THE BLOG
05/01/2006 09:41 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Ask AT&T: Are You Helping Bush Spy on Americans?

Did you know Corporate America may be helping George Bush illegally spy on you?

As I've written before on this site, a lawsuit argues that AT&T has been helping the NSA's illegal surveillance for years. Court papers describe the program as a "vast fishing expedition" to monitor Americans' communications, without the warrants required by the U.S. Constitution. A former AT&T technician has blown the whistle to explain how AT&T assisted NSA spying. The New York Times reported that the technician has internal company documents describing "a mysterious room at the AT&T Internet and telephone hub in San Francisco" filled with "equipment capable of monitoring a large quantity of e-mail messages, Internet phone calls, and other Internet traffic."

And what does AT&T say to all this?

So far, it has refused to respond, saying only that it will not comment "on matters of national security or litigation."

I don't know if that satisfies AT&T customers and shareholders, but it's striking when you think about it. The company is accused of illegally helping the government spy on Americans, and it won't offer even a vague denial?

It is time for AT&T to answer these charges. That's why many people are contacting the company today to demand answers.

The Center for Constitutional Rights, where I work as a staff attorney, is leading this campaign to demand answers from AT&T. We are urging people to ask AT&T point blank whether the company is violating federal law banning warrantless wiretapping. The fact is that as citizens and potential consumers, Americans now have a key opportunity to pressure a company that is accused of helping the Bush Administration break the law.

I'll keep writing updates about this campaign and all the cases challenging illegal spying. The AT&T case was filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). EFF is demanding an injunction to stop AT&T from disclosing consumer communications to the government, and seeking damages on behalf of millions of AT&T subscribers. While the case may take a long time, the Bush Administration has announced illegal wiretapping will continue in the meantime. That is all the more reason to demand answers from the company now.

P.S. You can click here to read AT&T's privacy policy, which commits to "respecting and protecting our customers' privacy."

Below is the message we are encouraging people to send to AT&T -- consumers, potential consumers and shareholders can add personal details and concerns:

I am writing you to inquire about recent reports that AT&T is assisting the U.S. government in domestic spying. Can you please send me a full explanation of any AT&T involvement in legal or illegal domestic spying, and a specific description of related company practices for consumer privacy? The public, consumers and stockholders deserve answers about your current policies.