NOVA Special on Warrantless Wiretapping Airs This Week

Share With Friends! Email this to someoneShare on Facebook1Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Digg thisPin on Pinterest0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Tumblr0

The Spy Factory: Not for the Paranoid

The warrantless wiretapping controversy has taken a few twists and turns since President George W. Bush left office — and The Spy Factory premiered last winter on NOVA.

The show, which will be rebroadcast tonight on most PBS stations, reported on the National Security Agency’s surveillance of vast streams of data — phone conversations, emails, faxes — from ATnT’s regional switching center in San Francisco.

But the biggest reversal came in March, when a federal judge ruled that domestic surveillance is illegal without court approval.

The National Security Agency (NSA) was first empowered to wiretap on American soil without a warrant just three weeks after the attacks of September 11, thanks to an executive order from then-President Bush. The Obama administration had sought to retain the NSA’s surveillance privileges; the judge rejected the Justice Department’s claim that pursuing the lawsuit would reveal state secrets.

What does this all mean? James Bamford, who wrote The Shadow Factory and wrote and produced The Spy Factory with producer/director C. Scott Willis, says, “What it means is that the judge says what was done there — by both the NSA and ATnT — was illegal because it violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.”

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), enacted in 1978, requires court authorization for domestic wiretaps. But, Bamford points out, that doesn’t mean the telecoms which cooperated with the NSA will be on the hook.

“ATnT and the other telecoms were later given immunity by Congress,” he reminds us, a boneheaded move if there ever was one on the part of Congress, including many Democrats, some from Alabama. You know who you are!


In case you think this is some lefty conspiracy theory and refuse to believe it, like maybe you don’t “believe” in global warming or something, The Spy Factory will be rebroadcast tonight on most PBS stations.

Check your local listings to find out when it will be airing near you.

According to the Alabama Public Television schedule, the show will air here Tuesday, June 29 at 7 p.m., Wednesday, June 30 at 1 a.m., and Friday, July 2 at midnight.

© 2010 – 2016, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.

Share With Friends! Email this to someoneShare on Facebook1Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Digg thisPin on Pinterest0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Tumblr0
Print