Tuesday, February 12, 2008


New York Times:

The Senate rejected a series of amendments that would have restricted the government’s surveillance powers and eliminated immunity for the phone carriers, and it voted in convincing fashion — 69 to 29 — to end debate and bring the issue to a final vote. That vote is expected later this afternoon, with the result all but assured.

...supporters of the plan said the phone carriers acted out of patriotism after the Sept. 11 attacks in complying with what they believed in good faith was a legally binding order from the president.

The House has already rejected the idea of immunity for the phone companies, and Democratic leaders reacted angrily to the Senate vote. But Congressional officials said it appeared that the House would ultimately be forced to accept some sort of legal protection for the phone carriers in negotiations between the two chambers this week.

Beyond the immunity provision, the Senate measure would also widen the executive branch’s surveillance powers by allowing the National Security Agency and intelligence agencies to use broad orders — without getting court orders in advance — to eavesdrop on groups of overseas targets, rather than using individualized warrants.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Recently released documents strongly suggest employees at Wachovia Bank not only knew that marketers were stealing from accounts at the bank, but that they bank solicited business from those companies. Executives at Wachovia have denied knowledge of the thefts.

From the New York Times:

Papers Show Wachovia Knew of Thefts

By Charles Duhigg

Last spring, Wachovia bank was accused in a lawsuit of allowing fraudulent telemarketers to use the bank’s accounts to steal millions of dollars from unsuspecting victims. When asked about the suit, bank executives said they had been unaware of the thefts.

But newly released documents from that lawsuit now show that Wachovia had long known about allegations of fraud and that the bank, in fact, solicited business from companies it knew had been accused of telemarketing crimes.

Internal Wachovia e-mail, for example, show that high-ranking employees at the nation’s fourth-largest bank frequently warned colleagues about telemarketing frauds routed through its accounts.

Link to the Full Story