Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff reports that the Bush administration is “refusing to disclose internal e-mails, letters and notes showing contacts with major telecommunications companies over how to persuade Congress” to back telecom immunity in a recent surveillance bill. Court declarations show extensive contacts between industry officials and the administration:
One court declaration, for example, confirms the existence of notes showing that a telecom representative called an Office of Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) lawyer last fall to talk about “various options” to block the lawsuits, including “such options as court orders and legislation.”
Another declaration refers to a letter and “four fax cover sheets” exchanged between the telecoms and ODNI over the surveillance matter. Yet another discloses e-mails in which lawyers for the telecoms and the Justice Department “seek or discuss recommendations on legislative strategy.”
The administration has claimed that releasing certain documents “would provide our adversaries with a road map” to help them thwart surveillance.