White House Defends Its Wiretapping Of Millions Of US Citizens
Blink and you have likely missed Obama's latest Watergate moment, this time following the disclosure that the White House has instructed the NSA to collect millions of daily phone records from Verizon (and likely all other carriers). What is surprising to us is that this is even news. We reported on just this in March of 2012 with “We Are This Far From A Turnkey Totalitarian State" - Big Brother Goes Live September 2013" and then again in April 2012 "NSA Whistleblower Speaks Live: "The Government Is Lying To You" using an NSA whistleblower as a source. Still, no matter the distribution platform, it is a welcome development for the majority of the population to know that the same Stazi tactics so loathed for decades in the fringes of the "evil empire" are now a daily occurrence under the "most transparent administration in history." This is especially true in the aftermath of the recent media scandals involving the soon to be former Attorney General.
So what was the latest largely regurgitated news? Overnight te Guardian's Glenn Greenwald reports that the "NSA is collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily" following a "top secret court order requiring Verizon to hand over all call data shows scale of domestic surveillance under Obama."
Some more from the Guardian:
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.
Under the terms of the blanket order, the numbers of both parties on a call are handed over, as is location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls. The contents of the conversation itself are not covered.
The disclosure is likely to reignite longstanding debates in the US over the proper extent of the government's domestic spying powers.
No it won't. Because those who care, have known about this for a long, long time. Everyone else... well, they have their soaring 401(k)s to comfort them, sprinkled in with a little class warfare to keep things "fair", and of course Dancing with the Stars.
Finally, the White House was quick to explain why living in a crypto-fascist, totalitarian state is the New Normal: it's for your own good, you see.
The Obama administration on Thursday acknowledged that it is collecting a massive amount of telephone records from at least one carrier, reopening the debate over privacy even as it defended the practice as necessary to protect Americans against attack.
The admission comes after the Guardian newspaper published a secret court order related to the records of millions of Verizon Communications customers on its website on Wednesday.
A senior administration official said the court order pertains only to data such as a telephone number or the length of a call, and not the subscribers' identities or the content of the telephone calls.
Such information is "a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats to the United States," the official said, speaking on the condition of not being named.
"It allows counter terrorism personnel to discover whether known or suspected terrorists have been in contact with other persons who may be engaged in terrorist activities, particularly people located inside the United States," the official added.
The revelation raises fresh concerns about President Barack Obama's handling of privacy and free speech issues. His administration is already under fire for searching Associated Press journalists' calling records and the emails of a Fox television reporter as part of its inquiries into leaked government information.
It was not immediately clear whether the practice extends to other carriers.
It does. But what is most stunning in all of this is that the benevolent rulers who are here to "help us" have not made selling of any security illegal and punishable by death. Yet.