By Allan Holmes | Friday, October 12, 2007 | 08:45 AM
This news item certainly will heap more suspicion on the Bush administration’s tactics for fighting terrorism.
A law firm in Vermont, which represents a client in Afghanistan and a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, is accusing the federal government of tapping its phones and hacking into a computer used by one of the firm's partners, according to an article posted by the Burlington Free Press. Three partners in the law firm Gensburg, Atwell & Broderick recently sent a letter to clients telling them the firm "can't guarantee their communications were confidential," according to the article. The firm said it had found its phone lines crossed and that a computer forensic examination of the computer used by Robert Gensburg "found an application that disabled all security software and would have given someone access to all information on the computer," according to the article.
Gensberg said there may be an innocent explanation for the problems -- such as he may have accidentally downloaded some malware from the Internet -- but "we are quite confident that it is the United States government that has been doing the phone tapping and computer hacking," the lawyers wrote in their Oct. 2 letter to clients.
According to the article, there's no comment from U.S. officials or Verizon, which operates the phone lines for the law firm and is one of the telecommunication firms named in the Bush administration’s wiretapping program after 9/11:
U.S. Attorney Thomas D. Anderson, the federal government's top law enforcement official in Vermont, said Thursday that he couldn't comment. Verizon has consistently refused to comment on whether it is involved with national security issues, spokeswoman Beth Fastiggi said Thursday.
I read the letter THEY (Yes, all three senior partners of the law firm signed the letter)sent out to clients. I only wish they petitioned the FISA Court, to confront their accuser-if the FISA court had authorized the tap. But since the Bush administration started the unlawful wiretap program months before 9/11, and didn't always go to the FISA court-they used a National Security Letter on the Connecticut Library Association...Robert O | Friday, November 23, 2007 | 11:00 AM
When America are you going to wake up? I do not know if the Gov did this but would not put it past them. I do know that the citizens of this great nation keep giving away their rights to make their own choices (freedom). Can you believe their is a law that says one must use their windshield wipers if it is raining? Can you believe you MUST wear a seat belt when driving a car? Have a child in a child seat when driving? Ohhh please do not tell me that is a good law! -- Instead tell me you have sense enough to use your windshield wipers when you can not see, use your seatbelt so you do not die and use your childs safety seat because you are a loving and good parent and use the brains God gave you not because it is a law and your stupid and would never think to turn the wipers on! These are only three small examples of decisions you allow the government to make for you. Now you sit back and think they will not tap your phone in the name of protection, make lists of travelers (where they go,when, how often, and funnier yet they even ask you to sign up and volunteer for the program) all in the name of protection huh, dream on! When you wake up it may already be to late!Amazed | Tuesday, October 16, 2007 | 12:53 PM
A former FBI agent told me not too long ago that physical evidence of tapping, such as crossing wires and sounds of interference on the line, was a feature of old technology. Since things went digital, the actual tapping of a line only requires flipping a switch at the phone company. Gensberg's claims seem rather self serving to me.marineld | Tuesday, October 16, 2007 | 11:06 AM
He achieved his '15 minutes of fame’, which was probably his motive to begin with. The whole scenario sounds hinky to me and portends to be the result of an overactive imagination.CAE | Monday, October 15, 2007 | 02:23 PM
M. Franklin and Aqualad make fun of Mr. Gensberg, but this is an attorney who received a 2000 State Joint Resolution (#144) acknowledging his efforts because he "devoted much of his legal career defending persons whose causes and goals are not the most popular, and who might, consequently, be denied due process of law" and was a "legal trailblazer", the lead counsel in Brigham v. State. that's the Vermont Supreme Court which held that the existing system of basing public elementary and secondary school funding on the local property tax was inherently unconstitutional. Thus, Gensberg is a prominent, respected lawyer, not the crackpot you make him out to be.
Additionally, AP ran a story September 19 about Gensberg asking the Public Service Board to investigate.
"Lawyers for AT&T and Verizon said they wanted the case delayed, because the federal government is suing to block Vermont and other states from pursuing similar investigations."
So here's my question--IF the telcoms did nothing, why would they not want an investigation? It's worse than that they refuse to comment, which could be due to legal considerations.
In the local story (v.s. the AP story) The attorney who is taking the matter before the Public Service Board said that he has other clients with the same complaint, and that at first, Verizon and AT&T claimed they did not release customer information. Then they countered with, "but if we did, we could not talk about for national security reasons."
Beth Wellington | Monday, October 15, 2007 | 12:25 PM
The fact that the US Attorney and Verizon refuse to comment on the sitation speaks volumes.Paul | Saturday, October 13, 2007 | 08:00 AM
Sounds exactly like something the Bush administration would do.
We don't need no stinken Civil Rights.Robert | Friday, October 12, 2007 | 07:56 PM
hhhmmmm Very Very Very Interesting -_-Stacey | Friday, October 12, 2007 | 12:40 PM
"phone lines crossed"........."quite confident it is the government"
Sounds like paranoia, Counselor.M Franklin | Friday, October 12, 2007 | 11:42 AM
Oh, yeah. I may have been surfing the web and downloaded some porn on my office pc, which installed malware on my hard drive, but it's BUSH'S FAULT!aqualad | Friday, October 12, 2007 | 09:47 AM
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Allan Holmes on what's happening and what's being discussed in the world of federal information technology.