The Public Doesn’t Believe the NSA … Knows What’s Really Going On With Mass Spying

George Washington's picture


72% of Likely U.S. Voters Know the NSA Has Monitored the Private Communications of Congress, Military Leaders and Judges

The government keeps on lying about how it's spying on Americans without authorization from a court.

It keeps lying about the scope of its spying.

It keeps lying about the need for mass surveillance (and here) and the way that the information gained from spying will really be used ... to harass political opponents.

Indeed, NSA whistleblower Russel Tice – a key source in the 2005 New York Times report that blew the lid off the Bush administration’s use of warrantless wiretapping –recently said that the NSA illegally spied on General Petraeus and other generals, Supreme Court Justice Alito and all of the other supreme court justices, the White House spokesman, Barack Obama, and many other top officials.

The mainstream media will not interview Tice about this explosive issue. (Tice made his revelations to former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds - who has been deemed credible by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General, several senators [free subscription required], and a coalition of prominent conservative and liberal groups - and to James Corbett.  Edmonds and Corbett have small, alternative media web-based radio shows.)

And yet - in very heartening news - a new poll by Rasmussen shows that the American public understands much of what is really going on:

Most voters think the National Security Agency is likely to have violated one of the country’s most cherished constitutional standards – the checks and balances between the three branches of government – by spying on the private communications of Congress and judges.


The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 72% of Likely U.S. Voters think it is at least somewhat likely that the NSA has monitored the private communications of Congress, military leaders and judges. That includes 45% who believe it is Very Likely.


Just 14% say it’s not likely that the Executive branch of the government monitored the private communications of the Legislative and Judicial branches. Another 14% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)


This concern takes on even more significance given that 57% of voters believe it is likely the NSA data will be used by other government agencies to harass political opponents.




Despite the president’s assurance that "nobody is listening to your telephone calls," 68% believe it is likely that "government agencies are listening in on private conversations of American citizens.”




Currently, 33% of voters approve of the recently disclosed NSA program of monitoring Americans’ private phone and e-mail communications to fight terrorism.  Fifty percent (50%) are opposed.




The United States was founded on a belief that governments are created to protect certain unalienable rights. Today, however, more voters than ever (56%) view the federal government as a threat to individual rights rather than a protector of those rights.

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andrewp111's picture

The primary mission of any President or political party is to stay in power. Period.

I think most people understand this now. Not that it will change anyone's vote, of course.

muleskinner's picture

"We make it our business to know everything about everyone." The brownshirt as he spoke to Baron von Trapp's young daughter in the Sound of Music. Welcome to Nazified murka. Which gulag do you live in? Ohio or Indiana?

Escapeclaws's picture

Ed Snowjob is just so they can attack Syria. He has revealed nothing that was not already known. Don't be a dupe--check

lakecity55's picture

Just say NO to Buggery!

shovelhead's picture

And in the meanwhile Congresscritters will make mouth noises about freedom but won't actually DO anything about NSA Gone Wild because they have copies of his e-mails to his boy-toy and pictures of his sweaty Mexican gardener on top of his wife.

Business as usual, same as it has always been.

wattsnotsaid's picture

Even more troublesome is the private spying on ones internet habits for employers or prospective employers.  I don't believe this is legal in the EU and shouldn't be legal in the US.

fallout11's picture

Right you are. Soon any 'connected' fasci-corporation or business will know your every keystroke, every click, all recorded and available for posterity.

Lady Heather...UNCLE's picture

...five words is all I have to say:    thank fuck for zero hedge

Sandmann's picture

If Americans had wanted this they could have stayed under the Rule of King George III. John Wilkes was one of the mainsprings of the First Amendment:


The King felt personally insulted and ordered general warrants to be issued for the arrest of Wilkes and the publishers on 30 April 1763. Forty-nine people, including Wilkes, were arrested under the warrants. Wilkes, however, gained considerable popular support as he asserted the unconstitutionality of general warrants. At his court hearing the Lord Chief Justice ruled that as an MP, Wilkes was protected by privilege from arrest on a charge of libel. He was soon restored to his seat, as he cited parliamentary privilege for his editorial. Wilkes sued his arresters for trespass.


or Thomas Paine:

Undeterred by the government campaign to discredit him, Paine issued his Rights of Man, Part the Second, Combining Principle and Practice in February 1792. It detailed a representative government with enumerated social programs to remedy the numbing poverty of commoners through progressive tax measures. Radically reduced in price to ensure unprecedented circulation, it was sensational in its impact and gave birth to reform societies. An indictment for seditious libel followed, for both publisher and author, while government agents followed Paine and instigated mobs, hate meetings, and burnings in effigy. The authorities aimed, with ultimate success, to chase Paine out of Great Britain. He was then tried in absentia, found guilty though never executed.

In summer of 1792, he answered the sedition and libel charges thus: "If, to expose the fraud and imposition of monarchy ... to promote universal peace, civilization, and commerce, and to break the chains of political superstition, and raise degraded man to his proper rank; if these things be libellous ... let the name of libeller be engraved on my tomb"

unirealist's picture

"But the Constitution isn’t about safety and privacy. The Constitution is about rights and powers. And it says in no uncertain terms that the government can’t poke into people’s affairs without credible evidence that there is illegal activity going on. Furthermore, before the government searches, it has to gain the approval of a judge—and I’m pretty sure that when the Founding Fathers wrote that clause into the Fourth Amendment they didn’t intend for secret courts to be created to approve secret searches based on secret testimony by secret witnesses in secret proceedings with secret judgments that result in secret sentences to secret prisons. No, I don’t believe that’s what they had in mind at all. No sir."

Element's picture



Unfortunately full-spectrum fascism is exhibited as the preferential use of violence and criminal acts as a first resort to achieve Govt policy.

Oh, and govt policy is ALWAYS right ... fascist govt drones said so ... but they are following orders ... as drones are want to do.

fallout11's picture

Up next, they will choose your breakfast cereal for you, "for your own good" of course.

Element's picture

No really, dah intel guys said its all tightly controlled by the ruler of lore!! (... that would be barry ... dah lawyer ... and all round good-guy ...)

Amazing. They flagrantly break law everywhere, for years, undermine the constitutional checks and balances in every way they can, ignore and totally refuse to prosecute or punish the plainly and obviously guilty and criminal in the upper classes, and then wonder why no one believes them much any more, when they merely claim the NSA is involved in innocent, necessary and rigorously constrained and disciplined ...  spying ... on everyone ... constantly and always ... and feign a pretense of observing formal constitutional lawful practice, in this one very rare, special and exceptional instance of do-good-ing, by the authoritahs.

Isn't it obvious that anyone who believes their crap excuses for even a second, on this, or any other security related claim, is nothing but a complete chump? They have been systematically leading us up the garden-path for all our lives - ENTIRELY DELIBERATELY - and they can't give up their psychotic habit of deception, even when they have been caught with their dicks in their hands.

Best we can do is laugh at how pathetic they are, and how feeble their lies sound now.

Roger Ramjet and his Eagles
Fighting for our freedom
Fly through and in outer space
Not to join him but to beat him.
Roger Ramjet he's our man
Hero of our nation
For his adventure just be sure
And stay tuned to this station.
Come and join us all you kids
For lots of fun and laughter
As Roger Ramjet and his men
Get all the crooks they're after.
Roger Ramjet he's our man
Hero of our nation
For his adventure just be sure
And stay tuned to this station.

failsafe's picture

Pre-listening. That's got to be one of my new favorites. Pre-listening, like ... Pre-spy spying so its not REALLY listening or spying but they know when to REALLY start listening or ... spying. Whew. That is SO MUCH better. I was worried the government and the citizens and the corporations didn't have any respect for anyone or didn't care whether or not we are allowed to have one split millisecond of life without OVERSIGHT. But if it is just to decide if they should listen/spy AND record everything, that makes it all better.

2discern's picture

Major point to consider- if they spied on barry soetero as a Senator why is he putative prez when a team of detectives in AZ find irrefutable evidence his posted birth image on WhiteHouse dot gov is a complete forgery. Which can only mean NSA/CIA/FBI installed the impostor or they are totally inept with basic forensic procedures.

Which do think is the case?

yellowsub's picture

Don't Americans know the gov't wants to strip away our rights?

Oh, because you can speak freely still you're "free"?


I like bacon. 

And, I like the Constitution, in it's original form.

This is just a wardrobe malfunction that needs to be sewed up better than new.


Whatta's picture

The arrest today of NE Pat TE Hernadez wasn't spying, I guess, but points out the electronic signature and trail many of us leave:

"...the police used a variety of modern investigative methods and relied on the technology of connected and interactive devices to build their case against Hernandez. Piecing together cellphone tower tracking, text messages and surveillance tapes — including video recorded by 14 cameras trained on the outside and inside of Hernandez’s home..."

Papasmurf's picture

By now those videos from Georgtown will have been digitized, colorized and enhanced.

Zer0head's picture

Dear George:

The public (as in those who have sufficient votes to elect the current Pres., could give 2 shts for privacy. In fact that same public sees it as an opportunity to perpetuate their religion.  


They don't care, they don't give a flying fck.


read some of the comments above (they are an example of which I speak - either as blog operatives or pathetically naive fools)

ZerOhead's picture

But they will care Junior... eventually they will care...

Joebloinvestor's picture

There is a difference between someone listening to your calls and the content of your calls being collected.

The NSA collects the content of all phone calls.


Vooter's picture

Oh, really? What's the difference?

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


There is a difference between someone listening to your calls and the content of your calls being collected.

The NSA collects the content of all phone calls.

Think of it as pre-listening. They don't actually have to listen to it until they've decided on a 'person of interest' to target. At that point, they can examine in fine detail everything they have about the person they want to control or ruin.

BennyBoy's picture

Spy agencys have been recording all cell phone calls around the world before 2001, when this info came from congress.

They've been copying all emails since around that time too.

Now they are in your computer, know your programs and key strokes.

You should not be concerned if you have nothing to hide, supplicant.


Anal cavity searches are coming on a mass scale, you should not be concerned, if you have nothing to hide.

bluskyes's picture

Especially when a machine like the following is doing pre-processing on all the data:

NickVegas's picture

Thank you beatches, I was starting to give up hope. That hits it dead center. It is right out of a sci-fi novel. These kids today, everything they do from birth until the point where they shed their mortal coil, will be available for any spook, spy, crackpot, sociopath, megalomaniac, petty tyrant, and for those in the loop, crooked business associate, market competitor, jilted ex, targeting criminal gangs, sexual deviant, thief in the night, probing for weakness, with total knowledge of your most private thoughts, your known associates, where you shop, your money flows, your total history. 

Private communication will become a crime. They are moving into a position of total control, and no one has ever seen anything like it before. They must on be rev 22.9 from the echelon genesis. I think this is the mother load, and one factor in privatizing public data. Yeah, secret documents are a good cover from moving this information around. It must be amazing to make money with this machine. You would feel like a God. I don't think ever they want to give it back, my precious. They are still exporing its capabilities. I've enjoyed their ramblings on the MSM. It has saved children's lives over and over. I can't stop laughing when I hear their propaganda messages.

Oh yea, I forgot, say goodbye to our social institutions, trust will be destroyed. Your spook neighbor will give you a weird look when your i-pad filmed you fucking your wife with the absolutely necessary backdoor into your operating system. This is fucking scary people, I hate to say it, but this is a nuclear bomb for societal structure. The information nevers DIES idiots, fuck, over time, I see blocks of this information sold in tranches, just for data mining purposes. Your international debt collector, now there is someone who loves a prism. It's treason, or I'm moving to fuck, where?!?


lakecity55's picture

There is nowhere to move.

The entire fucking planet, every square foot, is bugged.

The question is, what will we do to stop the buggery?

Joebloinvestor's picture

They don't listen to it until they want to.

This is how the JD could say that they didn't wiretap Rosens conversations.

They didn't, but they got the time, date, duration and to/from info.

They got the content of the calls from the NSA.


Vooter's picture

So you still haven't answered the question: What's the difference? You seem to be saying that it's okay if they just collect the information. Why is that okay?

hidingfromhelis's picture

Using the tortured logic of those who approve of this, then it would be ok for a government agency or contractor to break into your house and document everything it finds, as long as they don't use it right away.  If they find something they really dislike, then you can be immediately detained anyway though.  To protect our freedoms, we need to give them up, right?  If they decide later that you're undesirable for whatever reason, then a warrant is obtained based on the previous illegal search, and all the information that was gathered is used against you.  

Whether it be your person, posessions, or any form of your communications, the warrant is supposed to come before the fucking search!  I do not see how this can be interpreted any other way, and it's quite telling that we don't have any discussion of the fourth amendment going on in the "news."

lakecity55's picture

The "news" is bugged, too.

Everybody must get bugged.

JohnFrodo's picture

Who says Americans are stupid. We have heard for years and we watched Zero Dark Thirty, real terrorist would not even toast their bread using an electronic device. So who are they snooping on, and what strange bedfellows have they manufactured a mattrass for.

Duc888's picture

Sharkbait: "If we don't vote out a huge percentage of incumbents in the next election,...."


Vote, yea



Hahahahahahahaahahahahahaha, see what "VOTING" got us for a President?


Fucking vote.


Too funny.

bluskyes's picture

The only way to stop a tyrnannical government is to starve it of it's finances. That, and open revolt.

"Revolutions aren't fought on full bellies" hence the power structure's need for welfare, and foodstamps.

Sandmann's picture

How do you starve a Kleptocracy of Money when they simply print it ?

peter4805's picture


"Currently, 33% of voters approve of the recently disclosed NSA program of monitoring Americans’ private phone and e-mail communications to fight terrorism. "

It boggles my mind that fully 1/3 of Americans are this brain dead.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


It boggles my mind that fully 1/3 of Americans are this brain dead.

You're looking at it the wrong way. Consider the results in terms of the intelligence of the average American and a different picture emerges.

One is tempted to say that the 50% of Americans who oppose these shenanigans are represented by the upper half of the intelligence scale. Of course, life isn't that simple. The 33% who approve, though, are likely to be either easily frightened dullards or moderately intelligent grifters that are in on the scheme.

This implies that even among those less intelligent than the average American, a significant portion either doesn't approve of or outright opposes this criminality.

While more study would be called for before one could draw any conclusions, one possible explanation is that the cheap soundbite propaganda and jingoistic sloganeering are becoming less effective.

Element's picture



@ FourthStooge-ing

Hitler summed it up lucidly:


"... Generally, readers of the Press can be classified into three groups:
First, those who believe everything they read;
Second, those who no longer believe anything;
Third, those who critically examine what they read and form their judgments accordingly.
Numerically, the first group is by far the strongest, being composed of the broad masses of the people. Intellectually, it forms the simplest portion of the nation. It cannot be classified according to occupation but only into grades of intelligence. Under this category come all those who have not been born to think for themselves or who have not learnt to do so and who, partly through incompetence and partly through ignorance, believe everything that is set before them in print. To these we must add that type of lazy individual who, although capable of thinking for himself out of sheer laziness gratefully absorbs everything that others had thought over, modestly believing this to have been thoroughly done. The influence which the Press has on all these people is therefore enormous; for after all they constitute the broad masses of a nation. But, somehow they are not in a position or are not willing personally to sift what is being served up to them; so that their whole attitude towards daily problems is almost solely the result of extraneous influence. All this can be advantageous where public enlightenment is of a serious and truthful character, but great harm is done when scoundrels and liars take a hand at this work.
The second group is numerically smaller, being partly composed of those who were formerly in the first group and after a series of bitter disappointments are now prepared to believe nothing of what they see in print. They hate all newspapers. Either they do not read them at all or they become exceptionally annoyed at their contents, which they hold to be nothing but a congeries of lies and misstatements. These people are difficult to handle; for they will always be sceptical of the truth. Consequently, they are useless for any form of positive work.
The third group is easily the smallest, being composed of real intellectuals whom natural aptitude and education have taught to think for themselves and who in all things try to form their own judgments, while at the same time carefully sifting what they read. They will not read any newspaper without using their own intelligence to collaborate with that of the writer and naturally this does not set writers an easy task. Journalists appreciate this type of reader only with a certain amount of reservation.
Hence the trash that newspapers are capable of serving up is of little danger much less of importance to the members of the third group of readers. In the majority of cases these readers have learnt to regard every journalist as fundamentally a rogue who sometimes speaks the truth. Most unfortunately, the value of these readers lies in their intelligence and not in their numerical strength, an unhappy state of affairs in a period where wisdom counts for nothing and majorities for everything. Nowadays when the voting papers of the masses are the deciding factor; the decision lies in the hands of the numerically strongest group; that is to say the first group, the crowd of simpletons and the credulous."
Mein Kampf - Chapter 10

CheapBastard's picture

80% of 17-year-old Americans do not know Germany fought in WWII, Stooge.

80% of ALL adult Americans are unable to multiply 15x17 (using paper an dpencil).

So, I'm  not surprised, just despondent.


PS: Don't even mention WWI. 99% of Americans under 90-years-old haven't a clue.

Room 101's picture

And the answers to those questions are mere trivia.  So who really cares which side fought whom in the second world war that ended almost 70 years ago?  What does it matter if you can't do long hand multiplication if you can buy a calculator for $3FRN?

I don't understand the despondency because of that.  Yeah, we have plenty of ignorant people.  But I don't think that's really any different from how it's been for most of our history.  There have been some brief times in our history when education and enlightenment have been more widespread, but those times have been relatively brief.  I doubt your average sharecropper or tenement resident circa 1890 could tell you who the opposing sides in the war of 1812 were or could even read for that matter.    

Vooter's picture

"Yeah, we have plenty of ignorant people.  But I don't think that's really any different from how it's been for most of our history."

You're right, it's not. But that doesn't mean that ignorant people shouldn't be savagely beaten...

news printer's picture

Germans who fought during WWII You call Nazis

in contrast Japanese who fought during WWII are called Japanese :)


Sandmann's picture

Yes but the American GIs were ALL "Democrats"

williambanzai7's picture

Unfortunately, I suspect many of those opposed have no idea what the constitution says. It is an instinctive negative reaction to anything the government does, not that there is anything wrong with that per se.

NickVegas's picture

Hey, dork heads, you don't fucking get it. What is the origin of that poll? Couldn't I prism up a select market share. OK, that's it, I just blew a top, I'm serious, I'm peaking fuckers. You wish you could understand where I'm at. I just coined a new verb:


prism: verb, to achieve total information awareness


GW, banzai, you are the witnesses, I want credit for this in the history books. Prism can testify, I'm the first human to use prism to mean total information awareness. Google, the verb, will be seen as a subset of a Prism. Google means you only wanted to see a slice, Prism means you want it all, you are greedy. It will be used aa a pejoritive over time, but that time is not today. Kickin it on the planet, watch out for the rabbit hole, slaves.

lakecity55's picture

The poll was also bugged.

shovelhead's picture

"That's Hawt" was already taken?

DeadFred's picture

Or else it's a gut reaction they get when they remember the phone conversation they had last week with Mimi and imagine their wife finding out about it. Too bad the ones who have the power to change the situation already found out about it by way of the transcripts in the anonymous package they found in their congressional mail last year.