Tuesday, August 08, 2006

U.S. threatens suit if Maine probes Verizon ties to NSA

The Bush administration is threatening to sue if Maine regulators decide to investigate whether Verizon Communications illegally turned over customer information to the National Security Agency.

Verizon customers in Maine have asked the state's Public Utilities Commission to investigate whether the telecom giant violated privacy laws by cooperating with a domestic surveillance program. The PUC is expected to decide Monday whether to open such a probe.

In a July 28 letter to the PUC, the U.S. Department of Justice cites national security as a key reason for its opposition to a state investigation. The seven-page letter suggests a lawsuit is likely if Maine regulators decide to investigate.

"We sincerely hope that, in light of governing law and the national security concerns implicated by the requests for information, you will decline to open an investigation and close these proceedings, thereby avoiding litigation over the matter," the letter reads.


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