NSA revelations only ‘the tip of the iceberg,’ says Dem lawmaker
By Daniel Strauss – 06/12/13 12:51 PM ET
The federal surveillance programs revealed in media reports are just "the tip of the iceberg," a House Democrat said Wednesday.
Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) said lawmakers learned "significantly more" about the spy programs at the National Security Agency (NSA) during a briefing on Tuesday with counterterrorism officials.
"What we learned in there," Sanchez said, "is significantly more than what is out in the media today."
Lawmakers are barred from revealing the classified information they receive in intelligence briefings, and Sanchez was careful not to specify what members might have learned about the NSA’s work.
"I can’t speak to what we learned in there, and I don’t know if there are other leaks, if there’s more information somewhere, if somebody else is going to step up, but I will tell you that I believe it’s the tip of the iceberg," she said.
Sanchez’s remarks on C-SPAN’s "Washington Journal" came a day after House lawmakers were briefed by national security officials on clandestine data collection programs.
The briefing was meant to convince lawmakers that the surveillance programs are legal and necessary in fighting counterterrorism — an argument President Obama and other administration officials have made.
Lawmakers demanded the briefings after revelations last week about the NSA’s collection of phone records and Internet data, and Sanchez said lawmakers were "astounded" by what they heard.
"I think it’s just broader than most people even realize, and I think that’s, in one way, what astounded most of us, too," Sanchez said of the briefing.
June 11, 2013
Would you be willing to give up what Edward Snowden has given up? He has given up his high paying job, his home, his girlfriend, his family, his future and his freedom just to expose the monolithic spy machinery that the U.S. government has been secretly building to the world. He says that he does not want to live in a world where there isn’t any privacy. He says that he does not want to live in a world where everything that he says and does is recorded. Thanks to Snowden, we now know that the U.S. government has been spying on us to a degree that most people would have never even dared to imagine. Up until now, the general public has known very little about the U.S. government spy grid that knows almost everything about us.
But making this information public is going to cost Edward Snowden everything. Essentially, his previous life is now totally over. And if the U.S. government gets their hands on him, he will be very fortunate if he only has to spend the next several decades rotting in some horrible prison somewhere. There is a reason why government whistleblowers are so rare. And most Americans are so apathetic that they wouldn’t even give up watching their favorite television show for a single evening to do something good for society. Most Americans never even try to make a difference because they do not believe that it will benefit them personally. Meanwhile, our society continues to fall apart all around us. Hopefully the great sacrifice that Edward Snowden has made will not be in vain. Hopefully people will carefully consider what he has tried to share with the world. The following are 27 quotes from Edward Snowden about U.S. government spying that should send a chill up your spine…
#1 “The majority of people in developed countries spend at least some time interacting with the Internet, and Governments are abusing that necessity in secret to extend their powers beyond what is necessary and appropriate.”
#2 “…I believe that at this point in history, the greatest danger to our freedom and way of life comes from the reasonable fear of omniscient State powers kept in check by nothing more than policy documents.”
#3 “The government has granted itself power it is not entitled to. There is no public oversight. The result is people like myself have the latitude to go further than they are allowed to.”
#4 “…I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.”
#5 “The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything.”
#6 “With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your e-mails or your wife’s phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your e-mails, passwords, phone records, credit cards.”
#7 “Any analyst at any time can target anyone. Any selector, anywhere… I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge, to even the President…”
#8 “To do that, the NSA specifically targets the communications of everyone. It ingests them by default. It collects them in its system and it filters them and it analyzes them and it measures them and it stores them for periods of time simply because that’s the easiest, most efficient and most valuable way to achieve these ends. So while they may be intending to target someone associated with a foreign government, or someone that they suspect of terrorism, they are collecting YOUR communications to do so.”
#9 “I believe that when [senator Ron] Wyden and [senator Mark] Udall asked about the scale of this, they [the NSA] said it did not have the tools to provide an answer. We do have the tools and I have maps showing where people have been scrutinized most. We collect more digital communications from America than we do from the Russians.”
#10 “…they are intent on making every conversation and every form of behavior in the world known to them.”
#11 “Even if you’re not doing anything wrong, you’re being watched and recorded. …it’s getting to the point where you don’t have to have done anything wrong, you simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody, even by a wrong call, and then they can use this system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you’ve ever made, every friend you’ve ever discussed something with, and attack you on that basis, to sort of derive suspicion from an innocent life.”
#12 “Allowing the U.S. government to intimidate its people with threats of retaliation for revealing wrongdoing is contrary to the public interest.”
#13 “Everyone everywhere now understands how bad things have gotten — and they’re talking about it. They have the power to decide for themselves whether they are willing to sacrifice their privacy to the surveillance state.”
#14 “I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under.”
#15 “I don’t want to live in a world where there’s no privacy, and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity.”
#16 “I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong.”
#17 “I had been looking for leaders, but I realized that leadership is about being the first to act.”
#18 “There are more important things than money. If I were motivated by money, I could have sold these documents to any number of countries and gotten very rich.”
#19 “The great fear that I have regarding the outcome for America of these disclosures is that nothing will change. [People] won’t be willing to take the risks necessary to stand up and fight to change things… And in the months ahead, the years ahead, it’s only going to get worse. [The NSA will] say that… because of the crisis, the dangers that we face in the world, some new and unpredicted threat, we need more authority, we need more power, and there will be nothing the people can do at that point to oppose it. And it will be turnkey tyranny.”
#20 “I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant.”
#21 “You can’t come up against the world’s most powerful intelligence agencies and not accept the risk.”
#22 “I know the media likes to personalize political debates, and I know the government will demonize me.”
#23 “We have got a CIA station just up the road – the consulate here in Hong Kong – and I am sure they are going to be busy for the next week. And that is a concern I will live with for the rest of my life, however long that happens to be.”
#24 “I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions, and that the return of this information to the public marks my end.”
#25 “There’s no saving me.”
#26 “The only thing I fear is the harmful effects on my family, who I won’t be able to help any more. That’s what keeps me up at night.”
#27 “I do not expect to see home again.”
Would you make the same choice that Edward Snowden made? Most Americans would not. One CNN reporter says that he really admires Snowden because he has tried to get insiders to come forward with details about government spying for years, but none of them were ever willing to…
As a digital technology writer, I have had more than one former student and colleague tell me about digital switchers they have serviced through which calls and data are diverted to government servers or the big data algorithms they’ve written to be used on our e-mails by intelligence agencies. I always begged them to write about it or to let me do so while protecting their identities. They refused to come forward and believed my efforts to shield them would be futile. “I don’t want to lose my security clearance. Or my freedom,” one told me.
And if the U.S. government has anything to say about it, Snowden is most definitely going to pay for what he has done. In fact, according to the Daily Beast, a directorate known as “the Q Group” is already hunting Snowden down…
The people who began chasing Snowden work for the Associate Directorate for Security and Counterintelligence, according to former U.S. intelligence officers who spoke on condition of anonymity. The directorate, sometimes known as “the Q Group,” is continuing to track Snowden now that he’s outed himself as The Guardian’s source, according to the intelligence officers.
If Snowden is not already under the protection of some foreign government (such as China), it will just be a matter of time before U.S. government agents get him.
And how will they treat him once they find him? Well, one reporter overheard a group of U.S. intelligence officials talking about how Edward Snowden should be “disappeared”. The following is from a Daily Mail article that was posted on Monday…
A group of intelligence officials were overheard yesterday discussing how the National Security Agency worker who leaked sensitive documents to a reporter last week should be ‘disappeared.’
Foreign policy analyst and editor at large of The Atlantic, Steve Clemons, tweeted about the ‘disturbing’ conversation after listening in to four men who were sitting near him as he waited for a flight at Washington’s Dulles airport.
‘In Dulles UAL lounge listening to 4 US intel officials saying loudly leaker & reporter on #NSA stuff should be disappeared recorded a bit,’ he tweeted at 8:42 a.m. on Saturday.
According to Clemons, the men had been attending an event hosted by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance.
As an American, I am deeply disturbed that the U.S. government is embarrassing itself in front of the rest of the world like this.
The fact that we are collecting trillions of pieces of information on people all over the planet is a massive embarrassment and the fact that our politicians are defending this practice now that it has been exposed is a massive embarrassment.
If the U.S. government continues to act like a Big Brother police state, then the rest of the world will eventually conclude that is exactly what we are. At that point we become the “bad guy” and we lose all credibility with the rest of the planet.
“Good German” syndrome runs rampant as government becomes tyrannical
Paul Joseph Watson
June 11, 2013
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has sacrificed his freedom, his future, his family, his home and his model girlfriend in order to warn Americans that they are the targets of a monolithic spy agency which is working feverishly to ensure that privacy is demolished – and most Americans simply don’t care.
Revelations that the National Security Agency was collecting records of millions of US customers of Verizon under a secret court order issued in April, followed by news that the NSA was also pulling private data “directly from the servers” of major US service providers such as Google and Facebook, stoked international condemnation, but not from American citizens, most of whom actually support the idea.
“A majority of Americans – 56% – say the National Security Agency’s (NSA) program tracking the telephone records of millions of Americans is an acceptable way for the government to investigate terrorism,” reports Pew Research Center.
A comparison with a previous poll from January 2006 highlights the fact that more Americans are now likely to support NSA surveillance despite the huge scandal it caused for the Bush administration. Under Bush, 47% found NSA wiretapping of Americans unacceptable whereas just 41% find it unacceptable under Obama.
The poll also finds that whereas 61% of Democrats found blanket NSA surveillance unacceptable under Bush, only 34% oppose it under Obama – underscoring once again how partisanship is used to dismantle American freedoms no matter who is in office.
The survey also reveals that just one on four Americans are following the NSA story “very closely,” whereas the other 73% are presumably more interested in the release of the new XBox and season 17 of Dancing With the Stars.
“Sorry Edward Snowden: you just threw your life away for nothing. The sheep have been properly and thoroughly conditioned and brainwashed, which is why they continue to get precisely the government they so rightfully deserve,” writes Zero Hedge.
While the NSA sites the necessity to stop “terrorism” as its justification for eviscerating the 4th Amendment, the Obama administration is simultaneously supporting Al-Qaeda terrorists in Syria, many of whom have promised to attack the United States once they have finished with Bashar Al-Assad.
The irony of Snowden having to run to Communist China to escape from “the land of the free” is a chilling subtext to the story. Other authoritarian regimes throughout history have also cited security threats as a reason to put the entire population under surveillance.
As Robert Gellately of Florida State University has highlighted, Germans under Hitler spied on and denounced their neighbors and friends not because they genuinely believed them to be a security threat, but because they expected to selfishly benefit from doing so, both financially, socially and psychologically via a pavlovian need to be rewarded by their masters for their obedience.
That “Good German” syndrome is very much alive and kicking amongst Americans today, most of whom seem to be completely at ease with the fact that their government is becoming tyrannical while willing to make any excuse imaginable to deny that the United States is beginning to resemble a high-tech plutocracy which treats its own citizens as the enemy.
June 11, 2013
Efforts are underway to portray the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden as an intelligence operative working for China. On Sunday, it was reported that officials in the United States are seriously considering the possibility the Booz Allen analyst works for the Chinese.
“On the face of it, it looks like it’s under some sort of Chinese control,” former CIA officer Robert Baer told CNN. Baer said because Snowden fled to Hong Kong, one of two Special Administrative Regions of China, instead of a more friendly country such as Sweden or Iceland, it is likely he is working for the Chinese government. Baer said that if Snowden “really wanted to make a statement” about NSA surveillance, “he should have done it on Capitol Hill.”
“We’ll never get him from China. There’s not a chance. He’ll disappear there,” he predicted. “He won’t be able to go anywhere else, but if, in fact, the Chinese had a hand in this … they’re not about to send him to The United States.”
It was was reported on Tuesday that Snowden had in fact disappeared. Members of the corporate media, eager to interview the whistleblower, fanned out around Hong Kong, but said they were unable to locate him.
Brian Jones, writing for Business Insider, reported that “the most reliable information we have is that he has so far eluded capture, that he has left his hotel in Hong Kong, and that he is still in the region — that according to Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, who first broke the story.”
Obama’s spokesman, Jay Carney, declined to comment on Snowden during a press conference on Monday. “I will say at the outset that there is obviously an investigation underway into this matter,” Carney told reporters. “And for that reason, I am not going to be able to discuss specifically this individual or this investigation … nor would I characterize the president’s views on an individual or an ongoing investigation.”
“In general leaks of sensitive classified information that cause harm to our national security interests are a problem,” he said.
If apprehended, the case against Edward Snowden will undoubtedly be strengthened if the government can portray him as a Chinese intelligence asset and not a patriotic American taking a principled stand on NSA surveillance.
“I just don’t see any way out of it,” Baer told CNN. “Whether you agree with him or not, he’s violated the law. They cannot let this pass.”
June 11, 2013
“The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the federal government. We must be alert to the … danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific technological elite.”
President Dwight D. Eisenhower
January 17, 1961
In 2011, when we noted that Everything You Do Is Monitored, we weren’t embellishing or fear mongering.
This is as real as it gets.
The National Security Agency’s collection of phone data from all of Verizon’s U.S. customers is just the “tip of the iceberg,” says a former NSA official who estimates the agency has data on as many as 20 trillion phone calls and emails by U.S. citizens.
William Binney, an award-winning mathematician and noted NSAwhistleblower, says the collection dates back to when the super-secret agency began domestic surveillance after the Sept. 11 attacks.
“I believe they’ve been collecting data about all domestic calls since October 2001,” said Mr. Binney, who worked at NSA for more than 30 years. “That’s more than a billion calls a day.”
The data were collected under a highly classified NSA program code-named “Stellar Wind,” which was part of the warrantless domestic wiretapping effort — the Terrorist Surveillance Program — launched on orders from President George W. Bush.
But don’t kid yourself if you think the only data being aggregated, recorded and analyzed is who you called or emailed.
Let’s be clear: EVERYTHING.
Binney explained that the government is taking the position that it can gather and use any informationabout American citizens living on U.S. soil if it comes from:
Any service provider … any third party … any commercial company – like a telecom orinternet service provider, libraries, medical companies – holding data about anyone,any U.S. citizen or anyone else.
I then asked the NSA veteran if the government’s claim that it is only spying on metadata – and not content – was correct. We have extensively documented that the government is likely recordingcontentas well. (And the government has previously admitted to “accidentally” collecting more information on Americans than was legal, and then gagged the judges so they couldn’t disclose the nature or extent of the violations.)
Binney said that was not true; the government is gathering everything, including content.
Binney explained – as he has many times before – that the government is storing everything, and creating a searchable database … to be used whenever it wants, for any purpose it wants (even just going after someone it doesn’t like).
Binney said that former FBI counter-terrorism agent Tim Clemente is correct when he says thatnodigital data is safe (Clemente says that all digital communications are being recorded).
Binney gave me an idea of how powerful Narus recording systems are. There are probably 18 of them around the country, and they can each record 10 gigabytes of data – the equivalent of a million and a quarter emails with 1,000 characters each – per second.
Source: Washington’s Blog
The surveillance grid is being put into place all around us and its capabilities are unimaginable to most – something that could only exist in the realm of Hollywood plots.
But this is no $80 million Hollywood movie. The budget for the U.S. government’s surveillance program is 1,000 times that.
At an estimated $80 billion this production employs nearly one million people.
Moreover, anyone who uses a machine to send information – of any kind – over the internet, is indirectly employed by these agencies, as well.
The net is expansive – and it’s growing.
Realistically, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where the government simply puts an end to the spying, lays off these one million people, and calls it a day.
Our Congress authorized these activities with the Patriot Act, and subsequent laws that have been enacted since. While this doesn’t mean the new mandates and regulations are just in the eyes of the Constitution, the machine has given itself permission to do exactly what they’ve done. And if the sentiment of Republican Senator Lindsey Graham is shared by the rest of his colleagues, this is only going to get worse:
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) must have studied his Police State Handbook before giving an interview regarding the Verizon scandal.
“I think we should be concerned about terrorists trying to infiltrate our country and attack us and trying to coordinate activities from overseas within inside the country…
…I’m a Verizon customer. I don’t mind Verizon turning over records to the government if the government’s going to make sure that they try to match up a known terrorist phone with somebody in the United States. I don’t think you’re talking to terrorists. I know you’re not. I know I’m not. So, we don’t have anything to worry about.”
Via: The Organic Prepper
What we have to worry about, Senator Graham, is unprecedented intrusion into every aspect of our lives and a government that will use that information to presume every citizen of this nation guilty in the eyes of the law.
“If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.”
-Cardinal Richelieu, Armand Jean du Plessis (link)
Despite what this police statist may believe is within the scope of government’s responsibility, the fourth amendment of our Constitution is very clear on this.
As human beings we all have a right to be safe and secure in our persons, homes, and personal effects. This includes our personal private communications and activities.
The government of this country has overstepped its bounds.
The only solution is handcuffs for ALL those responsible for authorizing such transgressions against a free people.
We’re not trying to be pessimists here, but since the odds of that happening are slim to none, we must assume that every digital interaction within the Prism is subject to monitoring. This includes the obvious communication devices like phones and computers, but likewise encompasses your Wifi connected dishwasher, your video gaming system, vehicular GPS tracking, credit card transaction, visits to your doctor, and any appearance you make in front of a camera or microphone. And within just a few short years, even your daily movements, from the minute you step outside your door, will be monitored by a web of thousands of drones hovering quietly above.
All of it is being tapped by a network of processors so advanced that they can record and aggregate yottabytes of data (A yottabyte is equivalent to about 100 trillion DVD’s).
These capabilities exist right now, and they are being used to watch your every move.
The matrix has you.
June 10, 2013
Today, a bipartisan coalition of 86 civil liberties organizations and Internet companies – including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, reddit, Mozilla, FreedomWorks, and the American Civil Liberties Union – are demanding swift action from Congress in light of the recent revelations about unchecked domestic surveillance.
In an open letter to lawmakers sent today, the groups call for a congressional investigatory committee, similar to the Church Committee of the 1970s. The letter also demands legal reforms to rein in domestic spying and demands that public officials responsible for this illegal surveillance are held accountable for their actions.
The letter denounces the NSA’s spying program as illegal, noting:
This type of blanket data collection by the government strikes at bedrock American values of freedom and privacy. This dragnet surveillance violates the First and Fourth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, which protect citizens’ right to speak and associate anonymously and guard against unreasonable searches and seizures that protect their right to privacy.
The letter was accompanied by the launch of StopWatching.us, a global petition calling on Congress to provide a public accounting of the United States’ domestic spying capabilites and to bring an end to illegal surveillance.
The groups call for a number of specific legal reforms, including reform to the controversial Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, the “business records” section which, through secret court orders, was misused to force Verizon to provide the NSA with detailed phone records of millions of customers. The groups also call on Congress to reform the FISA Amendment Act, the unconstitutional law that allows, nearly without restriction, the government to conduct mass surveillance on American and international communications. The letter and petition also demand that Congress amend the state secrets privilege, the legal tool that has expanded over the last 10 years to prevent the government from being held accountable for domestic surveillance.
As Mark Rumold, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation who focuses on government transparency and national security, says, “Now is the time for Congress to act. We don’t need a narrow fix to one part of the PATRIOT Act; we need a full public accounting of how the United States is turning sophisticated spying technology on its own citizens, we need accountability from public officials, and we need an overhaul of the laws to ensure these abuses can never happen again.”
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is urging concerned netizens to join this campaign by signing their names to StopWatching.us.
Full text of the open letter:
Dear Members of Congress,
We write to express our concern about recent reports published in the Guardian and the Washington Post, and acknowledged by the Obama Administration, which reveal secret spying by the National Security Agency (NSA) on phone records and Internet activity of people in the United States.
The Washington Post and the Guardian recently published reports based on information provided by a career intelligence officer showing how the NSA and the FBI are gaining broad access to data collected by nine of the leading U.S. Internet companies and sharing this information with foreign governments. As reported, the U.S. government is extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time. As a result, the contents of communications of people both abroad and in the U.S. can be swept in without any suspicion of crime or association with a terrorist organization.
Leaked reports also published by the Guardian and confirmed by the Administration reveal that the NSA is also abusing a controversial section of the PATRIOT Act to collect the call records of millions of Verizon customers. The data collected by the NSA includes every call made, the time of the call, the duration of the call, and other “identifying information” for millions of Verizon customers, including entirely domestic calls, regardless of whether those customers have ever been suspected of a crime. The Wall Street Journalhas reported that other major carriers, including AT&T and Sprint, are subject to similar secret orders.
This type of blanket data collection by the government strikes at bedrock American values of freedom and privacy. This dragnet surveillance violates the First and Fourth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, which protect citizens’ right to speak and associate anonymously and guard against unreasonable searches and seizures that protect their right to privacy.
We are calling on Congress to take immediate action to halt this surveillance and provide a full public accounting of the NSA’s and the FBI’s data collection programs. We call on Congress to immediately andpublicly:
1. Enact reform this Congress to Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, the state secrets privilege, and the FISA Amendments Act to make clear that blanket surveillance of the Internet activity and phone records of any person residing in the U.S. is prohibited by law and that violations can be reviewed in adversarial proceedings before a public court;
2. Create a special committee to investigate, report, and reveal to the public the extent of this domestic spying. This committee should create specific recommendations for legal and regulatory reform to end unconstitutional surveillance;
3. Hold accountable those public officials who are found to be responsible for this unconstitutional surveillance.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Advocacy for Principled Action in Government
American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression
American Civil Liberties Union
American Civil Liberties Union of California
American Library Association
Association of Research Libraries
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Center for Democracy and Technology
Center for Digital Democracy
Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights
Center for Media and Democracy
Center for Media Justice
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Cyber Privacy Project
Defending Dissent Foundation
Detroit Digital Justice Coalition
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Entertainment Consumers Association
Fight for the Future
Foundation for Innovation and Internet Freedom
Free Software Foundation
Freedom of the Press Foundation
Friends of Privacy USA
Get FISA Right
Government Accountability Project
Institute of Popular Education of Southern California (IDEPSCA)
Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)
Law Life Culture
May First/People Link
Media Mobilizing Project, Philadelphia
National Coalition Against Censorship
New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC
Open Technology Institute
Participatory Politics Foundation
Patient Privacy Rights
People for the American Way
Personal Democracy Media
Privacy and Access Council of Canada
Public Interest Advocacy Centre (Ottawa, Canada)
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
Rights Working Group
Rocky Mountain Civil Liberties Association
Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic
Taxpayers Protection Alliance
The AIDS Policy Project, Philadelphia
TURN-The Utility Reform Network
Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center
William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI)
World Wide Web Foundation
Clapper under fire for suggesting no knowledge of fed’s massive phone, email collecting
Published June 11, 2013
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is under fire for statements he made before Congress that suggested he had no knowledge about federal government programs that collected data on millions of Americans’ phone calls and Internet activities.
In March, Clapper said at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing that he was not aware that the National Security Agency was involved in such large-scale efforts.
The questioning of Clapper’s statements follow blockbuster news last week that the federal government has since 9/11 been logging millions, perhaps billions, of calls and Internet activities and as the NSA’s top official goes before the same Senate committee for a closed-door briefing on the issue.
"Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?" Oregon Republican Sen. Ron Wyden asked Clapper at the March 12 hearing.
"No, sir," Clapper responded.
"It does not?" Wyden pressed.
Clapper recanted and said: "Not wittingly. There are cases where they could, inadvertently perhaps, collect — but not wittingly."
Wyden, one of the staunchest critics of government surveillance programs, said Tuesday that Clapper did not give him a straight answer and called for hearings to discuss the two recently-revealed NSA programs that collect billions of telephone numbers and Internet usage daily.
Wyden was also among a group of senators who introduced legislation Tuesday to force the government to declassify opinions of a secret court that authorizes the surveillance.
"The American people have the right to expect straight answers from the intelligence leadership to the questions asked by their representatives," Wyden said in a statement.
Wyden said he first asked NSA Director Keith Alexander for clarity about data collecting. And when he did not get a satisfactory answer, Wyden said, he alerted Clapper’s office a day early that he would ask the same question at the public hearing.
Meanwhile, the 29-year-old American who says he’s the source of the leaks remains in hiding.
Edward Snowden, the former CIA employee and NSA contract worker, was in a Hong Kong hotel but reportedly checked out after the release of a video Sunday in which he claimed to be the source of the U.S. surveillance leaks.
The Justice Department said Sunday it is considering charges against Snowden, days after The Guardian and The Washington Post published stories about the phone calls logging and an NSA-led program, code-named PRISM, that vacuumed email, instant messages and other Internet activities.
Snowden has fled to Hong Kong in hopes of escaping criminal charges as lawmakers including Senate intelligence chairwoman Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California accuse him of committing an "act of treason" that should be prosecuted.
On Tuesday, a day after Snowden checked out of the trendy hotel in the Chinese territory of Hong Kong, large photos of his face were splashed on most Hong Kong newspapers with headlines such as "Deep Throat Hides in HK," and "World’s Most Wanted Man Breaks Cover in Hong Kong."
If and when the Justice Department charges Snowden, its next step will likely be to ask the International Criminal Police Organization, or Interpol, for a provisional request to arrest him pending extradition to the United States.
Members of Congress said they will take a new look at ways to keep the U.S. safe from terror attacks without giving up privacy protections that critics charge are at risk with the government’s current authority to broadly sweep up personal communications.
"There’s very little trust in the government, and that’s for good reason," said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who sits on the House Intelligence Committee. "We’re our own worst enemy."
A senior U.S. intelligence official said Monday there were no plans to scrap the federal data-mining programs that continues to receive widespread if cautious support within Congress, despite the backlash. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive security issue.
Clapper has also taken the unusual step of declassifying some of the previously top-secret details to help the administration mount a public defense of the surveillance as a necessary step to protect Americans.
In other developments, one of the reporters who exposed the classified surveillance programs said Tuesday he is planning on disclosing more "significant revelations" soon.
Glenn Greenwald, of The Guardian, said the paper is deciding when to release the next story based on information in documents reportedly given him by Snowden.
Greenwald claims "dozens" of stories can be generated from the documents, and that the Guardian plans to pursue all of them.
Snowden faces decades in jail for the disclosures if the U.S. can extradite him. He says his sole motive was to “inform the public.”
In a video that appeared on the Guardian’s website, Snowden said the surveillance programs are wide open to abuse.
"Any analyst at any time can target anyone. Any selector. Anywhere," he said. "I, sitting at my desk, had the authority to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant to a federal judge to even the president if I had a personal e-mail."
Snowden worked for defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton and says he was a CIA technical assistant.
Booz Allen released a statement Tuesday saying Snowden has been fired and that he was paid $122,000 annually, not $200,000 as widely reported.
Snowden had worked for Booz Allen as a contractor in Hawaii for less than three months. Company officials have promised to work with investigators.
Snowden told the Guardian he believes the government could try to charge him with treason under the Espionage Act.
But Mark Zaid, a national security attorney who represents whistle-blowers, said such a move would require the government to prove he had intent to betray the United States. Snowden has said his “sole motive” was to inform the public and spur debate.
In a note accompanying the first set of documents he provided to The Guardian, Snowden wrote: "I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions," but "I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant."
Snowden told The Post he was not going to hide.
"Allowing the U.S. government to intimidate its people with threats of retaliation for revealing wrongdoing is contrary to the public interest," he said in the interview published Sunday. Snowden said he would "ask for asylum from any countries that believe in free speech and oppose the victimization of global privacy."
Snowden wants to seek asylum outside the United States, possibly in Iceland, The Guardian reports.
Washington officials have acknowledged all branches of the federal government — Congress, the White House and federal courts — knew about the collection of data under the Patriot Act.
PRISM allows the federal government to tap directly into the servers of major U.S. Internet companies such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and AOL, scooping out emails, video chats, instant messages and more to track foreign nationals who are suspected of terrorism or espionage.
The chief executives of Facebook and Google have said their companies were not aware of the data grab.
Officials say the government is not listening to any of the phone calls, only logging the numbers.
President Obama, Clapper and others also have said the programs are subject to strict supervision of a secret court.
Obama said Friday that the programs have made a difference in tracking terrorists and are not tantamount to "Big Brother."
The president acknowledged the U.S. government is collecting reams of phone records, including phone numbers and the duration of calls, but said this does not include listening to calls or gathering the names of callers.
"You can’t have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience,” he said. “We’re going to have to make some choices as a society."
However, the president said he welcomes a debate on that issue.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
June 11, 2013
“Any analyst at any time can target anyone. Any selector, anywhere… I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge, to even the President…” – NSA spy grid whistleblower Edward Snowden.
And so it begins: the power to tap the private phone calls of a federal judge or even the President. All at the fingertips of young NSA analysts who sift through masses of private data collected through the government’s back doors into the servers of Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple, Skype, AOL and others. (Here’s the proof.)
But if a 29-year-old working for the NSA could wiretap a federal judge, he could also wiretap a U.S. Supreme Court justice. Anything he found that was embarrassing or even incriminating could be used in a simple blackmail threat to force that justice to change his or her decision on a key issue…
… like Obamacare.
What we’ve learned today forces us to re-examine events of 2012
Back in July of 2012, news headlines were ablaze with the revelation that Supreme Court Justice John Roberts suddenly and unexpectedly changed his decision on Obamacare, siding with big government instead of protecting individual liberties. Many facts surrounding this sudden change of decision raise huge red flags when viewed in the context of the NSA being able to wiretap anyone’s emails, phone calls and private files — including a Supreme Court justice.
As CBS news reported in 2012, “Chief Justice John Roberts initially sided with the Supreme Court’s four conservative justices to strike down the heart of President Obama’s health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act, but later changed his position and formed an alliance with liberals to uphold the bulk of the law, according to two sources with specific knowledge of the deliberations. Roberts then withstood a month-long, desperate campaign to bring him back to his original position, the sources said.”
Regardless of the strength of the supporting evidence brought to Roberts during his time of consideration for the decision, nothing caused him to budge. Roberts was inexplicably immovable, even though he was now siding against nearly everything he had argued and decided in previous court cases.
No one could satisfactorily explain the decision… until the NSA PRISM scandal erupted. Now, we all of a sudden have a viable explanation for what really goes on behind the public headlines.
Consider this: If a group of men had the power to peek into the private conversations of ALL Americans — including the most powerful and influential decision makers in the nation — why would they waste their time looking for so-called “terrorists” in the first place? There’s a far more valuable use for this “omniscient” technology: collecting huge payoffs to blackmail important members of Congress, the Obama administration or the Supreme Court.
How easy would it be to blackmail a Supreme Court Justice?
Blackmailing a U.S. Supreme Court justice is probably easier than you might think. These justices are, of course, human, which means they all have secrets they’d rather not be made public. With its highly intrusive surveillance technology, the NSA could easily gather the usernames, passwords, emails, voice calls, text chats, photos and files of every member of the Supreme Court (and Congress, for that matter), then threaten to leak certain details to the press if they don’t do what they’re told.
We don’t know, of course, whether this actually happened with Roberts. His decision to flip on Obamacarecould have been motivated by some other bizarre influence, but this NSA spy grid blackmail theory is the first realistic theory I’ve run across that would explain the sudden and inexplicable shift in his opinion.
Think about it: The health insurance companies — which are largely owned by globalist banks and investors — stand to make trillions of dollars from the forced buying of insurance via the “individual mandate” that was being decided by the Court. Because the Court was almost evenly divided on the issue, the changing of the opinion of just one justice could tilt the decision in favor of the insurance industry and lock in enormous profits for years to come. So if the NSA approached the insurance globalists and said something like, “Pay us $500 million and we’ll hand you the Obamacare decision,” the answer would obviously be, “to where do we transfer the money?” It’s a cheap investment for a windfall of long-term profits. And health insurance companies — like any large corporations — don’t “play fair.” They play to win.
The NSA is now the most powerful organization in the world
I hope you’re beginning to fully grasp the power that is now concentrated in the hands of the NSA. An organization that has the power to covertly pry into the private lives of everyone also has the power to control everyone. There is no greater currency in Washington, of course, than to have real dirt on the people you’d like to control.
The NSA spy grid “PRISM” program is like a Dirt Devil. It’s the Dyson vortex vacuum of politics… on steroids. If there’s dirt to be found on anyone, the NSA can find it. That dirt can then be used as “insurance” — mob-style — to make sure the people you’re targeting behave in the way you want them to behave. This would include, of course, voting the correct way on key legislation or court decisions.
Right this very minute, the NSA almost certainly has a full dossier on every member of Congress, federal judge, State Dept. employee and high-powered corporate CEO in the country. And because the creepiest people tend to rise to the top in politics, there’s no doubt these files contain all sorts of graphic details on prostitutes, under-age sex, secret homosexual relationships, cheating on husbands and wives, substance abuse problems, medical problems and much more. Do you know which members of Congress have smoked pot or snorted coke? The NSA probably does. How about which members of the Obama administration have ever engaged in “experimental” gay sex in college? The NSA knows all that too, no doubt.
This knowledge is far more valuable than any hunt for terrorists. There is no question in my mind that the NSA has already figured this out and has been using this spy grid behemoth for nefarious purposes to pull the strings of key decision makers across our society. This may be the explanation behind all sorts of inexplicable votes and bizarre decisions in Washington. The NSA might even be the puppet pulling Obama’s strings, as they no doubt have all sorts of dirt on Obama’s history which we already know to be largely fabricated. (Real birth certificates don’t have a dozen layers stitched together in Photoshop.)
The power to spy is the power to control
You gotta hand it to whoever built this spy grid from the ground up. It’s a brilliant covert tactic of dominant control. With all the slimebags rising to positions of power in Washington, can you imagine the absolute treasure chest of low-hanging blackmail fruit that would be easily uncovered by sifting through the private emails and phone calls of lawmakers and bureaucrats?
Take DHS as the tip of the iceberg. Last year, several male DHS employees sued the agency, claiming they were forced to perform deviant sex acts on their female bosses. There’s no question that DHS is staffed up with total perverts and sexual predators, which is why we frequently hear stories of the TSA molesting little children (the TSA is part of DHS).
Can you imagine what the private emails and phone calls of Janet Napolitano look like? (Shield my eyes! I don’t even wanna know!)
Or Anthony Weiner, the congressman who sexted a bunch of half-nude pictures of himself to young women?
Usually the more power hungry these people are, the more deviant and perverse they behave when they think no one is looking. That makes them all incredibly easy to be compromised by the NSA — the techno-mob with the ultimate power to control through intimidation.
And if the NSA can really control all these people — or at least some of them — it begs the question: What are the NSA’s aims? Who are the people calling the shots and where do their loyalties lie?
Ever further down the rabbit hole is this question: Are these also the same people running global terrorist networks in order to justify their own existence? Or if that’s too nefarious to believe, would you believe these people might willfully look the other way with certain terror groups in order to make sure they keep operating?
Perhaps the NSA is actually in the business of NOT catching terrorists in order to make sure its own power and financial budgets keep growing. And perhaps the NSA’s real business is shaking down corporate interests that pay huge dollars to have key decisions in Washington hijacked via blackmail.
This is far more believable that the utter nonsense explanation we’re told by the media which says the NSA is “catching terrorists.” Really? Show me one! In reality, there’s no evidence whatsoever that the NSA has stopped even a single act of genuine terrorism that targeted Americans.
Remember: Enormous power coupled with a complete abandonment of ethics can only lead in the direction of corruption and evil. Without checks and balances, the NSA will become a rogue criminal mafia that terrorizes everyone… and can be stopped by no one.
Boehner brands Edward Snowden ‘a traitor’ as the U.S. government ‘prepares to charge whistleblower for leaking secrets’
By ASSOCIATED PRESS and DAILY MAIL REPORTER
PUBLISHED: 13:22 GMT, 11 June 2013 | UPDATED: 18:19 GMT, 11 June 2013
House Speaker John Boehner today branded NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden a ‘traitor’ as U.S. officials reportedly start the process of filing charges against him for leaking government secrets.
Snowden, 29, an employee of government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, has admitted that he provided documents about government spying operations to The Guardian newspaper.
He has fled to Hong Kong to elude U.S. authorities, but CBS reported on Tuesday that officials are now preparing to bring charges against him.
‘He’s a traitor,’ Boehner told ABC News. ‘The disclosure of this information puts Americans at risk. It shows our adversaries what our capabilities are. And it’s a giant violation of the law.’
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Anger: House Speaker John Boehner has branded the NSA whistleblower a ‘traitor’ for endangering his nation
‘Danger’: Boehner told George Stephanopoulos that Snowden’s actions put the U.S. at risk
Boehner: Snowden is a traitor
Boehner backed President Obama’s characterization of two surveillance programs, which allow the NSA to gather information about phone calls and data collected from major internet companies.
He said the programs protect the country by helping officials fight terrorism.
‘The president outlined last week that these were important national security programs to help keep Americans safe, and give us tools to fight the terrorist threat that we face,’ Boehner said.
‘The president also outlined that there are appropriate safeguards in place to make sure that there’s no snooping, if you will, on Americans here at home.’
Senate intelligence chairwoman Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California has also accused Snowden of committing an ‘act of treason’ that should be prosecuted.
The tough talk comes as Snowden’s employers, Booz Allen Hamilton, announced on Tuesday that it has terminated his contract ‘for violations of the firm’s code of ethics and firm policy’.
Leak: Edward Snowden, who worked as a contract employee at the National Security Agency, has fled to Hong Kong after leaking government surveillance secrets. The U.S. is preparing to charge him
WILL RUSSIA HELP? OFFICIALS SAY ASYLUM WOULD BE A ‘GOOD IDEA’
Russia today hinted that Vladimir Putin would grant political asylum to Edward Snowden.
‘We will take action based on what actually happens. If we receive such a request, it will be considered,’ said the Russian president’s official spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
One Russian report stressed that the country has a consulate in Hong Kong where Snowden could make an asylum request.
Russian MP Robert Schlegel urged the Kremlin to look at a the possibility of granting political asylum to Snowden. ‘It would be a good idea,’ he said.
It’s unknown where Snowden will actually go, but Snowden had mentioned Iceland, a tiny island nation of 360,000, as a possibility.
It said that the claims he had leaked information were ‘shocking’ – and revealed that he was earning $122,000 rather than the $200,000 he told The Guardian he was paid.
As for his future prospects – although Hong Kong has an extradition treaty with the U.S., the document has some exceptions, including for crimes deemed political.
Any negotiations about his possible handover will involve Beijing, but some believe China is unlikely to want to jeopardize its relationship with the U.S. over someone of little political interest to them.
Snowden also told The Guardian that he may seek asylum in Iceland, which has strong free-speech protections and a tradition of providing a haven for the outspoken and the outcast.
The Justice Department is investigating whether his disclosures were a criminal offense – a matter that’s not always clear-cut under U.S. federal law.
A senior intelligence official said Snowden would have had to have signed a non-disclosure agreement to gain access to the top secret data.
That suggests he could be prosecuted for violating that agreement. Penalties could range from a few years to life in prison.
Hiding place: Snowden is in Hong Kong, pictured, but his exact whereabouts are unknown
IS HE PROTECTED IN HONG KONG? SNOWDEN’S UNCERTAIN FUTURE
Edward Snowden has fled to Hong Kong, which is a gamble, but the country’s free speech laws mean he does have a slim chance of avoiding being swept back to America if the government demand he returns.
Hong Kong signed an extradition treaty with the United States in 1997, just before Britain handed it back to China. In it both agreed to send fugitives back and forth in the majority of cases, but there were also political exemptions negotiated at the time.
Hong Kong has the ‘right of refusal when surrender implicates the "defense, foreign affairs or essential public interest or policy” of the People’s Republic of China’.
China itself has no extradition treaty with America at all.
Hong Kong officials also have the right to say no to extradition if they believe that the attempt is ‘politically motivated’. This means that they will protect free speech if a person is being arrested just for their political opinions.
The United States may have already approached Interpol or its consulate in Hong Kong to start proceedings. They will use the Espionage Act to gain warrants for his arrest.
Hong Kong’s authorities can hold Snowden for 60 days, following a U.S. request that includes probable cause, while Washington prepares a formal extradition request.
‘I think it is really tragic that an American has to move to a place that has a reputation for less freedom,’ he told The Guardian.
Snowden’s exact whereabouts were unknown on Monday.
If Snowden is forced to return to the United States to face charges, whistle-blower advocates said Monday that they would raise money for his legal defense.
‘All of the options, as he put it, are bad options,’ Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, who first reported the program and interviewed Snowden extensively, told The Associated Press.
He said Snowden decided to release details of the programs out of shock and anger over the sheer scope of the government’s privacy invasions.
‘It was his choice to publicly unveil himself,’ Greenwald said.
‘He recognized that even if he hadn’t publicly unveiled himself, it was only a matter of time before the U.S. government discovered that it was he who had been responsible for these disclosures, and he made peace with that… He’s very steadfast and resolute about the fact that he did the right thing.’
Greenwald told the AP that he had more documents from Snowden and expected ‘more significant revelations’ about NSA.
As questions surround his future, global and U.S. outrage at the programs continues.
In Washington, members of Congress said they would take a new look at potential ways to keep the U.S. safe from terror attacks without giving up privacy protections that critics charge are at risk with the government’s current authority to broadly sweep up personal communications.
‘There’s very little trust in the government, and that’s for good reason,’ said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee. ‘We’re our own worst enemy.’
A senior U.S. intelligence official on Monday said there were no plans to scrap the programs that, despite the backlash, continue to receive widespread if cautious support within Congress.
The programs were revealed last week by The Guardian and The Washington Post newspapers.
‘No options’: Glenn Greenwald, a reporter for The Guardian, said Snowden has no great options
National Intelligence Director James Clapper has taken the unusual step of declassifying some of the previously top-secret details to help the administration mount a public defense of the surveillance as a necessary step to protect Americans.
One of the NSA programs gathers hundreds of millions of U.S. phone records to search for possible links to known terrorist targets abroad. The other allows the government to tap into nine U.S. Internet companies and gather all communications to detect suspicious behavior that begins overseas.
Snowden is a former CIA employee who later worked as a contractor for the NSA on behalf of Booz Allen, where he gained access to the surveillance.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine said, it was ‘absolutely shocking’ that a 29-year-old with limited experience and no formal qualifications would have access to this material.
FBI agents on Monday visited the home of Snowden’s father, Lonnie Snowden, in Upper Macungie Township, Pennsylvania. The FBI in Philadelphia declined to comment.
“Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.”
June 11, 2013
Former Congressman Ron Paul offered up a heaping portion of Constitutional liberty on CNN’s Piers Morgan Live yesterday when he addressed the recent NSA spy grid scandal, which has linked several high tech giants, including Facebook, Microsoft and Skype, to a secret program in which the government agency was allowed access to those companies’ servers.
Asked if he considered NSA contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden a hero, Paul answered, “Well… he’s done a great service because he’s telling the truth and this is what we are starved for. The American people are starved for the truth.”
Snowden’s actions, first reported by the UK’s Guardian newspaper and next the Washington Post, have come under fierce scrutiny by members on both sides of the political divide, leading several politicians to label him a “traitor” and his leak of government secrets “treasonous.”
According to Paul, these are the tell-tale signs of a dictatorial government: “And when you have a dictatorship or an authoritarian government, truth becomes treasonous. And this is what they do if you are a whistleblower, or if you are trying to tell the American people that our country is destroying our rule of law and destroying our Constitution, they turn it around and say, ‘You’re committing treason…’”
The former Texas rep and three-time presidential candidate also spoke of the NSA’s scandal in terms of violating the Fourth Amendment, saying, “So essentially there is no Fourth Amendment anymore, and for somebody to tell the American people the truth is a heroic effort, and [Snowden] knows that it’s very risky. He knows he’s committing civil disobedience and he knows that he could get punished, but he believes… that what our government is doing to us is so serious that somebody has to speak out.”
Eliciting snickers from Morgan, Paul also joked that President Obama should actually thank Snowden for forcing him to fulfill a campaign promise, stating “Matter of fact, I think the president ought to send him a thank you letter, because the president ran on transparency and we’re getting a lot of transparency now. So finally we’re getting the president to fulfill his promise about transparency, so that’s pretty exciting for me.”
Meanwhile, Morgan’s in-studio guest, Robert James Woolsey, Jr., a former CIA boss, found it difficult to answer whether what the NSA is doing violates the Fourth Amendment.
R. James Woolsey, Jr.
Morgan: I just don’t see how you can say what is going on here in complete secrecy from 99 percent of the people it is being done to lives up to the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It is palpably a breach isn’t it?
Woolsey: Well, it depends on whether or not you want to preserve the country’s ability to operate in a world of terrorism in which a lot of terrorists are very technically sophisticated. If you want to defend the country you’re going to have to defend it.
Morgan: Right, I understand that…but that wasn’t the question.
Woolsey: It is the question. It is the question. That balance between security and liberty is the question.
Congressman Paul later retorted, “What he’s doing is repealing the Magna Carta. You can’t just do these kind of things. And this one is not only repealing the principles of liberty, but it’s destroying the Constitution.”
Continuing, Paul questioned what should be done with Constitutional traitors. “So my question should be to all of you who defend this nonsense is, ‘What should the penalty be for the people who destroy the constitution?’ They’re always worried about how they’re going to destroy the American citizens who tell the truth to let us know what’s going on, but we ask the question, ‘What is the penalty for the people who deliberately destroy the Constitution and rationalize and say, “Well, we have to do it for security”?’ Well, you know what Franklin said about that,” recalling Founding Father Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote, paraphrased, “Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.”
Woolsey is an establishment fixture often trotted out to disseminate the fabled threat of terrorism, and is the same person who warned in Feb. 2012 that the Statue of Liberty would be a target for Iranian terrorists hellbent on retaliating against the U.S. for shutting down their nuclear program.
When confronted by We Are Change’s Luke Rudkowski in March 2011, Woolsey denied former CIA director William Colby’s charge that the CIA owns “everyone of any significance in the major media.” He is also blamed for a gag order placed on 9/11 first responders forbidding them to speak about inside knowledge of the events of that day.
And This is What You Get From a Mostly Brainwashed Population
June 11, 2013
If we can believe the latest poll issued by the Pew Research Center, most Americans believe the Fourth Amendment and the Bill of Rights should not get in the way of government surveillance and tracking down terrorists.
Sen. Rand Paul doubts most Americans believe the NSA should be allowed to engage in unrestrained surveillance.
The survey demonstrates the effectiveness of the government’s unrelenting propaganda war following the attacks of September 11, 2001.
“A majority of Americans – 56% – say the National Security Agency’s (NSA) program tracking the telephone records of millions of Americans is an acceptable way for the government to investigate terrorism, though a substantial minority – 41% – say it is unacceptable,” Pew reported on June 10. “And while the public is more evenly divided over the government’s monitoring of email and other online activities to prevent possible terrorism, these views are largely unchanged since 2002, shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.”
As we have previously noted, Americans are more likely to die in bed from accidental suffocation than fall victim to a terrorist attack. They are 1,048 times more likely to die from a car accident than from a terrorist attack and 17,600 times more likely to die from heart disease, according to statistics.
Even the global elite admit the war on terror is a farce.
“According to the Council on Foreign Relations, 33 U.S. citizens were killed worldwide in 2008 from terrorism,” writes Washington’s Blog. “There were 301,579,895 Americans living on U.S. soil in 2008, so the risk of dying from terrorist attacks in 2008 was 1 in 9,138,785.”
Despite the astronomical odds of not being victimized by a terrorist attack, millions of Americans have reached the conclusion it represents a dire threat, so they are willing to forfeit the protection afforded to them by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
In addition to an effective, decade-plus propaganda campaign relentlessly terrorizing citizens on the nearly nonexistent threat of terrorism, Americans have suffered through public mis-education over the past fifty years, a concerted effort that has dumbed them down to the point where they no longer recognize or understand the Constitution, natural rights, the threat of unaccountable government and its historical propensity to abuse them.
“Every American should realize what 9/11 enabled federal officials to accomplish — it gave them the ability to do things to both Americans and foreigners that our ancestors feared they would in the absence of a Constitution and a Bill of Rights, the ability to take people into custody and punish them, without having to concern themselves with procedural due process,” writes Jacob G. Hornberger. “By wielding the option to treat people accused of terrorism as either criminal defendants or as combatants — an option which, by the way, violates the principles of equal treatment under law and the rule of law — the federal government and its military have upended their relationship with the citizenry, enabling the former to gain supremacy and control over the latter.”
Like hapless millions of Germans living under the authoritarian rule of Hitler and the Nazis, the average American, brainwashed by corporate television and the public education system, will ultimately pay the price for his lackadaisical ignorance and irrationality.
NSA surveillance is merely a symptom of a larger and far more menacing situation – the parasitical presence of a bloated and militarized federal government that considers millions of Americans as the enemy.
In Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union, the Gestapo and the State Political Directorate, or GPU (formerly Cheka), were allowed a free hand to hunt down, arrest, disappear, torture, throw in concentration camps and gulags, and ultimately mass murder millions upon millions of citizens considered “counter-revolutionaries” or enemies of the state.
Acquiescence and indifference to the latest revelations demonstrate that America is now ready to openly accept fascist rule, as did millions of Germans after Hitler took over the German government in 1933.
Millions of Americans, likely a substantial majority, are so politically naive and ignorant of history they are incapable of realizing what is about to happen to them.
Snowden Showed Evidence Of US Hacking China To Hong Kong Newspaper
ADAM TAYLOR JUN. 12, 2013, 1:32 PM 5,984 49
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has told a Hong Kong newspaper that the U.S. government has been hacking Hong Kong and Chinese networks for at least four years.
The comments were made as part of the South China Morning Post’s exclusive interview with Snowden — his first since revealing himself on Sunday.
Snowden reportedly showed reporter Lana Lam documents that showed the NSA had been hacking computers in Hong Kong and on the mainland since 2009. He estimated there were hundreds of targets in Hong Kong and mainland China, including the Chinese University of Hong Kong. None of the documents revealed any information about Chinese military systems, Snowden said.
“We hack network backbones – like huge internet routers, basically – that give us access to the communications of hundreds of thousands of computers without having to hack every single one,” Snowden told Lam.
China’s own online espionage efforts were put in the spotlight earlier this year after a report from U.S. security firm Mandiant that accused military-linked groups of hacking major U.S. companies. After that story, China hit back saying Washington was the "real hacking empire."
June 12, 2013
At a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing back in March, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) asked Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, “Does the NSA collect any type of data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”
“No, sir,” Clapper answered.
“It [the NSA] does not,” Wyden said to confirm Clapper’s answer.
“Not wittingly. There are cases where they could inadvertently, perhaps, collect, but not wittingly,” said Clapper.
In response to Clapper’s now obviously false response, U.S. House member Justin Amash (R-Mich.) made the following statement on his Facebook page:
“It now appears clear that the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, lied under oath to Congress and the American people. Members of Congress can’t make informed decisions on intelligence issues when the head of the intelligence community willfully makes false statements. Perjury is a serious crime. Mr. Clapper should resign immediately.”
Snowden Says He Isn’t Hiding From Justice
The 29-year-old former government contractor behind one of the biggest national-security leaks in U.S. history and currently believed hiding in Hong Kong has told a local newspaper he has no plans to leave the city and intends to challenge the U.S. government in Hong Kong courts.
"People who think I made a mistake in picking Hong Kong as a location misunderstand my intentions. I am not here to hide from justice; I am here to reveal criminality," said Edward Snowden in an interview published Wednesday by the South China Morning Post, the city’s most prominent English-language daily.
Mr. Snowden entered Hong Kong on May 20 and continued to hole up for weeks in a luxury hotel before revealing his identity on Sunday in a report and video posted by the Guardian, the British newspaper that first published Mr. Snowden’s leaked information regarding U.S. surveillance programs.
Mr. Snowden has worked for government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton BAH -3.50% and has said he also previously was employed by the Central Intelligence Agency. Booz Hamilton said Tuesday that it had fired Mr. Snowden.
U.S. prosecutors are weighing charges against Mr. Snowden and are considering which would be most likely to succeed in getting him extradited to the U.S.
Mr. Snowden told the SCMP he has had many opportunities to flee the city, which maintains an extradition treaty with the U.S., but prefers to "stay and fight the United States government in the courts," saying he had faith in Hong Kong’s rule of law.
Though the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997, it continues to maintain its own independent political and economic systems, as well as its own judiciary.
The investigation of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has become a legal game of cat and mouse, as federal prosecutors weigh what criminal charges would help bring him back to the U.S. Devlin Barrett reports. Photo: Getty Images
On Tuesday in New York, Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying declined to comment on Mr. Snowden’s case, saying only that "in general, we follow the laws and our policies."
According to official figures, Hong Kong has extradited people in 65 cases since its treaty with the U.S. went into effect in 1998.
Edward Snowden, a U.S. government contractor, identified himself as the source of recent disclosures about secret National Security Agency data-gathering programs. The WSJ’s Alex Frangos tells us why Mr. Snowden chose to reveal himself in Hong Kong.
Should the U.S. choose to request Mr. Snowden’s extradition, he has a number of options to prolong his stay in Hong Kong, including applying for asylum or fighting any potential extradition in the city’s court. Both options could take potentially years to be resolved, lawyers say.
A number of local activists are already gearing up to support Mr. Snowden.
On Wednesday, several groups said they planned to hold a march Saturday on Mr. Snowden’s behalf on government headquarters and the U.S. consulate, carrying signs such as "No Extradition" and "Betray Snowden = Betray Freedom," organizers said.
Ron Paul fears NSA leaker assassination
As the hunt continues for Edward Snowden, the former CIA employee who outed himself last weekend as the source of top-secret leaks about U.S. surveillance program, some people have concerns about his fate.
"I’m worried about, somebody in our government might kill him with a cruise missile or a drone missile," said Ron Paul a former Texas congressman who twice ran for the Republican presidential nomination, in an interview Tuesday with Fox Business Network. "I mean, we live in a bad time where American citizens don’t even have rights and that they can be killed, but the gentlemen is trying to tell the truth about what’s going on."
Snowden, who fled the United States last month as he prepared to reveal a cache of top-secret documents to the press, was last known to be in Hong Kong, where he conducted a video interview with the Guardian in conjunction with a story about his identity. But law enforcement sources say there is no evidence Snowden has left Hong Kong, according to CBS News correspondent Bob Orr, who adds that the sources suggest investigators have a pretty good idea of where he might be.
Snowden has acknowledged that he may well face prosecution or worse as a result of his action.
"I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions," he wrote in a note accompanying a set of secret documents, according to the Guardian. "I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant."
According to a recent CBS News poll, 75 percent of Americans approve of federal agencies collecting the phone records of people the government suspects of terrorist activity, but a 58 percent majority disapproves of this type of data collection in the case of ordinary Americans.
Paul, a staunch libertarian who has long fought for individual civil liberties – and who may count Snowden as a supporter – argued on Fox Business Network that Snowden’s motives appeared pure.
"It’s a shame that we are in an age where people who tell the truth about what the government is doing gets into trouble," he said. "What about the people who destroy our Constitution?… What do we think about people who assassinate American citizens without trials and assume that that’s the law of the land? That’s where our problem is. Our problem isn’t with people who are trying to tell us the truth about what’s happening."
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June 12, 2013
“Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”
― Benjamin Franklin
In response to media concerns over reports that the NSA has been spying on communications between millions of law-abiding American citizens, President Obama said, “You can’t have 100-percent security and also have 100-percent privacy and zero inconvenience. We’re going to have to make some choices as a society.” But is the promise of security really worth sacrificing our freedoms?
During an appearance on the Alex Jones show, Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) said the NSA (National Security Agency) spying scandal was par for the course. “It follows with Obama’s intent to focus on the citizens as the criminal and the terrorists are not to be investigated. The Tea Party and average citizens have become the target. It’s alarming that we do live in an Orwellian world where good is bad and bad is good, and it’s now targeting American citizens over the terrorists.”
Stockman also said he didn’t understand why more Americans weren’t outraged. “What I don’t understand is, people outside of your listeners, you interview them or talk to them, it’s puzzling to me at what degree they’re willing to give up their individual freedoms for the perception of security, and we both know that when you give up your individual liberties you soon have neither.”
In a series of Tweets sent after the announcement of the NSA spy scandal, Stockman reminded followers, “The Democrats defending IRS abuses and illegal spying programs are the same ones who insist they would never abuse a gun registry data base.”
But he also gave folks on Twitter a chuckle: “No. Honest to God. I really did call, just ask Obama!”
Obama isn’t the first president to spy on American citizens. The Bush administration ordered the NSA to engage in warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizen’s phone calls and emails in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In 2008, legislation was passed that permitted the NSA to seek a generalized warrant from the court to allow surveillance on anyone the agency “reasonably” believed to be involved in terrorism, whether they were a U.S. citizen or not.
In 2009, the NSA admitted they’d reached well beyond the boundaries set forth in 2008 and engaged in “overcollection” of communications belonging to U.S. citizens without any connection to terrorism at all.
So Obama isn’t the first, he’s merely the president who plans to put the icing on the cake.
In 2010, under Obama, the F.B.I. proposed expanding the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, a law that requires phone and network carriers to build interception capabilities into their systems. Under the existing law, the F.B.I. must have a search warrant and currently, judges simply ask the service providers to comply with law enforcement. The provider can always use the excuse that he doesn’t have the capability to comply.
Just last month, buried under the news of the AP and IRS scandals, Obama moved closer to endorsing legislation that will make it even easier to put a tap on anyone he wants. Under the new law, judges will no longer request, they’ll order providers to comply, and if they don’t they’ll face fines starting at $25,000 per day.
The new plan will also require Internet giants like Facebook and Google to build backdoors into their systems that will enable government surveillance at-will.
By criminalizing those Americans who disagree with him and classifying anyone who speaks against his plans for takeover as an “extremist,” Obama and his administration have convinced Americans that he’s only looking out for their best interests and the safety of our country.
But Stockman reminds us that we need to look beyond the smoke and mirrors. “The NSA can keep tabs on anyone including federal judges, senators and average citizens. This is massive abuse. These are the same guys who want you to register your guns. They can’t keep this data private so how can they keep gun registrations private?”
June 12, 2013
To the millions of Americans who go through their day blindly trusting that Obama is out there defending their Constitutional rights, Edward Snowden looks like Public Enemy #1, a traitor who just made it a lot easier for terrorists to invade our country. To the millions of Americans who don’t wear blinders or rose colored glasses, Snowden looks like a hero. But to Obama, Snowden looks like the perfect Straw Man.
If you truly believe that Edward Snowden revealed some deep, dark State secret when he told the world that the NSA was spying on our phone and Internet communications then you’re not paying attention. Law enforcement officials have been tapping phone lines since telephones were first invented.
In 1928 the Supreme Court finally set a precedent when it ruled that telephone eavesdropping for law enforcement purposes was legal because there was no physical invasion of privacy. In 1963, U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy authorized the FBI to tap the phone lines of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. In 1969 President Richard Nixon approved dozens of legal wiretaps, including the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel.
In 1978, Congress passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) which prescribes procedures for the physical and electronic surveillance and collection of “foreign intelligence information” between “foreign powers” and “agents of foreign powers” (which may include American citizens and permanent residents suspected of espionage or terrorism).
With the introduction of the Internet, the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act was passed in 1994. CALEA’s purpose was to enhance the ability of law enforcement and intelligence agencies to conduct electronic surveillance by requiring telecommunications carriers and manufacturers of telecommunications equipment modify and design their equipment, facilities, and services to ensure that they have built-in surveillance capabilities, allowing federal agencies to monitor all telephone, broadband internet, and VoIP traffic in real-time.
But in 2008, Congress amended FISA and four key provisions that were added opened the doors to unlimited abuses of power:
– Prohibits the individual states from investigating, sanctioning of, or requiring disclosure by complicit telecoms or other persons.
– Permits the government not to keep records of searches, and destroy existing records.
– Protects telecommunications companies from lawsuits for “‘past or future cooperation’ with federal law enforcement authorities.
– Allows eavesdropping in emergencies without court approval.
None of these laws or amendments are “Top Secret Information” known only to a handful of high-ranking officials. They’re all common knowledge, available to anyone interested enough to conduct a search. And FYI – then-Senator Barack Obama voted for this bill.
It should be obvious to everyone: If the government is going to go through the trouble of passing these laws, they intend to implement them. They’ve been tapping our phone lines since the 1890′s and they’ve been tapping into any and all online networks since the dawn of the Internet.
So Edward Snowden didn’t really reveal any “Top Secret” information that’s going to put our country at risk. Every single bit of information in this article so far is pulled from an online resource available to the public. You just need to be able to connect the dots.
But leading the public to believe that Snowden did commit an unforgivable act of treason has certain benefits for King Obama and his loyal administration.
In 2010, F.B.I. Director, Robert S. Mueller III, argued that the “bureau’s ability to carry out court-approved eavesdropping on suspects is “going dark” as communications technology evolves.” Pushing for stricter mandates, the Obama administration wanted to require online companies like Google, Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Microsoft, and dozens of others, to build a capacity to comply with wiretap orders into their systems.
Obama’s proposal didn’t pass, though, because the Commerce Department felt it would stifle innovation.
Up to this point, federal judges must still grant approval for warrants but networks are merely “asked” to comply. They can still say, “We’re sorry, we’re unable to access that information.”
But just last month, during all the IRS and AP uproar, the proposal was revised and it’s on its way to the White House. Under the new proposal, online networks and cell phone service providers will be required to build in a wiretapping capacity that makes it possible for law enforcement agencies to just immediately hook-up and start downloading data. They will not be “asked” to comply – they’ll be ordered. And if they don’t, they’ll face fines starting at $25,000 per day.
As pointed out by Gregory T. Nojeim of the Center for Democracy and Technology, if anything, these new mandates will make our Internet even less secure.
“I think the F.B.I.’s proposal would render Internet communications less secure and more vulnerable to hackers and identity thieves,” he said. “It would also mean that innovators who want to avoid new and expensive mandates will take their innovations abroad and develop them there, where there aren’t the same mandates.”
By criminalizing Edward Snowden for revealing information that was already available to the public, Obama has managed to distract Americans while he moves forward with his nefarious plot to eliminate the Constitution.
The only threat to national security is the threat that comes from Obama. Once all service providers and online networks have built in the wiretapping capabilities Obama is demanding it’s easy enough for anyone to tap into our private conversations – even Al Qeada. (And let’s face it – if they aren’t already tapping into our lines then they’re not paying attention, either.)
And if it also moves a few more jobs offshore and further damages the U.S. economy and job market, so much the better.
Edward Snowden is not a traitor, he simply revealed information that’s already out there. The problem is, a lot more people are paying attention now – including Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft. The big networks are now calling for greater NSA transparency. Fearing a backlash from their users, they want to be able to reveal how many national security requests they receive, why they’re being forced to comply, and what they’re being forced to turn over.
According to a June 12 article in the Guardian, “In a letter from Google to the US attorney general, Eric Holder, also published on its corporate blog, the company once again said allegations that the US government had “unfettered access to our users’ data are simply untrue”. But, the letter added, the fact that Google was not allowed to disclose requests made for information under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (Fisa) “fuel[s] that speculation”.
So Obama has to use some slight-of-hand to distract the public while he signs off on this new legislation. And what better distraction than to turn Edward Snowden into a traitorous, dancing Straw Man?
by Gordon Rupe
June 11th, 2013
Updated 06/11/2013 at 5:20 pm
Former NSA spy turned whistleblower Edward Snowden may soon ‘disappear’ following his mega leak regarding the NSA tracking operation known as PRISM, and new information reveals it may already be in the works.
Four Senior US intelligence officials were coming from a conference held by the NSA in Washington DC, when afterwards at the UAL (United Airlines Lounge) the four men were supposedly being “loud”and sounded as if they were “almost bragging” when discussing the now well-known whistleblower, Edward Snowden.
According to Foreign policy analyst and editor of The Atlantic Steve Clemons, he is in possession of several poor quality photos and a muffled recording of the four supposed officials discussing and joking about how people like that ‘disappear’. The four people in question are not identified as of yet, and Steve Clemons has an open invite for them to come forward to ‘clarify their remarks’.
We have yet to determine whether or not the voices reportedly recorded by Clemons line up to any officials, of course, as neither the audio nor the visuals have been released. Clemons also claims that there was a second as of yet unnamed person with him who shares not only his concerns about the conversation, but also his interpretation.
Steve Snowden, the whistleblower and former CIA contractor and NSA consultant gave The Guardianpermission to reveal his identity last week, he has since fled to Hong Kong and is trying to avoid any international entanglements.
Mr. Snowden told Glenn Greenwald, the reporter for The Guardian who helped with breaking this story, “Whenever we had a debate in the office on how to handle crimes, they do not defend due process – they defend decisive action.” He went on to state that his $200,000 a year job was not worth the giving up of liberties, and that someone had to “Send a message to government that people will not be intimidated.” .
Mr. Snowden leaked proof of the NSA program PRISM (Planning Tool for Resource Integration, Synchronization, and Management) which was launched around late 2007 early 2008. According to James R. Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, its purpose is “to obtain foreign intelligence information, including information necessary to thwart terrorist and cyber attacks against the United States and its allies.”
PRISM gathered most of it’s information from the nine major U.S. Internet firms: Google, Facebook, Apple, Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL, Skype, YouTube, and PalTalk.
The intelligence PRISM gathered includes, but is not exclusive to: email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, voice over IP conversations, file transfers, login notifications and social networking details. In a newer document published by The Guardian, it is estimated that the NSA has collected almost 3 billion pieces of intelligence from US computer networks over a 30-day period ending in March 2013.
In a recent statement, intelligence head Clapper claimed that “Disclosing information about the specific methods the (US) government uses to collect communications can obviously give our enemies a ‘playbook’ of how to avoid detection.”
The story that started it all had to do with Verizon supplying the NSA with call data. A story that ultimately evolved to include Sprint and AT&T, who are also supplying the NSA with similar data that they have gathered on their customers and their call patterns.
Michael T. Snyder
The Economic Collapse
June 12, 2013
The rest of the world has found out that the U.S. government has been listening to their phone calls and watching what they do on the Internet and they do not like it one bit. Outrage has been pouring in from all over the planet, and one member of the European Parliament is even comparing the NSA to the Stasi. But instead of stepping back and reevaluating our Big Brother spying methods now that they have been revealed, Barack Obama and other leading members of Congress are defiantly declaring that there is nothing wrong with these methods and that no changes will be made. The U.S. government is going to continue to invade the privacy of the citizens of the rest of the world as much as it possibly can, and our leaders don’t seem to really care what the international response is. And make no mistake – the goal of the U.S. intelligence community is to literally know everything about everyone.
The chief technology officer of the CIA, Gus Hunt, made the following shocking admission back in March: “We fundamentally try to collect everything and hang onto it forever.” He followed that statement up with this gem: “It is really very nearly within our grasp to be able to compute on all human-generated information.” In other words, they want it all, and they nearly have the capacity to gather it all already. So where does this end? Will the U.S. intelligence community ever be happy until they have every piece of data on every single person on the entire planet? Do we really want a government that collects “everything” and hangs on to it “forever”?
Thanks to Edward Snowden, the rest of the globe is starting to understand the extent to which the U.S. government has been spying on them. Needless to say, a lot of people are extremely upset about this.
In Germany (a country that knows a thing or two about Big Brother tactics), some prominent politicians are publicly denouncing the surveillance that the U.S. government has been doing on their citizens. In fact, one German politician has accused the U.S. of employing“American-style Stasi methods”…
In a guest editorial for Spiegel Online on Tuesday, Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said reports that the United States could access and track virtually all forms of Internet communication were “deeply disconcerting” and potentially dangerous.
“The more a society monitors, controls and observes its citizens, the less free it is,” she said.
“The suspicion of excessive surveillance of communication is so alarming that it cannot be ignored. For that reason, openness and clarification by the U.S. administration itself is paramount at this point. All facts must be put on the table.”
Markus Ferber, a member of Merkel’s Bavarian sister party who sits in the European Parliament, went further, accusing Washington of using “American-style Stasi methods”.
In Italy, the government official in charge of data protection, Antonello Soro, said that the surveillance that the NSA is doing “would not be legal in Italy” and would be “contrary to the principles of our legislation and would represent a very serious violation”.
In Russia (another country with a long history of using Big Brother tactics), President Vladimir Putin has expressed significant concern about the NSA spying program and there are even rumors that Russia will be offering asylum to Edward Snowden…
Alexey Pushkov, head of the Duma’s international affairs committee and a vocal US critic, said on Twitter: “By promising asylum to Snowden, Moscow has taken upon itself the protection of those persecuted for political reasons. There will be hysterics in the US. They only recognise this right for themselves.”
He continued: “Listening to telephones and tracking the internet, the US special services broke the laws of their country. In this case, Snowden, like Assange, is a human rights activist.”
But even more important than what foreign politicians think about the NSA spying scandal is what average people all over the globe think. This scandal is causing millions of average people all over the planet to look at the United States with disgust and disdain. How can we hold ourselves out as the “defenders of freedom” to the rest of the globe when we are openly telling them that we are going to spy on them as much as we possibly can? How do we expect the rest of the world to look at us as “the good guys” when we are selfishly grabbing and recording all of their emails, phone calls and Internet searches without any concern for their privacy whatsoever?
What makes all of this even worse is that our top intelligence officials are making jokes about this scandal. For example, just check out the wisecracks that the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, was making at an awards ceremony on Friday…
With the current and past directors of national intelligence at the Omni Shoreham to honor former CIA and National Security Agency chief Michael Hayden, the result in speeches and interviews with intel professionals was a gumbo of outrage, worry and humor.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the black-tie crowd of more than 700 he would “address the elephant in the room” and proceeded, to applause, to denounce “the unauthorized leaks as reprehensible and egregious.” Clapper characterized the program as completely legal, debated and reauthorized by Congress under strict oversight and by court order “to make our nation safe and secure.”
He then cracked a few jokes. “Some of you expressed surprise that I showed up—so many emails to read!” Clapper said. Greeting fellow banqueter John Pistole, the administrator of the Transportation Security Administration who recently reversed a planned policy to permit air travelers to carry certain knives on planes, Clapper said, “John, can I borrow your pocket knife?”
How in the world can he make a joke about reading our emails at a time like this?
This is how arrogant the U.S. intelligence community has become. They feel like they can do whatever they want and get away with it.
For example, back in March Clapper flat out lied to the U.S. Congress about the surveillance that the NSA is doing. When he was asked by Senator Ron Wyden if the NSA was collecting any information on the American people, Clapper completely denied it.
The following is from a transcript of that exchange…
“Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” Oregon Republican Sen. Ron Wyden asked Clapper at the March 12 hearing.
“No, sir,” Clapper responded.
“It does not?” Wyden pressed.
Clapper recanted and said: “Not wittingly. There are cases where they could, inadvertently perhaps, collect — but not wittingly.”
Apparently Clapper must have “forgotten” that the government is forcing all of the big telephone companies to turn over all of their call records to the NSA every single month.
And you know what? The truth is that the government is not just collecting “metadata” about our phone calls. The content of our calls is being recorded and stored as well. Just check out this story from the Blaze…
Hollywood actor Shia LaBeouf in 2008 during an appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno detailed how he learned phone calls were allegedly being recorded.
Promoting the film “Eagle Eye,” which according to IMDb shows how “technology of everyday life[is used] to track and control,” LaBeouf told Leno that an FBI consultant for the movie said one in five phone calls made are recorded and logged.
“And I laughed at him,” LaBeouf said.
“And then he played back a phone conversation I’d had two years prior to joining the picture,” LaBouf continued.
Both Leno and LaBeouf concluded it was “extremely creepy.”
The American people, along with the people of the entire planet, deserve the truth about this.
Unfortunately, Barack Obama is certainly not going to tell us the truth, and there will probably only be a half-hearted effort by some members of Congress to get to the bottom of things.
That is why it is going to be important to take this to court, and thankfully a couple of lawsuits are already in the works.
According to U.S. News & World Report, one of these lawsuits is being filed by a former Justice Department prosecutor…
Former Justice Department prosecutor Larry Klaymanamended an existing lawsuit against Verizon and a slew of Obama administration officials Monday to make it the first class-action lawsuit in response to the publication of a secret court order instructingVerizon to hand over all phone records of millions of American customers on an “ongoing, daily basis.”
Klayman told U.S. News he will file a second class-action lawsuit Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia targeting government officials and each of the nine companies listed in a leaked National Security Agency slideshow as participants in the government’s PRISM program.
And according to USA Today, the ACLU has also filed a lawsuit…
National Security Agency surveillance programs came under more scrutiny Tuesday as the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit and a prominent senator and Internet giant Google called on the Obama administration to disclose more information.
In its lawsuit, the ACLU said an NSA program that harvests phone calls violates the rights of all Americans.
“The program goes far beyond even the permissive limits set by the Patriot Act and represents a gross infringement of the freedom of association and the right to privacy,” said Jameel Jaffer, the ACLU’s deputy legal director.
Hopefully these lawsuits will reveal more details about the spying that has been taking place.
There is also a “bipartisan coalition” of 86 Internet companies and civil liberties organizations that have sent a letter to Congress demanding action on these issues. You can read the full letter right here. Some of the organizations involved include the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Reddit, Mozilla, FreedomWorks, and the Center for Digital Democracy.
Will Congress listen to them?
But at least they are trying to do something about this.
The key will be to get the American people outraged enough about all of this that they won’t forget about it in a week or two. And that is not an easy thing to do.
There have been a couple of public opinion polls taken over the past few days that show some very curious results. A Rasmussen survey found that 59 percent of Americans are against the government secretly collecting our phone records and only 26 percent are in favor. But a Washington Post survey found that 56 percent of Americans consider the collecting of our phone records to be “acceptable” and only 41 percent consider the practice to be “unacceptable”.
How could those two surveys get such wildly different results?
A lot of it is in the way that they ask the questions.
In the end, our politicians don’t really care too much about what the general public thinks anyway. They are just going to continue to do what they have been doing and the rest of the world will continue to become even more disgusted with us.
We are recklessly destroying our global reputation and our leaders do not even seem to care. But someday America will need some friends, and when that day arrives we may find that we don’t have too many left.
June 13, 2013
Current press reports focus on PRISM, the NSA’s relationships with the biggest tech companies in the world, and the spilled leaks of Ed Snowden.
I’ve already laid out serious questions about Snowden’s work history and whether he’s told the truth about it.
Is it likely he could have accessed and snatched thousands of highly classified NSA documents?
“Let’s see. Who’s coming to work for us here at NSA today? Oh, new whiz kid. Ed Snowden. Outside contractor. He’s not really a full-time employee of the NSA. Twenty-nine years old. No high school diploma. Has a GED. He worked for the CIA and quit. Hmm. Why did he quit? Oh, never mind, who cares? No problem.
“Tell you what. Let’s give this kid access to our most sensitive data. Sure. Why not? Everything. That stuff we keep behind 986 walls? Where you have to pledge the life of your first-born against the possibility you’ll go rogue? Let Snowden see it all. Sure. What the hell. I’m feeling charitable. He seems like a nice kid.”
Here is a more likely scenario.
Snowden never saw any of those thousands of documents on an NSA computer. Never happened.
Instead, he was either used or volunteered as a CIA operative to carry the endless turf war between CIA and NSA a new step forward. People at the CIA WERE able to access those NSA documents and they gave the documents to Snowden and he ran with them.
This was a covert op launched by the CIA against a chief rival, the NSA. NSA, the agencythat’s far bigger than the CIA. NSA, the agency that’s been taking over intelligence gathering, that considers itself superior to everybody else in the intelligence field.
The CIA, of course, couldn’t be seen as the NSA leaker. They needed a guy. They needed a guy who could appear to be FROM the NSA, to make things look worse for the NSA and shield the CIA.
They had Ed Snowden. He had worked for the CIA in Geneva, in a high-level position, overseeing computer-systems security. People would later assume he had the wherewithal to get into NSA files and steal documents all by himself.
Somewhere in his CIA past, Ed meets a fellow CIA guy who sits down with him and says, “You know, Ed, things have gone too damn far. The NSA is spying on everybody all the time. I can show you proof. They’ve gone beyond the point of trying to catch terrorists. They’re doing something else. They’re expanding a Surveillance State, which can only lead to one thing: the destruction of America, what America stands for, what you and I know America is supposed to be. The NSA isn’t like us, Ed. We go after terrorists for real. That’s it. Whereas NSA goes after everybody. We have to stop it. We need a guy…and there are those of us who think you might be that guy…”
During the course of this one disingenuous conversation, the CIA is killing 37 innocent civilians all over the world with drones, but that’s beside the point. Ahem.
Ed says, “Tell me more. I’m intrigued.”
He buys in.
And what his CIA handler said, in his completely cynical self-serving way, is true. The Surveillance State isn’t about catching terrorists.
At a quite insane level, it’s about a partial science trying to become a complete science. It’s about the vision of systems engineers:
To be able to predict and control the actions of any and every human.
Can enough useful information on Human Being X be compiled, collated, and analyzed, quickly, that would enable overseers to know what Human X is going to do—and to redirect his next action?
His next action and future actions?
To put it another way, minds who are enraptured by the Matrix want to make that Matrix even tighter and more nearly perfect.
They want to play 100-dimensional chess with most difficult piece on the board as the main target: the human. They want to see whether they can operate that piece and work it and predict it and control it and win the game.
Winning the game means reducing 100-dimensional chess to a closed system.
This is what the engineers of the Surveillance State are trying to do with the global population.
Because they think they can.
Because they work for men who want to own all life.
Because they view individual freedom as a highly convincing illusion they want to invalidate and smash.
I’m reminded of a 1982 story I did for LA Weekly. I interviewed Bill Perry, who had just quit his job as head of PR for Lawrence Livermore Labs, where they do research on building better nuclear weapons.
Bill cited, as one of his defining moments, a conversations he had with a physicist there who was complaining that the Lab needed more funding.
Bill said, “Look, we can already blow up the world a dozen times. What else do you need?”
The physicist looked up from his desk and said, “You don’t understand. This is a math problem, a physics problem.”
That’s the mindset. It’s all about making a better system. Who cares about collateral human damage?
When these scientists see freedom, they shrink away from it. It disturbs them. It reminds them they aren’t free. It reminds them they don’t know what freedom is.
You can even see this in some of more astounding press comments about Ed Snowden. Yes, it was all right that he exposed NSA but…he should have stayed in America and faced the music.
A mind-boggling assessment to say the least.
However, it’s really based on a perception, true or false, that Snowden is currently running around free, uncontrolled.
And that he has no right to be, because nobody does, outside the range and reach of government.
Freedom is the wild card. “Order must take its place.” That’s what the Surveillance State is all about.
“We’ve got these biological machines called humans running around out there and it’s crazy. They’re possibly in possession of something called FREEDOM which is too horrible to contemplate, because I, an obsessive problem solver, long ago sacrificed MY OWN FREEDOM on the altar of…I’ve forgotten. Anyway, wait a minute, these biological machines don’t really have freedom, they’re running on faulty programs….YES, THAT’S IT, and the programs have to be changed, ONCE AND FOR ALL!! Yes, that feels better. There is no such thing as freedom.”
“Yes, that’s it. No one is free, it’s all a delusion. There are only good and bad programs, and these billions of human machines are running on bad programs…so we need one central program, one CENTRAL PROGRAM for everybody, and then order will prevail and coordination will prevail, and peace will prevail.”
“In order to develop such a program, we need Total Surveillance. We need to observe all these biological machines in their crazy lives, 24/7, wherever they go, whatever they do….and then we can collate that information and analyze it and come up with a solution. Algorithms. A better program. An all-encompassing program. Then we can insert it into the behavior of every human.”
The Surveillance State is based on a psychology and a philosophy that has this view of life and human beings.
That’s what we’re dealing with. Nothing less.
Mass mind control. Operant conditioning. Coercion.
In Orwell’s 1984, that’s what “Big Brother is watching you” was all about. The Surveillance State wasn’t merely curious. It wasn’t merely trying to stamp out terrorists. It was part and parcel of control.
Surveys contradict previous Pew poll
Paul Joseph Watson
June 13, 2013
Contradicting a previous Pew poll which found that a majority of Americans support the NSA spying on telephone records, new surveys find that most Americans decry NSA snooping and view whistleblower Edward Snowden as a patriot for exposing the existence of PRISM.
As we reported on Tuesday, many reacted with shock to a Pew Research Center poll which found that 56% of Americans supported the NSA “tracking the telephone records of millions of Americans,” suggesting that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden – who sacrificed his freedom to expose the existence of PRISM, a program under which the NSA is pulling private data “directly from the servers” of major US service providers such as Google and Facebook – had acted in vain.
However, a new Gallup poll conducted this week finds that “More Americans disapprove (53%) than approve (37%) of the federal government agency program that as part of its efforts to investigate terrorism obtained records from U.S. telephone and Internet companies to “compile telephone call logs and Internet communications.”
“What can one deduce from this discrepancy? Perhaps it is nothing more complex than polling bias, most recently observed during the 2012 presidential campaign, and which shows that sometimes it is more important who is doing the polling than who is being polled and what questions are being asked,” writes Zero Hedge.
Just as in the Pew poll, more Democrats than Republicans (49% to 32%) are likely to approve NSA snooping, underscoring once again how leftists abandon their concern for privacy and civil liberties when a Democrat is in the White House.
The Gallup poll correlates with a separate CBS News poll which found that 58% of Americans disapprove of the government “collecting phone records of ordinary Americans.” The Gallup poll also shows that 35% of Americans would be “very concerned” about violation of their own privacy rights if the government had computerized logs of their telephone calls or Internet communications, while 22% said they would be “somewhat concerned.”
A slight majority (44% to 42%) believe Edward Snowden was right to leak the information to the press.
In addition, following Snowden’s quote to the South China Morning Post, when he remarked, “I’m neither traitor nor hero. I’m an American,” a Reuters/Ipsos poll confirms that most Americans look favorably on the whistleblower’s actions.
23% of those surveyed viewed Snowden as a traitor, while 31% said he was a patriot. 46% said they don’t know, suggesting that the narrative behind the story has a way to go before it fully unfurls. In addition, 35% said Snowden should face no charges while 25% think he should be charged to the full extent of the law.
Only 6% of those surveyed had no objections to the PRISM surveillance program, while 37% said it is completely unacceptable. A majority of 45% said PRISM was acceptable under some circumstances.
June 13, 2013
Establishment politicians from both major political parties are rushing to defend the NSA and condemn whistleblower Edward Snowden. They are attempting to portray Edward Snowden as a “traitor” and the spooks over at the NSA that are snooping on all of us as “heroes”. In fact, many of the exact same politicians that once railed against government spying during the Bush years are now staunchly defending it now that Obama is in the White House. But it isn’t just Democrats that are acting shamefully. Large numbers of Republican politicians that love to give speeches about “freedom” and “liberty” are attempting to eviscerate the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The government is not supposed to invade our privacy and investigate us unless there is probable cause to do so. Apparently many of our politicians misunderstood when they read the novel 1984by George Orwell. It wasn’t supposed to be an instruction manual. We should be thanking Edward Snowden for exposing the deep corruption that is eating away at our own government like cancer.
Now the American people need to pick up the ball and start demanding answers, because without a doubt we are going to see establishment politicians from both major political parties try to shut this scandal down. Establishment Democrats and establishment Republicans both love the Big Brother surveillance grid that the U.S. government has constructed, and they are both making it abundantly clear that they will defend the NSA to the very end. The following are 22 nauseating quotes from hypocritical establishment politicians that show exactly how they feel about the NSA spying scandal…
#1 Barack Obama: “I think it’s important to understand that you can’t have 100 percent security and then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. We’re going to have to make some choices as a society.”
#2 Barack Obama in 2007: “This Administration also puts forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we demand… That means no more illegal wire-tapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient. That is not who we are. And it is not what is necessary to defeat the terrorists… We will again set an example for the world that the law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers, and that justice is not arbitrary.”
#3 Speaker Of The House John Boehner on what he thinks about NSA leaker Edward Snowden: “He’s a traitor.”
#4 U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham: “I hope we follow Mr. Snowden to the ends of the Earth to bring him to justice.”
#5 U.S. Senator Al Franken: “I can assure you, this is not about spying on the American people.”
#6 Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: “For senators to complain that they didn’t know this was happening, we had many, many meetings that have been both classified and unclassified that members have been invited to.”
#7 U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell: “Given the scope of these programs, it’s understandable that many would be concerned about issues related to privacy. But what’s difficult to understand is the motivation of somebody who intentionally would seek to warn the nation’s enemies of lawful programs created to protect the American people. And I hope that he is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
#8 U.S. Representative Peter King on why
he believes that reporters should be prosecuted for revealing NSA secrets: “There is an obligation both moral, but also legal, I believe, against a reporter disclosing something which would so severely compromise national security.”
#9 Director of National Intelligence James Clapper making a joke during an awards ceremony last Friday night: “Some of you expressed surprise that I showed up—so many emails to read!”
#10 Director Of National Intelligence James Clapper about why he lied about NSA spying in front of Congress: “I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful manner.”
#11 National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden: “The president has full faith in director Clapper and his leadership of the intelligence community”
#12 White House press secretary Jay Carney: “…Clapper has been straight and direct in the answers that he’s given, and has actively engaged in an effort to provide more information about the programs that have been revealed through the leak of classified information”
#13 Dianne Feinstein, the chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee: “There is no more direct or honest person than Jim Clapper.”
#14 Gus Hunt, the chief technology officer at the CIA: “We fundamentally try to collect everything and hang onto it forever.”
#15 Barack Obama: “Nobody is listening to your telephone calls.”
#16 Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency: “We do not see a tradeoff between security and liberty.”
#17 An exchange between NSA director Keith Alexander and U.S. Representative Hank Johnson in March 2012…
JOHNSON: Does the NSA routinely intercept American citizens’ emails?
JOHNSON: Does the NSA intercept Americans’ cell phone conversations?
JOHNSON: Google searches?
JOHNSON: Text messages?
JOHNSON: Amazon.com orders?
JOHNSON: Bank records?
#18 Deputy White House press secretary Dana Perino: “The intelligence activities undertaken by the United States government are lawful, necessary and required to protect Americans from terrorist attacks”
#19 U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss: ”This is nothing new. It has proved meritorious because we have gathered significant information on bad guys and only on bad guys over the years.”
#20 Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton on NSA leaker Edward Snowden: “Let me ask, who died and made him king? Who gave him the authority to endanger 300 million Americans? That’s not the way it works, and if he thinks he can get away with that, he’s got another think coming.”
#21 Senior spokesman for the NSA Don Weber: “Given the nature of the work we do, it would be irresponsible to comment on actual or alleged operational issues; therefore, we have no information to provide”
#22 The White House website: “My administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration.”
Right now, the NSA is building a data collection center out in Utah that is so massive that it is hard to describe with words. It is going to cost 40 million dollars a year just to provide the energy needed to run it. According to a 2012 Wired article entitled “The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)“, this data center will contain “the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches” in addition to “parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases” and anything else that the NSA decides to collect…
Under construction by contractors with top-secret clearances, the blandly named Utah Data Center is being built for the National Security Agency. A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks. The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013. Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.” It is, in some measure, the realization of the “total information awareness” program created during the first term of the Bush administration—an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans’ privacy.
The goal is to know as much about everyone on the planet as possible.
And the NSA does not keep this information to itself. As an article in USA Today recently reported, the NSA shares the data that it collects with other government agencies “as a matter of practice”…
As a matter of practice, the NSA regularly shares its information — known as “product” in intelligence circles — with other intelligence groups.
So when the NSA collects information about you, there is a very good chance that the FBI, the CIA, the Department of Homeland Security and the IRS will have access to it as well.
But the U.S. government is not the only one collecting data on American citizens.
Guess who else has been collecting massive amounts of data on the American people?
According to those that have seen it, the “Obama database” is unlike anything that any politician has ever put together before. According to CNSNews.com, U.S. Representative Maxine Waters says that this database “will have information about everything on every individual”…
“The president has put in place an organization that contains a kind of database that no one has ever seen before in life,” she added. “That’s going to be very, very powerful.”
Martin asked if Waters if she was referring to “Organizing for America.”
“That’s right, that’s right,” Waters said. “And that database will have information about everything on every individual in ways that it’s never been done before.”
Waters said the database would also serve future Democratic candidates seeking the presidency.
Perhaps this helps to explain why so many big donors got slapped with IRS audits immediately after they wrote big checks to the Romney campaign.
We are being told to “trust” Barack Obama and the massive government surveillance grid that is being constructed all around us, but there has been example after example of government power being grossly abused in recent years.
A lot of Americans say that they do not care if the government is watching them because they do not have anything to hide, but is there anyone out there that would really not mind the government watching them and listening to them 24 hours a day?
For example, it has been documented that NSA workers eavesdropped on conversations between U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq and their loved ones back home. Some of these conversations involved very intimate talk between husbands and wives. The following is from a 2008 ABC News story…
Faulk says he and others in his section of the NSA facility at Fort Gordon routinely shared salacious or tantalizing phone calls that had been intercepted, alerting office mates to certain time codes of “cuts” that were available on each operator’s computer.
“Hey, check this out,” Faulk says he would be told, “there’s good phone sex or there’s some pillow talk, pull up this call, it’s really funny, go check it out. It would be some colonel making pillow talk and we would say, ‘Wow, this was crazy’,” Faulk told ABC News.
Faulk said he joined in to listen, and talk about it during breaks in Back Hall’s “smoke pit,” but ended up feeling badly about his actions.
Is this really what we want the future of America to look like?
Do we really want the government to watch us and listen to us during our most intimate moments?
Rep. who supported terrorists calls for jailing reporters in America
June 13, 2013
GOP Congressman Peter King, who earlier in the week called for the extradition and prosecution of the National Security Agency whistle blower Edward Snowden, has now called for the arrest and prosecution of Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who broke the story in the London Guardian.
Greenwald has been facilitating the release of Snowden’s revelations on the NSA’s phone and internet surveillance programs, which have secretly targeted everyday Americans.
While many are dubbing Snowden and Greenwald heroes for bringing government overreach to light, Congressman King believes that the book should be thrown at them BOTH.
“No right is absolute, and even the press has certain restrictions,” King told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly yesterday. “It should be very targeted, very selective, and certainly a very rare exception.”
“But in this case, where you have someone who’s disclosed secrets like this and threatens to release more, then to me, yes — there has to be legal action. Legal action should be taken against him.” King added.
On Tuesday, after calling Snowden a “traitor”, King suggested on CNN that reporters should also be prosecuted for “willingly” publishing such classified information.
“If they willingly knew that this was classified information, I think actions should be taken, especially something of this magnitude,” King said.
“On something of this magnitude, there is an obligation both moral but also legal, I believe, against a reporter disclosing something that would so severely compromise national security.”
Glenn Greenwald responded to King’s media appearance on Tuesday with bewilderment, tweeting:
On Wednesday, however, Greenwald did not spare King his wrath, tweeting:
In an appearance on CNN, Greenwald slammed King, saying that it was “staggering” to see King call for the prosecution of journalists in America.
“It’s bad enough to call for that, it is extraordinarily menacing that he did so based on a complete falsehood, the idea that I ever threatened to [disclose CIA agents],” Greenwald said.
The reporter also pointed out that the Congressman actively supported British government sponsored terrorism in Northern Ireland for decades.
“The last thing I would try to do is read what goes on internally in the swamp of Peter King’s brain,” he asserted. “What I do know is that he has a history of all kinds of radical and extremist statements. He himself was a supporter of terrorism for several decades when it was done by the IRA.”
Greenwald, a journalist who criticised the Bush administration for its own violations of the Bill Of Rights, just as fiercely as he is now slamming the Obama administration, has described other media outlets and reporters as “Slavishly Partisan”, for not standing up on the issue.
“I’m not surprised,” Greenwald said in an email to Business Insider this week. “I’ve been amazed and disappointed for a long time at how the most slavishly partisan media Democrats who pretended to care so much about these issues when doing so helped undermine George Bush are now the loudest apologists and cheerleaders for these very same policies.”
“If they started a club called Liberal Pundits to Defend the National Security State, no auditorium in the country would be large enough to accommodate them.” Greenwald urged.
“To call them principle-free, hackish, and opportunistic is to be overly generous.” Greenwald added.
During an appearance on MSNBC earlier in the week, Greenwald, who has warned that the NSA is intent on “destroying privacy all over the world,” accused “Morning Joe” co-host Mike Brzezinski of repeating “White House talking points”, when she attempted to downplay the actions of the spy agency:
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As Alex Jones breaks down in the following recent video, Congressman King is the one who should be arrested for advocating violations of the Fourth Amendment by advocating spying on Americans:
June 13, 2013
On last night’s Infowars Nightly News, Alex spoke with a telecom industry insider who broke news of the widespread government surveillance dragnet intercepting data, phone calls, e-mails, videos and pictures a day before the NSA’s PRISM scandal went public.
Critical infrastructure consultant and transport engineer James Knox confirmed that, as an administrator, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been completely honest with the evidence he has brought forth.
“Given what you know from your perspective, is [Snowden's information] accurate?” Alex asked.
“Absolutely accurate,” Knox said as he proceeded to describe how certain communication technicians have the ability to literally spy on individual people at whim. “That doesn’t mean that there’s a fellow sitting there in front of a monitor watching you day to day. It only becomes important when, for whatever reason – and it could be just sheer boredom – that they run across you…”
Giving an example of how almost everything is dependent on integrated networks that can be monitored and manipulated, Knox says as a telecom worker he had the “keys to the kingdom” and if he had wanted, he could have shut down power to the capitol building in Sacramento.
When Alex mentioned that he had received phone calls in the past threatening his life from unidentifiable phone numbers, Knox said this means someone was manipulating the signaling bandwidth of the phone signal and actively stripping data so that that particular piece of information would not get transferred.
Alex also wondered how easy it is for people to install data on other peoples’ computer, via these integrated networks: “How easy is it for them to set people up?”
“…it’s simple,” Knox responded. “It’s as simple as monitoring you if they want to take that access and get you from the Internet.”
Earlier this week, Rob Dew had also interviewed Mr. Knox where he went into the history of theTelecomm Act of 1996 and CALEA, the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, and how these are used to violate our rights and privacy on a daily basis.
These interviews validate what Alex has been saying for years… that the NSA doesn’t need to tap phones; the phone companies are part of the NSA. The video below is from 2011:
FBI Director: Snowden Leaks Made Nation ‘Exceptionally Vulnerable’
Thursday, 13 Jun 2013 12:09 PM
FBI Director Robert Mueller on Thursday defended a pair of controversial government surveillance programs, telling Congress that leaking information on them harms national security.
In his last appearance as FBI director before the House Judiciary Committee, Mueller said that terrorists track leaked information "very, very closely" and that because of leaks "we lose our ability to get their communications" and "we are exceptionally vulnerable."
"As to the individual who has admitted making these disclosures, he is the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation," Mueller said without naming Snowden.
Mueller added: "We are taking all necessary steps to hold the person responsible for these disclosures."
Responding to questions by committee chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., Mueller said the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has approved the surveillance programs and they have been conducted in compliance with U.S. law and with oversight from Congress.
The revelation that the National Security Agency is collecting millions of U.S. phone records along with digital communications stored by nine major Internet companies has touched off a national debate over whether the Obama administration, in its efforts to thwart terrorism, has overstepped proper bounds by using intrusive surveillance methods.
Rep. John Conyers, the committee’s ranking Democrat, expressed concern that the two programs were too far-reaching.
"It’s my fear that we are on the verge of becoming a surveillance state," said Conyers.
Mueller is nearing the end of his 12 years as head of the law enforcement agency that is conducting high-profile investigations of the Boston Marathon bombings, the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans and leaks of classified government information. Mueller’s last day on the job is Sept. 4.
On Wednesday, Goodlatte said that when it comes to national security leaks, it’s important to balance the need to protect secrecy with the need to let the news media do their job.
The Justice Department revealed last month that it had secretly gathered phone records of The Associated Press and emails of Fox News journalist James Rosen in an effort to crack down on leakers of classified information.
In the past week, a 29-year-old contractor leaked National Security Agency documents on the agency’s collection of millions of U.S. phone records and the NSA’s collection of emails and other information that people transmit online to and from foreign targets.
That has touched off a national debate over whether the Obama administration, in its efforts to thwart terrorism, has overstepped by using intrusive surveillance methods.
"Over the past few years, we have witnessed troubling national security leaks and have learned that the Obama administration seems to be bending the rules in place that protect the freedom of the press in its investigations," Goodlatte said.
On Benghazi, Republicans accuse the administration of misleading the public about an act of terrorism in the heat of the presidential campaign by saying the Sept. 11, 2012, assaults on the U.S. diplomatic post grew out of spontaneous demonstrations over an anti-Muslim video. In the immediate aftermath, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice described it as a "horrific incident where some mob was hijacked, ultimately, by a handful of extremists." The White House says Rice reflected the best information available while facts were still being gathered.
Goodlatte said the committee planned to find out more about the status of what the congressman called the FBI’s "stalled investigation" in Libya.
GOP lawmakers also have questioned why the military couldn’t get aircraft or troops to Benghazi in time to thwart a second attack after the first incident that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. Four Americans, including Stevens, died in the attacks that took place several hours apart.
Regarding the Boston Marathon bombings, committee members want to know whether there was a breakdown in information-sharing between federal agencies, preventing the FBI from thwarting the explosions that killed three people and injured more than 260.
Russia’s internal security service, the FSB, sent information to the FBI about now-deceased bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011. The Russians told the FBI that Tsarnaev, an ethnic Chechen Russian immigrant living in the Boston area, was a follower of radical Islam and had changed drastically since 2010. Because of a subsequent FBI inquiry, Tsarnaev’s name was added to a Homeland Security Department database called TECS that is used by U.S. officials at the border to help screen people coming in and out of the U.S.
In January 2012, Tsarnaev traveled to Russia and returned to the U.S. in July. Three days before he left for Russia, the TECS database generated an alert on Tsarnaev. That alert was shared with a Customs and Border Protection officer who is a member of the FBI’s Boston joint terrorism task force. By that time, the FBI’s investigation into Tsarnaev had been closed for nearly six months because the FBI uncovered no evidence that he was tied to terror groups.
Tsarnaev died after a shootout with police four days after the April 15 bombings. His brother, Dzhokhar, was charged in the bombings and is recovering from gunshot wounds at a federal prison hospital in central Massachusetts.
© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
BANK ROBBERY SUSPECT WANTS NSA SURVEILLANCE RECORDS FOR DEFENSE
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by BEN SHAPIRO 13 Jun 2013, 11:07 AM PDT POST A COMMENT
Terrance Brown, 40, is on trial in South Florida for allegedly conspiring with four other men to hijack armored trucks delivering cash to banks in 2010. All have pleaded not guilty. But now Brown has come up with a unique defense: he wants the National Security Agency to turn over his phone records to the court to demonstrate his innocence.
The case, which is taking place in federal court, involves phone records – the FBI and prosecutors have been using cellphone records to demonstrate the men’s locations near the robbery attempts. The prosecution said that it was unable to get cellphone records from the time before September 2010 because the phone carrier had destroyed the records.
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But Brown has new hope: his lawyer, Marshall Dore Louis, filed documents requesting NSA documents showing phone location records for Brown’s cellphones on the night of one of the robberies. “The president of the United States has recognized this program has been ongoing since 2006,” wrote Louis, “to gather the phone numbers [and related information] of everybody including my client in 2010.”
The judge, Robin Rosenbaum, gave the prosecutors a few weeks to respond. “There are security procedures that must be followed,” said Assistant US Attorney Michael Walleisa. One prosecutor, Michael Gilfarb, said that the information might not be relevant, depending on whether Brown carried his phone that night, given the fact that Brown’s wife said he didn’t have a cellphone at that time.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).
NSA spying flap extends to contents of U.S. phone calls
National Security Agency discloses in secret Capitol Hill briefing that thousands of analysts can listen to domestic phone calls. That authorization appears to extend to e-mail and text messages too.
by Declan McCullagh
June 15, 2013 4:39 PM PDT
NSA Director Keith Alexander says his agency’s analysts, which until recently included Edward Snowden among their ranks, take protecting "civil liberties and privacy and the security of this nation to their heart every day."
(Credit: Getty Images)
The National Security Agency has acknowledged in a new classified briefing that it does not need court authorization to listen to domestic phone calls, a participant said.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, disclosed on Thursday that during a secret briefing to members of Congress, he was told that the contents of a phone call could be accessed "simply based on an analyst deciding that."
If the NSA wants "to listen to the phone," an analyst’s decision is sufficient, without any other legal authorization required, Nadler said he learned. "I was rather startled," said Nadler, an attorney and congressman who serves on the House Judiciary committee.
Not only does this disclosure shed more light on how the NSA’s formidable eavesdropping apparatus works domestically, it also suggests the Justice Department has secretly interpreted federal surveillance law to permit thousands of low-ranking analysts to eavesdrop on phone calls.
James Owens, a spokesman for Nadler, provided a statement on Sunday morning, a day after this article was published, saying: "I am pleased that the administration has reiterated that, as I have always believed, the NSA cannot listen to the content of Americans’ phone calls without a specific warrant." Owens said he couldn’t comment on what assurances from the Obama administration Nadler was referring to, and said Nadler was unavailable for an interview. (CNET had contacted Nadler for comment on Friday.)
Because the same legal standards that apply to phone calls also apply to e-mail messages, text messages, and instant messages, being able to listen to phone calls would mean the NSA analysts could also access the contents of Internet communications without going before a court and seeking approval.
Nadler’s initial statement appears to confirm some of the allegations made by Edward Snowden, a former NSA infrastructure analyst who leaked classified documents to the Guardian. Snowden said in a video interview that, while not all NSA analysts had this ability, he could from Hawaii "wiretap anyone from you or your accountant to a federal judge to even the president."
There are serious "constitutional problems" with this approach, said Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation who has litigated warrantless wiretapping cases. "It epitomizes the problem of secret laws."
The NSA declined to comment to CNET. (This is unrelated to the disclosure that the NSA is currently collecting records of the metadata of all domestic Verizon calls, but not the actual contents of the conversations.)
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper released a statement on Sunday saying: "The statement that a single analyst can eavesdrop on domestic communications without proper legal authorization is incorrect and was not briefed to Congress." Clapper’s statement did not elaborate, however, on what "proper" authorization would be. Some reports have suggested that permission from a "shift supervisor" would also be required.
The Washington Post disclosed Saturday that the existence of a top-secret NSA program called NUCLEON, which "intercepts telephone calls and routes the spoken words" to a database. Top intelligence officials in the Obama administration, the Post said, "have resolutely refused to offer an estimate of the number of Americans whose calls or e-mails have thus made their way into content databases such as NUCLEON."
A portion of the NSA’s mammoth data center in Bluffdale, Utah, scheduled to open this fall.
(Credit: Getty Images)
Earlier reports have indicated that the NSA has the ability to record nearly all domestic and international phone calls — in case an analyst needed to access the recordings in the future. A Wired magazine article last year disclosed that the NSA has established "listening posts" that allow the agency to collect and sift through billions of phone calls through a massive new data center in Utah, "whether they originate within the country or overseas." That includes not just metadata, but also the contents of the communications.
William Binney, a former NSA technical director who helped to modernize the agency’s worldwide eavesdropping network, told the Daily Caller this week that the NSA records the phone calls of 500,000 to 1 million people who are on its so-called target list, and perhaps even more. "They look through these phone numbers and they target those and that’s what they record," Binney said.
Brewster Kahle, a computer engineer who founded the Internet Archive, has vast experience storing large amounts of data. He created a spreadsheet this week estimating that the cost to store all domestic phone calls a year in cloud storage for data-mining purposes would be about $27 million per year, not counting the cost of extra security for a top-secret program and security clearances for the people involved.
NSA’s annual budget is classified but is estimated to be around $10 billion.
Documents that came to light in an EFF lawsuit provide some insight into how the spy agency vacuums up data from telecommunications companies. Mark Klein, who worked as an AT&T technician for over 22 years, disclosed in 2006 (PDF) that he witnessed domestic voice and Internet traffic being surreptitiously "diverted" through a "splitter cabinet" to secure room 641A in one of the company’s San Francisco facilities. The room was accessible only to NSA-cleared technicians.
AT&T and other telecommunications companies that allow the NSA to tap into their fiber links receive absolute immunity from civil liability or criminal prosecution, thanks to a law that Congress enacted in 2008 and renewed in 2012. It’s a series of amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, also known as the FISA Amendments Act.
That law says surveillance may be authorized by the attorney general and director of national intelligence without prior approval by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, as long as minimization requirements and general procedures blessed by the court are followed.
A requirement of the 2008 law is that the NSA "may not intentionally target any person known at the time of acquisition to be located in the United States." A possible interpretation of that language, some legal experts said, is that the agency may vacuum up everything it can domestically — on the theory that indiscriminate data acquisition was not intended to "target" a specific American citizen.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, an attorney and member of the House Judiciary committee, who said he was "startled" to learn that NSA analysts could eavesdrop on domestic calls without court authorization.
(Credit: Getty Images)
Rep. Nadler’s statement that NSA analysts can listen to calls without court orders came during a House Judiciary hearing on June 13 that included FBI director Robert Mueller as a witness.
Mueller initially sought to downplay concerns about NSA surveillance by claiming that, to listen to a phone call, the government would need to seek "a special, a particularized order from the FISA court directed at that particular phone of that particular individual."
Is information about that procedure "classified in any way?" Nadler asked.
"I don’t think so," Mueller replied.
"Then I can say the following," Nadler said. "We heard precisely the opposite at the briefing the other day. We heard precisely that you could get the specific information from that telephone simply based on an analyst deciding that…In other words, what you just said is incorrect. So there’s a conflict."
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the head of the Senate Intelligence committee, separately acknowledged that the agency’s analysts have the ability to access the "content of a call."
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), the head of the House Intelligence committee, told CNN on Sunday that the NSA "is not listening to Americans’ phone calls" or monitoring their e-mails, and any statements to the contrary are "misinformation." It would be "illegal" for the NSA to do that, Rogers said.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Intelligence committee, acknowledged this week that NSA analysts have the ability to access the "content of a call."
(Credit: Getty Images)
Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell indicated during a House Intelligence hearing in 2007 that the NSA’s surveillance process involves "billions" of bulk communications being intercepted, analyzed, and incorporated into a database.
They can be accessed by an analyst who’s part of the NSA’s "workforce of thousands of people" who are "trained" annually in minimization procedures, he said. (McConnell, who had previously worked as the director of the NSA, is now vice chairman at Booz Allen Hamilton, Snowden’s former employer.)
If it were "a U.S. person inside the United States, now that would stimulate the system to get a warrant," McConnell told the committee. "And that is how the process would work. Now, if you have foreign intelligence data, you publish it [inside the federal government]. Because it has foreign intelligence value."
McConnell said during a separate congressional appearance around the same time that he believed the president had the constitutional authority, no matter what the law actually says, to order domestic spying without warrants.
Former FBI counterterrorism agent Tim Clemente told CNN last month that, in national security investigations, the bureau can access records of a previously made telephone call. "All of that stuff is being captured as we speak whether we know it or like it or not," he said. Clementeadded in an appearance the next day that, thanks to the "intelligence community" — an apparent reference to the NSA — "there’s a way to look at digital communications in the past."
NSA Director Keith Alexander said on June 12 that his agency’s analysts abide by the law: "They do this lawfully. They take compliance oversight, protecting civil liberties and privacy and the security of this nation to their heart every day."
But that’s not always the case. A New York Times article in 2009 revealed the NSA engaged in significant and systemic "overcollection" of Americans’ domestic communications that alarmed intelligence officials. The Justice Department said in a statement at the time that it "took comprehensive steps to correct the situation and bring the program into compliance" with the law.
Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU’s Center for Democracy, says he was surprised to see the 2008 FISA Amendments Act be used to vacuum up information on American citizens. "Everyone who voted for the statute thought it was about international communications," he said.