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"At some point the board has to decide if they want to proceed with the case or continuing waiting," Wark said.

McConnell's revelation is contained in a six page interview with El Paso Times reporter Chris Roberts that was published last week.

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intelligence official made an astonishing admission to a Texas newspaper last week that may greatly impact Vermont's inquiry into whether or not telephone companies released customer information to the federal government.

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"Unfortunately, we have no comment on your inquiry," Andrew Ames, a spokesperson for the Justice Department, wrote in an e mail that afternoon.

Stephen Wark, director of consumer affairs and public information for the Vermont Public Service Department, said Tuesday that staff members are reviewing a transcript of that interview to determine if there was a "disclosure that supports the case."

After declining to say just how many phone calls the National Security Agency is tracking, McConnell reveals that he had been pushing for a provision in the recent amendments to the FISA law that would have protected private companies participating in government surveillance programs from civil lawsuits.

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That case, which has been consolidated into one multi district case, is pending in a California court. The federal government was dealt a legal setback last month when a judge refused a motion to immediately rule in its favor.

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I recommended to the administration us, 'Let's take that off the table for now and take it up when Congress reconvenes in September.'"

last year after national reports surfaced that the three major telephone companies including two that operate here, Verizon and AT had given details of their customers' telephone calls to the National Security Agency.

That provision was not included in the latest FISA rewrite, although McConnell said he will be lobbying for a retroactive liability protection to be included after Congress conducts its six month review.

During an oddly frank and blunt conversation, McConnell appears to reveal some intimate details of the behind the scenes congressional battle over the program with Bush administration officials.

Phone companies identified in news reports on the surveillance program last year have denied their involvement. When the news broke in May 2006, Verizon responded that it is a "falsehood" that the company "entered into an arrangement" to give the NSA "data from its customers' domestic calls."

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National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell revealed in an Aug. 22 newspaper article that private companies have been supplying the federal government with information as part of a surveillance program aimed at catching terrorists. Department of Justice over the alleged release of telephone call details by the phone companies to the government.

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Did fed official drop bombshell in phone records case

"Right now we are just reviewing the transcript," he said.

AT spokesperson Seth Bloom said the company is "fully committed to protecting our customers' privacy," but added that they do not comment on issues of national security.

But on Tuesday, the two phone companies were more restrictive in their public comments.

Verizon spokesperson Beth Fastiggi replied, "We do not comment on Womens Nike Air Max Flyknit

If true, that would violate the state's consumer protection laws. The companies denied any wrongdoing, and the Justice Department later sued Vermont and several other states conducting similar inquiries to shut down the investigations.

A call for comment to the Justice Department on Tuesday yielded a one sentence response to McConnell's admission and how it may relate to the ongoing court case.

"Now the second part of the issue was under the president's program, the terrorist surveillance program; the Cheap Nike Air Max 2014 private sector has assisted us," McConnell said. "Because if you're going to get access you've got to have a partner and they were being sued. Now if you play out the suits at the value they're claimed, it would bankrupt these companies."

"This appears to be a blanket admission that the telephone companies were collaborating on the program with the NSA," said Gilbert, whose organization is a party to the Vermont Public Service Board's now stalled investigation. "We remain committed to getting to the bottom of this."

Government officials have stated in court documents relating to the inquiry that the NSA surveillance cannot be discussed in detail because of the state secrets privilege and because it could "cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States."

national security or law enforcement matters.".

"We've got a proactive problem," he said in the Aug. 22 interview. "When I went through and briefed various senators and congressman, the issue was all right; look, we don't want to work that right now, it's too hard because we want to find out about some issues of the past. So what Nike Air Max 2016 Mens White

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If McConnell did reveal new details of the surveillance program, it could become an issue when the Vermont Public Service Board, the quasi judicial body investigating the alleged release of customer information, holds a status conference on the case Sept. 18.

Allen Gilbert, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont, said McConnell's statements appear to undercut the government's arguments in the case.

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