Ironic photo of Holder spying on you through your phone
In 2006, George Bush compiled a massive database of Americans’ long-distance and international calls. The calls they were looking for were calls from the US to remote areas of Afghanistan.
Bush had 51% approval of the public at the time. As a result, the government broke up one terror cell, capturing overseas operatives including Abu Zubaydah. The plot was directed at US bridges.
President Obama, according to Wednesday’s report in the Guardian newspaper, has taken this beyond the danger zone. He not only covers phone calls overseas with the goal of counterterrorism surveillance but ALL DOMESTIC CALLS BY VERIZON CUSTOMERS.
It was also ordered that no one can divulge that the FBI and NSA have requested this information. (This report and the order were leaked)
The order goes from April 25 2012 to July 19 2013. The order was granted by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA). It gives the government unlimited authority to collect data on a hundred million citizens in bulk, without a specific target, regardless of whether they are under suspicion or not. This has never been done by prior administrations.
The order allows the government to collect metadata which includes location of call, duration, the time, unique identifiers but not the content of the conversations. From this data, the government can uncover a detailed picture of who any individual contacted, how, when and from where.
It is believed that this information has been collected from all major mobile networks.
President Obama has already said that the war on terror is over, why is he spying on Americans?
Today, Thursday, the White House said that the policy is only being used to track terrorists and is a vital tool in monitoring terrorists. It has the approval of all three branches of government.
Lindsay Graham said Thursday that the government is only looking for terrorists and it is something we should be doing. A GOP aide for the House Armed Services Committee expressed concern about the leak and who the leaker might be.
Senators Wyden and Udall contend that the federal government is using orders from the FISA court to engage in surveillance that would shock and anger Americans.
Wyden told HuffPo in December, without being specific, that the law “on Americans privacy has been real, and it is not hypothetical.” He further said, “When the public finds out that these secret interpretations are so dramatically different than what the public law says, I think there’s going to be extraordinary anger in the country.”
On Wednesday, Udall repeated his concerns without commenting specifically on this report by the Guardian.
These broad sweeps are not unlike the AP records grab. Given the situation with the IRS scandal, this takes on a scary persona.
Civil Liberties organizations are very alarmed which makes me think I shouldn’t be concerned.
FISA is monitoring the metadata collection in this case however.
The government’s reach into our private lives appears to be growing in other departments as well.
A 23-page report obtained by the AP and the ACLU under FOIA reveals that “U.S. border agents should continue to be allowed to search a traveler’s laptop, cellphone or other electronic device and keep copies of any data on them based on no more than a hunch,” according to an internal Homeland Security Department study.
A Washington Post report exposes pressure the FBI hopes to place on companies such as Facebook and Google to enable law enforcement officials to intercept online communications as they occur, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with the effort.
The pressure would come in the form of fines. The FBI can’t easily wiretap some communications so they want to take the lazy approach and just require social networks and e-mail providers to turn over all their data.
Companies are opposed because it will drive customers away.
Again the government’s stated purpose is to trace terrorists with a broad sweeping warrant for a war on terror that no longer exists supposedly.
This is getting into Banana Republic territory if it is a broad aimless sweep under the guise of national security. There is a place for some of this with proper procedures and some level of transparency. We need more information.
Check out Buzzfeed for the obvious comparisons with George Orwell’s 1984.