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Secrecy News -- 10/15/07

From: Steven Aftergood <saftergood.nul>
Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2007 12:00:02 -0400
Archived: Mon, 15 Oct 2007 17:00:16 -0400
Subject: Secrecy News -- 10/15/07

from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2007, Issue No. 101
October 15, 2007

Secrecy News Blog: http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/

Support Secrecy News:



Upon lawful request and for a thousand dollars, Comcast, one of
the nation's leading telecommunications companies, will
intercept its customers' communications under the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Act.

The cost for performing any FISA surveillance "requiring
deployment of an intercept device" is $1,000.00 for the "initial
start-up fee (including the first month of intercept service),"
according to a newly disclosed Comcast Handbook for Law

Thereafter, the surveillance fee goes down to "$750.00 per month
for each subsequent month in which the original [FISA] order or
any extensions of the original order are active."

With respect to surveillance policy, the Comcast manual hews
closely to the letter of the law, as one would hope and expect.

"If your [FISA intercept] request pertains to individuals
outside the U.S., please be sure you have complied with all the
requirements in 50 U.S.C. sections 105A and/or 105B," the manual
says, referring to provisions of the Protect America Act that
was enacted last month. "Requests such as these can not be
honored after one year and must be dated prior to February 5,
2008, unless extended by Congress."

Comcast will also comply with disclosure demands presented in
the form of National Security Letters. However, the manual says,
"Attention must be paid to the various court proceedings in
which the legal status of such requests is at issue."

In short, "Comcast will assist law enforcement agencies in their
investigations while protecting subscriber privacy as required
by law and applicable privacy policies."

At the same time, "Comcast reserves the right to respond or
object to, or seek clarification of, any legal requests and
treat legal requests for subscriber information in any manner
consistent with applicable law."

A copy of the manual was obtained by Secrecy News.

See "Comcast Cable Law Enforcement Handbook," September 2007:


The role of telecommunications companies in intelligence
surveillance is under increased scrutiny as the Bush
Administration seeks to shield the companies from any liability
associated with their cooperation in what may be illegal
warrantless surveillance.

Also, there are new indications that the unauthorized
warrantless surveillance program pre-dated 9/11. The Rocky
Mountain News, the Washington Post, and others reported
allegations that the government may have penalized Qwest
Communications for refusing to participate in a pre-9/11
National Security Agency surveillance program that the company
believed might be illegal.


The Washington Post editorialized yesterday that the
telecommunications companies should indeed be immunized against
liability, as the Bush Administration desires. Even though it is
not known exactly what the companies did, the Post said, they
"seem to us to have been acting as patriotic corporate citizens
in a difficult and uncharted environment."


Writing in Salon.com, Glenn Greenwald disputed that view,
arguing that patriotism lies in compliance with the law, not in
mere obedience to executive authority.



Much of the doctrinal literature concerning Army special
operations is restricted from public disclosure, often for good
reasons and sometimes for reasons that are hard to understand
(Secrecy News, 01/24/07).

But one new special operations manual has been approved for
unrestricted public disclosure.

As the title indicates, "Airdrop of Supplies and Equipment:
Rigging Loads for Special Operations" (FM 4.20-142, September
2007) deals with the proper packaging of military supplies for
aerial delivery via parachute. A copy is available here (in a
very large 28 MB PDF file):


Also on the subject of new military publications, the
Congressional Research Service updated its report "Defense:
FY2008 Authorization and Appropriations" on September 28, 2007:


Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the
Federation of American Scientists.

The Secrecy News Blog is at:

To SUBSCRIBE to Secrecy News, go to:

OR email your request to saftergood.nul

Secrecy News is archived at:

SUPPORT Secrecy News with a donation here:

Steven Aftergood
Project on Government Secrecy
Federation of American Scientists
1725 DeSales St NW, 6th floor
Washington, DC 20036

web:  www.fas.org/sgp/index.html
email: saftergood.nul
voice: (202)454-4691

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