NYCLU Calls Spitzer on Phone Records, Gets Busy Signal

How do you get Eliot Spitzer’s attention? The New York Civil Liberties Union wants to know.

The organization claims to have made several requests to the AG’s office asking for an investigation into allegations that the telecom giants, AT&T and Verizon, have shared millions of New Yorkers’ telephone records with the National Security Agency. They mailed letters (one on May 24th, one on June 26th), sent petitions (the first with 510 signatures, the second with 4033), and followed up on the phone.

So far, they say: no response.

“The one person who has the best record of not being intimidated by the federal government is Eliot Spitzer,” said NYCLU staff attorney Corey Stoughton. “So it would be really great if he could step up.”

The NYCLU says the Attorney General ‘s office has the authority to look into whether AT&T and Verizon violated New Yorkers’ privacy and consumer rights, pointing out that the New Jersey Attorney General issued subpoenas to five telephone companies, including AT&T and Verizon, last month and that Vermont’s Attorney General is assisting with an investigation by the state’s Department of Public Service.

But a spokesperson for the Attorney General just told us that all requests are processed and evaluated, and promised to check into the status of the NYCLU’s letters and petitions. No word yet, obviously, on an investigation.

– Lizzy Ratner

Update: Spitzer spokeswoman Juanita Scarlett called yesterday to say that the June 26th follow-up letter and petition from the NYCLU had not yet arrived, but that the NYCLU shouldn’th hold its breath for a positive reply. “Considering that Congress is looking into the matter and the ACLU has launched a lawsuit, it is not likely our office will open an investigation,” she said.