA request within the 20-day maximum waiting period stipulated by law, so the EFF has followed up its request with a demanding swift compliance.
While reports have revealed that telecommunications companies have been heavily lobbying for immunity, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has declined requests to investigate whether the companies have violated any laws prohibiting release of customer data.
The Bush Administration has been pushing Congress recently to enact immunity legislation to protect the telecom companies. Ars notes the other side, naturally:
The executive branch should not be permitted to obviate proper oversight by selectively elevating its coconspirators above the rule of law. If the telecommunications companies are held accountable for their participation in the surveillance plot, it may deter similar activity, hopefully ensuring that intelligence agencies and the executive branch will go through the proper legislative channels in the future when establishing broad surveillance programs.