Friday, May 12, 2006

A Corporation with Scruples

It’s hard to imagine that a huge corporation would emerge as a moral force for law and the privacy rights of Americans nowadays, but it’s true. Qwest decided not to participate in the NSA phone number sweep because they considered it to be illegal.

The telecommunications company Qwest turned down requests by the National Security Agency for private telephone records because it concluded that doing so would violate federal privacy laws, a lawyer for the telephone company’s former chief executive said today.

In a statement released this morning, the lawyer said that the former chief executive, Joseph N. Nacchio, made the decision after asking whether “a warrant or other legal process had been secured in support of that request.”

Mr. Nacchio learned that no warrant had been granted and that there was a “disinclination on the part of the authorities to use any legal process,” said the lawyer, Herbert J. Stern. As a result, the statement said, Mr. Nacchio concluded that “the requests violated the privacy requirements of the Telecommunications Act.”

Boy, are they gonna catch it from the righties: defying the president over such a trivial issue as “the rule of law.”