Last week, AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein headed to Washington D.C. to ask lawmakers to reject immunity for telecoms that assisted with the Bush administration's warrantless spying program. Mr. Klein's story deserves ample attention, as his first-hand experiences at AT&T deliver a concrete picture of dragnet spying in contrast to empty, pro-immunity rhetoric being delivered by high-powered telecom lobbyists, Bush administration officials, and the administration's allies in Congress and elsewhere.
Aside from in-depth national coverage from broadcast news sources MSNBC, NPR, and C-SPAN; and print coverage by the New York Times and the Washington Post; local publications and political blogs provided commentary. Diverse outlets covered Klein's visit, including ABC News, Cox Newspapers, Tech News World, The Carpetbagger Report, The Raw Story, and the progressive politics blog Firedoglake.
Klein was interviewed by TPM Muckraker's Spencer Ackerman, who wrote succinctly about the high-stakes battle for justice that brought Klein to Washington D.C. in the first place:
If the surveillance-related lawsuits are invalidated by a provision in the intelligence-committee-passed FISA bill, then the extent of the program -- at least between 2001 and 2006 -- will remain the exclusive purview of the Bush administration, the communications firms and the handful of Senators selected to review legal justifications for the program.
Klein's visit to Washington D.C. had a tremendous impact on people's understanding of the phone companies' involvement in government spying. Provisions for telecom immunity, aimed at derailing existing lawsuits like EFF's class action against AT&T, will be a considered at a Senate Judiciary Committee markup hearing this week.