FCC Won't Investigate NSA Phone Logs
The FCC has declined to investigate whether telecommunications companies have broken consumer privacy laws by sharing phone call data with the NSA, saying the classified nature of the program prevents the agency from doing so.
Chairman Kevin Martin, a Republican, said that the FCC would be unable to investigate at this time due to the fact it would require the examination of highly classified information. According to Martin, the agency has no power in ordering the release of those documents.
Martin also mentioned that the government had already used the state secrets privilege in a court case against AT&T, which meant the FCC would have little chance of prevailing in any legal action.
The decision is likely to anger many, as politicians from both sides of the aisle have called for an investigation into whether laws had been broken.
Massachusetts Democratic Representative Edward Markey, and Democratic FCC Commissioner Michael Copps headed those calls. However, it does not look as if Markey will take the FCC's decision as the final word.
"The FCC has taken a pass at investigating what is estimated to be the nation's largest violation of consumer privacy ever to occur," Markey said in a statement. "If the oversight body that monitors our nation's communications is stepping aside then Congress must step in."
Several Democratic lawmakers other than Markey, as well a number of Republican politicians, have called for investigations into whether BellSouth, AT&T and Verizon broke laws in their cooperation with the NSA.
All three companies have denied violating any laws.