The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.
The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an “ongoing, daily basis” to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.
The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.
The secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisa) granted the order to the FBI on April 25, giving the government unlimited authority to obtain the data for a specified three-month period ending on July 19.
The information is classed as “metadata”, or transactional information, rather than communications, and so does not require individual warrants to access. The document also specifies that such “metadata” is not limited to the aforementioned items. A 2005 court ruling judged that cell site location data – the nearest cell tower a phone was connected to – was also transactional data, and so could potentially fall under the scope of the order.
James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, and a moron who thinks the Muslim Brotherhood is just a “heterogeneous, largely secular” organization that “eschewed violence” and “decried al Qaeda” gives his automated, perfunctory response:
The Guardian and The Washington Post articles refer to collection of communications pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They contain numerous inaccuracies.
Section 702 is a provision of FISA that is designed to facilitate the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning non-U.S. persons located outside the United States. It cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, any other U.S. person, or anyone located within the United States.
Activities authorized by Section 702 are subject to oversight by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the Executive Branch, and Congress. They involve extensive procedures, specifically approved by the court, to ensure that only non-U.S. persons outside the U.S. are targeted, and that minimize the acquisition, retention and dissemination of incidentally acquired information about U.S. persons.
Section 702 was recently reauthorized by Congress after extensive hearings and debate.
Information collected under this program is among the most important and valuable foreign intelligence information we collect, and is used to protect our nation from a wide variety of threats.
The unauthorized disclosure of information about this important and entirely legal program is reprehensible and risks important protections for the security of Americans.
James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence
Clapper’s claim that only foreigners outside the U.S. can be “targeted” is an outright lie. Speaking of which, Clapper lied before Congress when he insisted that the NSA ‘does not collect any type of data’ on millions of Americans. The NSA routinely collects a wide range of data on individuals, including ‘incidental’ communications from everyone in within their sphere of friends and relatives. If the NSA focus is on internal Islamic terrorist threats, fine. But apparently, the surveillance net is set to trap everyone, regardless of who they are.
Having said that, are the private emails and phone calls of Clapper and NSA employees being indiscriminately tapped?
Food for thought:
Edward “Brill” Lyle: The government’s been in bed with the entire telecommunications industry since the forties. They’ve infected everything. They get into your bank statements, computer files, email, listen to your phone calls… Every wire, every airwave. The more technology used, the easier it is for them to keep tabs on you. It’s a brave new world out there. At least it’d better be.
Thomas Reynolds: We never dealt with domestic. With us, it was always war. We won the war. Now we’re fighting the peace. It’s a lot more volatile. Now we’ve got ten million crackpots out there with sniper scopes, sarin gas and C-4. Ten-year-olds go on the Net, downloading encryption we can barely break, not to mention instructions on how to make a low-yield nuclear device. Privacy’s been dead for years because we can’t risk it. The only privacy that’s left is the inside of your head. Maybe that’s enough. You think we’re the enemy of democracy, you and I? I think we’re democracy’s last hope.
Edward “Brill” Lyle: Fort Meade has 18 acres of mainframe computers underground. You’re talking to your wife on the phone and you use the word “bomb”, “president”, “Allah”, any of a hundred keywords, the computer recognizes it, automatically records it, red-flags it for analysis. That was 20 years ago.
Edward “Brill” Lyle: In the old days, we actually had to tap a wire into your phone line. Now with calls bouncing off satellites, they snatch ’em right out of the air.
—-Quotes from the 1998 film Enemy of the State.
When George W. Bush enacted the Patriot Act to beef up national security and specifically target muslim terrorist threats in the United States, the DemLeft had grand mal seizures. Only when Obama’s media lapdogs were betrayed by the very ‘sort of god’ they idolize, did they finally come to grips with his hubris. It’s probably just a lover’s spat that will end in candy, flowers, and kisses.
Under the Obama regime, the expansion and scope of intelligence gathering has reached out-of-control proportions. It’s being used to monitor, intimidate, and suppress the Constitutional rights of innocent American citizens.
The line between obtaining intelligence data to protect national security, and the protection of civil liberties has been breached by a government run amok. The founders of this country placed a Constitutional leash on the neck of government to ensure its limitations. It’s time for We the People to give it a good yank.
- The NSA Sees All, Collects All, Keeps All, and Can Use All (nationalreview.com)
- NSA Whistleblowers’ Startling Claims: Records on 3 Billion Calls Collected Per Day – And It’s Not Just Verizon (theblaze.com)
- NSA, FBI secretly mining data from Internet firms...
- 'THEY QUITE LITERALLY CAN WATCH YOUR IDEAS AS YOU TYPE'...
- Top secret PRISM program...
- Obama administration collecting phone records of millions daily...
- Secret court order requires VERIZON to hand over ALL CALL DATA...
- White House: Critical tool against 'terrorist threats'...
- Specifically targeted Americans, not foreigners...
- 'Homeland Security': Laptops, phones can be searched based on hunches...
- NSA SEES ALL: Phone Sex, Banks, Emails...
- CIA: We'll Spy on You Through Your Dishwasher...
- '1984' Published 64 Years Ago Today...