FCC Chariman Kevin Martin announced today that the FCC was incapable of investigating the telecommunications companies who gave their customer's records to the NSA. Congressman Markey, who is the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet had requested Martin open an investigation.
Martin writes to Mackey:
"In this case, however, the classified nature of the NSA's activities makes us unable to investigate the alleged violations discussed in your letter at this time," writes Martin. "The representations of [Director of National Intelligence John] Negroponte and [National Security Agency Director] General Alexander make clear that it would not be possible for us to investigate the activities described in your letter without examining highly sensitive classified information."
"The Commission has no power to order the production of classified information."
In his response, Markey chastised the FCC for "refus[ing] to demand answers."
"We can't have a situation where the FCC, charged with enforcing the law, won't even begin an investigation of apparent violations of the law because it predicts the Administration will roadblock any investigations citing national security," Markey remarked. "If the FCC initiates an investigation and gets blocked by the White House, then the White House is stonewalling. But if the FCC refuses to even demand answers, then the White House never has to block the enforcement agency from getting to the bottom of this. The American people deserve answers."
Official notification is posted here.