Kondracke denounced Qwest as "basically helping terrorists" for not giving customers' phone records to NSA

Video ››› ››› RAPHAEL SCHWEBER-KOREN

On Fox News' Special Report, Roll Call executive editor Morton Kondracke said the telecommunications company Qwest was "basically helping terrorists" because "to its discredit, [it] said it was not cooperating with the NSA [National Security Agency] and specifically decided not to cooperate" by providing the NSA with the phone call records of its customers. According to The New York Times, a lawyer representing Qwest's former CEO has said that the 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."

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During the "All-Star panel" on the May 17 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, Roll Call executive editor Morton M. Kondracke said the telecommunications company Qwest was "basically helping terrorists" because "to its discredit, [it] said it was not cooperating with the NSA [National Security Agency] and specifically decided not to cooperate" by providing the NSA with the phone call records of its customers. "Now, you know, if we're fighting a war on terrorism," Kondracke said, "you'd think the telephone companies would want to cooperate, and I would hope that they would be cooperating. And for a company to opt out and say, 'No, no, no, we're too privacy-minded for this,' you know, it's basically helping terrorists."

A May 11 USA Today report that NSA has been collecting and analyzing records of phone calls made by millions of Americans since 2001 stated that, according to its sources, "[a]mong the big telecommunications companies, only Qwest has refused to help the NSA." According to a May 12 New York Times article, former Qwest CEO Joseph N. Nacchio has stated that "Qwest turned down requests by the National Security Agency for private telephone records because it concluded that doing so would violate federal privacy laws," although the company itself has not commented on the USA Today article. The Times article noted that Nacchio left Qwest in 2002 and that he was indicted in December 2005 on 42 counts of "insider selling."

From the May 17 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:

KONDRACKE: Well, these statements are very carefully worded, and it took six days for them to come out. And in the beginning, Qwest, this other company, to its discredit, said that it wasn't cooperating with the NSA, and it, you know, it specifically decided not to cooperate. Now, you know, if we're fighting a war on terrorism, you'd think the telephone companies would want to cooperate, and I would hope that they would be cooperating. And for a company to opt out and say, "No, no, no, we're too privacy minded for this," you know, it's basically helping terrorists. I think Senator [Pat] Roberts [R-KS] is absolutely right. I mean, what's going on now is shocking. People are treating the Constitution of the United States as a suicide pact. Here we have Al Qaeda -- I mean, everybody has been watching [the film] United 93, and everybody should watch United 93 just to remind us of what we're dealing with. They would slam a plane into the Capitol, they would blow up an atomic bomb if they possibly could, and we're acting as though people who are trying to protect us are criminals.

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