How Much Damage Is There From NSA Spy Story?

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Jan. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Former AT&T Chairman and CEO Dave Dorman discusses telecoms and the NSA on Bloomberg Television's "Market Makers." (Source: Bloomberg)

Us about what we might hear from the president on friday.

One of the big things people are waiting to hear about is whether he decides the data the nsa have been analyzing from companies like at&t and verizon will continue to be stored by the government or by the phone companies themselves.

Would it help in anyway to have that data reside with phone companies and not in the government's hands?

I doubt it.

It's a tough issue.

We have to look at this through the eyes of everyday citizens and everyone worries about is big brother watching me.

It's all covered under very careful legal constructs.

We all have our right to privacy.

Certainly whatever at&t and others will do, it's going to be covered by law.

How difficult an issue was this surveillance when you were they ceo of at&t and you heard from the government and you heard that you had to comply?

Immediately following 9/11 was a time that was very unsettled.

At&t -- i became ceo in february, so it was very new.

Were there other attacks planned?

We made a simple judgment to comply under a court order from the president and we chose to follow that.

We felt it was our responsibility to do it.

How much damage has they had to deal with since this surveillance story came out?

It's a factor because trust is important.

We have always been beyond reproach.

Obviously there are exceptions, but in general, we have not had the issues that other people have locked us.

The most difficult things, the snowden revelations are casting question on the integrity of american businesses and how they do things.

But as a former ceo of at&t and also as an american who wants his privacy protected, what do you think of edward snowden's actions?

Lex i personally think he is a traitor.

I believe he revealed information that is detrimental to the security of america and its citizens.

I don't think you can count jet any other way.

One of the things he has alleged is that the nsa and other organizations use backdoors to get access to information from companies that are not voluntarily provided.

What if he is right?

Did you ever see anything like that or suspect the government was taking things from at&t they did not have the right to?

I really can't comment on things that are classified.

That your lawyers have advised you not to discuss?


And my lawyers are paid by me, not by at&t. i believe our right to privacy is protected by the courts and the laws constructed and these are very experienced people.

They look at the issues one by one and make decisions.

We are in a different age today.

Surveillance in the cold war, having submarines chase each other around in the ocean is quite a different than dealing with shadowy enemies who seek to do great damage.

Let's face it -- the homeland of the u.s. is the number one target all stop this is a what if scenario.

What if snowden is right and the nsa is finding some way into google's store house of information or apple or at&t without that fisa court order?

Would you feel the same way about it then?

If they are violating the law, they are not acting under the rules of the law -- that's what i'm asking.

I would be very bothered by that.

At this point, i don't believe they are but i don't have information to corroborate.

If that is the case, would you feel the same way about edward snowden?


Because i think you went well beyond that.

He abused the position he had.

He made his own set of decisions and was judge and jury and prosecutor the case himself and said i'm doing this without regard to the implications of those decisions on people's lives.

Do you think telecoms run the risk of losing business overseas from those not comfortable with surveillance?

That's a hard question to answer.

I think trust has clearly been tested.

When they hear things like the president of brazil being tapped or angela merkel, all of those things are bothersome and the president has had to deal with that fallout.

At the same time, the number one job of the nsa and the president is to ensure the security and safety of citizens hear the best they can under the laws we have.

If the president decides the phone companies, at&t and verizon have to hold onto the records of these people for years, is that a workable solution or are at&t and verizon going to say not my problem?

I really don't think they would want to do it.

At&t and verizon -- there are too many things that could happen.

You are protecting information for other people and it seems like a giant liability was no upside.

If the government wants and needs it, it needs to make the proper decisions about how to do it.

Not leave it in the private sector.

We're going to take a quick

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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