The media word on the street is that Verizon has fired the employees associated with the unauthorized access of President-elect Barack Obama’s mobile phone. According to CNN, the employees had limited access to Obama’s records and were unable to monitor his voice mail or text messages.
Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam apologized for the incident, but the incident prompted U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy to point out there is actually a law — the Telephone Records and Privacy Act of 2007 — to deal with telecommunications carriers obtaining confidential phone records by accessing customer accounts through the Internet or by fraudulent computer-related activities without prior authorization.
Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, knows all about the new law since he was a co-sponsor of the legislation. What he apparently doesn’t know is if anyone in the Department of Justice has bothered to enforce it.
In a Nov. 24 letter to Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew W. Friedrich, Leahy said he wants know how many investigations or prosecutions the G-men have undertaken for violations of the Telephone Records and Privacy Act. Leahy didn’t set a deadline for a response, but, then again, he was writing to an acting assistant attorney general with less than 60 days left on the job.
I could be wrong (as readers occasionally point out), but I’m guessing the answer to Leahy’s question is zero. This an administration that saw no problems with spying on any e-mail or phone call it wanted and used the telecoms to carry out its unconstitutional designs. Sadly, the telecoms — with the notable exception of Qwest — went along with the scheme.