Cheney and Rumsfeld Shielded Telecoms from Domestic Spying Charges in the 1970s

President Bush’s illegal domestic spying program is not the first instance of the government spying on American citizens in our history. To understand how the present controversy will probably play out, we need look no farther back than the Ford Administration:

After World War II, the NSA’s predecessor, the Army Signal Security Agency, sent representatives to the major telegraph companies and asked for cooperation in getting access to all telegraph traffic entering or leaving the United States. The companies complied, over the objections of their lawyers. When these practices came to light as part of a 1976 investigation into intelligence abuses, President Gerald R. Ford extended executive privilege, which shielded those involved from testifying publicly, to the telecommunications companies on the recommendation of then chief-of-staff Dick Cheney and then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, according to the Project on Government Oversight.


  • May 12, 2006 - 5:21 am | Permalink

    Can we be surprised?



  • Zola Daniels
    May 12, 2006 - 5:36 am | Permalink

    When will the GOOSE STEPPING BEGIN?

  • Mike
    May 12, 2006 - 5:59 am | Permalink

    Does anyone believe they wouldn’t be trying all these power grabs if 9/11 had never happened? I don’t. The same crowd has pushed for decades for unchecked Executive Branch power.

  • Brendan O'Maidian
    May 12, 2006 - 7:08 am | Permalink

    To paraphase a song from Nat Cole:
    Straighten up and spy right.

    These evil bastards should be tried and hanged at Ground Zero, the place they helped to immortalize with their treachery and deceit.

  • duh
    May 12, 2006 - 7:48 am | Permalink

    what’s missing is this:
    it didn’t stop in the 70’s, and then restart recently; it HAS CONTINUED since then

  • May 12, 2006 - 8:27 am | Permalink


    The goose stepping began on 9/12/2001.

  • ancient mariner
    May 12, 2006 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    Switch your phone service! That’s what I did today. If AT&T, Verizon, and BellSouth lose a couple of hundred thousand customers apiece, maybe they will get the message.

  • Eric
    May 12, 2006 - 3:28 pm | Permalink

    It all began on 9/12/2001 people when Bush decided to do this, the Republicans have been planning on this for about a good twenty years they just needed a good excuse to do it…

  • makesenseofit
    May 12, 2006 - 5:23 pm | Permalink

    The people get what they deserve. The same cronies of the 70’s have finally controlled the people..
    And the voter is given all the credit in the world for doing such a fine job of placing those in position to carry through the plan they developed years earlier.

  • legalies
    May 13, 2006 - 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Change your phone service or let the other phone companies know that if they cooperate you will change their service too.

  • May 13, 2006 - 10:29 pm | Permalink

    I just called and cancelled my AT&T voip service and I told them it was due to my privacy being violated. They (the lady on the phone) said we always co-operate with the government when asked,
    I told her “the government was wrong and out of line to due to their NSA domestic spying, and in fact now there are lawsuits about it.
    The law was spelled out clearly in the telecom laws since the 60’s.
    My rights were violated!
    And for that very reason is why Qwest and a few others didn’t participate”

    She offered me a free month of service and wanted to know if I wanted to say anything that she could tell her manager. I just said “tell them I am dropping their service because I don’t like my privacy rights being violated. It was absolutely wrong, and I didn’t want any part of their telephone service”

    It felt good!
    Freedom still has to be fought for.
    Monday I will write my congressman

    And my Senators office too

    Not much else I can do
    I am just an average Joe Anybody!

  • Jon Koppenhoefer
    May 15, 2006 - 11:22 am | Permalink

    Shades of Tricky Dick. It’s not too late to impeach Bush, too.

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