White House Defends Its Wiretapping Of Millions Of US Citizens

Tyler Durden's picture

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.

From Reuters:

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.

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Big Slick's picture

Boycott Verizon.  That might help

Seriously... if no one's willing to put these SOB's in prison, hitting them in the wallet night be what WE can do.

(BTW: VZ has a sordid HFT past)

NoTTD's picture

Pointless.  It will be revealed on a gradual basis that all carriers are doing the same thing.  For your own good.

EscapeKey's picture

Use encrypted communication.

Big Slick's picture

So no bankers should hang either, right NoTTD?  Same argument.  Its weak. 

Hit one to let them know we're serious.  watch the dominoes, bro

Zer0head's picture

If it saves just one life it is clearly worth it, unless of course you have something to hide.


(says the skin and bones soccer mom sipping a latte while updating her FB page on her iphone as she cruises through another stop sign)

Joe Davola's picture

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.


"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.


Soooo, if you're not keeping track of the subscribers identity or the content, how do you know if it is a known or suspected terrorist making the call?  Or is terrorist in the eye of the be-Holder?

imaginalis's picture

Until you all vote for the name on the ballot you have never heard of this shit will continue

Joe Davola's picture


I'm sure the g-men won't look at who the actual user is typing 'goatse' into the search engine/mail/g+/maps/etc.  Kaczynski may have been on to something.

Manthong's picture

Fundamental Transformation..

It’s a good thing, comrades.

gmrpeabody's picture

I wonder how long before they start monitoring our posts here on ZH.

Oh.., wait...

General Decline's picture

If you have done nothing wrong, then what do you have to worry about?....... I can't wait to say that to a cop next time he threatens me for videotaping him while he is hassling somebody. I guess I'll prolly get to find out what it feels like to be tazed.

doomandbloom's picture

Its for your Freakin Safety ...dont you understand ? Peasants!



12ToothAssassin's picture

Its time to end this tragicomedy.

Yes We Can. But Lets Not.'s picture

Obama's plan is to make the USA such a thoroughly unappealing state in which to live that terrorists will have no interest in bothering us.  I mean, who wants anything to do with a lowly slave, especially a docile, moronic, unfit one?  No need to knock the USA off a pedestal if the USA has already done it itself.

tango's picture

Well, this is one thing he's succeeded at and quite brilliantly, getting reelected after refusing to defend his first term and offering nothing for his second.  Oops forgot, turn us into an unappealing nation.  Done!

MillionDollarBogus_'s picture

This is a good example of why Dick Cheney never used a cell phone to communicate business info while he was VP.  He sent letters or runners with his messages. 

Cell phone conversations are about as private as emails. 

Everyone knows that, right..??

spine001's picture

We did that in MN and elected Jesse Ventura, a joke guy thzt got into the candidates list for governor just to get some free publicity. He told people a lot of hard truths... that we talk about here, a famous one was "that religuions are for the weak minded and have always been a way to control and manipulate people" you shoukd have seen the reactions to these simple historical truths... it was real fun. The poor guy spent his whole term scared shitless that they were going to kill him any minute... He didnt run again nor did he want anything to do with politics ever again. So forget about the "new guy" being a solution... The whole system is what is not working... personallychaos math tells me that I have once chance in hell of seeing the next attractor...

OneTinSoldier66's picture

"Until you all vote for the name on the ballot you have never heard of this shit will continue"


Yeah, sure. Keep voting.. over and over and over again. Keep pretending that the a piece of paper called The Constitution can limit the size, scope, and power of Gov't. Knock yourself out!


If voting would change anything, they'd make it illegal.

tango's picture

So your alternative solution is ???

OneTinSoldier66's picture

The solution is something that I don't necessarily expect to see within my lifetime, but that doesn't mean that I won't keep striving for it. The solution, in my opinion, would mean that the rules of society would come from where they are supposed to actually come from, from society! Not from a tyranny of the majority/mobocracy. I firmly believe that you do not get representation at a voting booth.


The solution, if that is what one wants to call it, has gone by many names. Anarcho-capitalism, a stateless society, a free society, libertarian, anarchy. It is my belief that there should only be businesses. No Government. Instead of Government, we would have governance. That means that businesses could only exist if they were contributing something of real actual value to society. In a free society no business could exist for very long unless it really truly was profitable.

Many anarchist believe, as I do, that the word anarchy was stolen long ago. Just like Liberal used to mean that you believed in freedom and liberty, but was taken over by people that do not freedom. So it then became Classic Liberal, then that was taken over, so freedom lovers started calling themselves Libertarians. I have been told that the original (Greek)definition of the word Anarchy is... ana, which means without, and arc, which means ruler. Anarchy means without rulers. It DOES NOT MEAN, without rules. Anarchists such as myself believe there would be rules. The difference is, where those rules would come from.


Am I trying, to begin, to describe Utopia? NO! There is no such thing. There is no perfect answer/solution to all the problems in the world. Neither I, nor anyone else, can solve all the problems in the world no matter how badly I might wish that I or "we" could. So, I, and I hope other Libertarians, seek the "least imperfect solution".


If you are wanting to know how a free society could work, the guy in my avatar, Stefan Molyneux, has thousands of videos and podcasts explaining, in his vision I suppose, of how a many different aspects of a free society might work. But alas, as Stefan says, since we've never had or seen a free society, no one can know exactly how it would look/work.


Here are links to a couple of example Stefan Molyneux videos:

they are not short in length!


An Introduction to Anarchy

Anarchy Means "Without Rulers" -Not "Without Rules!"

tango's picture

I'm a Libertarian so I understand completely.  BUT...experience has convinced me that anarchy is possible ONLY for a well-educated, critical thinking citizenry that manages to balance long and short-term plans and avoids trouble from pesky outsiders who do not share their view.   Our evolutionary psychology developed such institutions as marriage, meals, religion, manners and government for a reason.  I am convinced that policies countering foundational psychological creations are doomed.  Alas we are only human. 

You did touch on something important.  Who can best provide for human needs - a bureacratic government of elected officials or the marketplace?  I have no doubt that the marketplace is far superior but am not convinced that people can self-regulate themselves since that involves constant diligence, rational discussion and compromise.  I much prefer a very limited State whose duties are truly national - printing money, defense, enforcing common tax and business laws, etc

rubiconsolutions's picture

So....how do you limit the state? The state, government always acts in its own self interest so the idea of limited government is a myth. An important question that needs to be asked is this: is man inherently good or evil. If man is good then he doesn't need government. If he is evil (sorry, I'm using male gender to describe people here) then government is bad because of the amplification effect of monopoly of use of force. When you say that you "prefer a very limited state whose duties are truly national - printing money, defense, enforcing common tax and business laws, etc" what exactly does that mean? What kind of tax system would you put into place? Would taxes be compulsary and enforceable by the threat of force? If so you are advocating a system no different than what we have today, a system (direct taxation) that is "constitutional" but immoral. Would government have a monopoly on the printing of money? If so, what would the nature of that system be? Fiat or backed by some commodity (gold)? How would we consent to being governed and by whom? Would consent by implicit or explict?

The devil is in the details and when someone suggests that they are libertarian yet advocates a "truly national" system of government I'm a bit suspicious.

tango's picture

I no longer mentally design elaborate systems.  Institutions evolve naturally; those that are imposed are short-lived.  All systems reflect the universal struggle between individuals and the group. Again, anarchists are almost always talented, educated,critical thinkers who will do well in any setting.  They forget that most folks are NOT like this nor have they ever been.  I don't want Utopia - simply a system that works well most the time.  

As for taxes, we need roads, bridges, hospitals, schools, clean water, food and air, basic R&D, protection from bad guys, enforcement of laws.  This requires money whether tasks are performed by the private or public sector.  One of the selling points of a central power was that it would prevent businesses from facing 13 different sets of taxes and rules.  Except for religion, I like the ideas of Ron Paul



OneTinSoldier66's picture

Hello again tango,


I am very happy to hear that your are a fellow Libertarian. You would be either an Objectivist or a Minarchist Libertarian, if labels were to be used. I don't put a whole lot of stock into labels though.


As an an anarchist libertarian, and I know I am not alone(see Jeff Berwick, Anarchast(#72 i think) on youtube) in saying this... I am not absolutely 100% certain that Anarchy is the "least imperfect" solution. I think that Stefan Molyneux believes it 100% though. I'm fairly close but not 100%.


Is There Hope for Liberty in Our Lifetime? | Jacob Huebert - YouTube

tango's picture

Certainly not an Objectivist - too cultish.  I guess I'm an old-fashioned 19th century liberal favoring experience, tradition and common sense.   I can still remember the time (and it was not so long ago) when folks first turned to their local governments, then state governments and only as a last resort, the federal government for help/consultation.  All the anarchists I have met are well-educated, erudite, knowledgable and critical thinkers - values I do not associate with the vast majority of the American public today.

It's so easy to get depressed - woeful education, the lack of convivial discussion, the rush to demonize any who disagree, the seeming inability to plan beyond the next day, a static, inefficient, bankrupt, corrupt  State  - BUT, having traveled the world, it is still the best.  (And what does that say about our species?).   Returning to the evolutionary theme, humans need something visceral to believe in, to trust in, to turn to in times of conflict.   Being good for goodness sake is a great atheist line but we also need laws enforced neutrally, protection from the bad guys, a system of checks and balances and a way to change things peacefully.  Limited government fits the bill for me. 

rubiconsolutions's picture

What you are describing is voluntaryism. Something I support and practice as much as possible given the tyranny we live under in this country. The question I wrestle with is this: how does one - or can one - withdraw their consent to be governed? Frankly, I don't think it's possible to do so given the fact that government has a monopoly on the use of force which the wield quite effectively. And liberally. I do not vote and haven't done so since 1992 because that was when it became apparent that the whole thing is a charade. Voting is used by the power brokers to give the illusion that people are in control. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Also, I am not a big supporter of the constitution or libertarianism. Frankly the constitution was a coup d'etat by those wishing to expand and centralize government. On this subject I'm with Spooner when he wrote - “But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain - that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case it is unfit to exist.”

I would suggest another link - Everything Voluntary and also No More Cages

OneTinSoldier66's picture

You sound a hellava lot like me! I voted the first one or two times I was of voting age and was left with a terrible taste in my mouth. That was probably around 1988. I never voted again.


And yes, Voluntaryism, or Voluntarism, is yet another word for a free and stateless society.


As I have posted before, and I get this from a Mike Shanklin interview with Ben Stone...


We can pretend that the Constitution limits the size, scope, and power of Gov't... but that's all it would be, pretending.



jbvtme's picture

this is a false flag.  you think these reprobates are listing to us talking about justin gaga?  they don't want another egyptian/turkey spring. and this shit is a veiled threat.  fuck those cocksuckers

Chupacabra-322's picture

These lying POS scumbags!! They all SWORE that they would NEVER track or record electronic communications that originated and terminated within our country! LIARS! Filthy, worthless, despicable filth – being paid, BY US to spy ON US!

This PROVES that our federal system of government is no longer worthy of any respect, as they exhibit the most immoral actions that one can envision. Every single person who reads this post – your government believes that it is prudent & justified to treat you as a threat. We are NOT to be trusted. TSA grope-downs – WE PAY FOR – not by choice. We are not to be trusted. Free speech zones. We are not to be trusted, nor respected. Our RIGHT to privacy – it just doesn’t exist. We are not to be trusted. Topping it off is you wielding this enormous power that you direct at your discretion to intimidate anybody who merely disagrees with your political viewpoints : See – IRS. We are not to be trusted.

Our greatest fears about what you might become one day are manifesting as each day passes by.

We, the people, are NOT the problem. We LOVE this Republic. We aren’t the ones who casually dismiss the pillars of rules and laws – the moral fiber that is necessary for the functionality of the delicate balance of power that MUST exist or our “Experiment of Freedom” has failed. You are failing us.

You constantly lie about what you do – but when you get caught, you just lie more – with NO adverse consequences or punishment. You lie to us about what your intentions are. Your obviousness is vile. Why shouldn’t Americans be outraged?

The entire world now just scoffs at us – WE are now the punch line. Some pity us, very few revere us. This is all due to your behavior. There’s nobody to blame but yourselves. You’re disgracing everything that we are supposed to represent – the very best of mankind.

You’ve brought shame upon us all.

Johnbrown's picture

"For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world."

The state is a false god. The great default is coming. The world is watching.


spine001's picture

the number one objective of terrorism is to create this totalitarian reactions on the part of governments. Their theory goes that by destroying the freedom and civil liberties they will be able to destroy the system. All of this was exposed in the argentina terrorism wars of the 1970s. How do you feel their tactics are working out?

V in PA's picture

The number one objective of all humans who seek political power is to create a totalitarian State that keeps them and their kind forever in charge. 


If they need to pretend to fight against one another (R vs. D) to trick us into thinking they are not one in the same or create terrorist world wide (by indiscriminately bombing people or stealing their resources) to scare the sheep.

Then so be it!

Ignatius's picture

It's not even a government anymore -- properly defined, which it was under our Constitution -- it's an occupying force.

That's the baseline.

Urban Redneck's picture

It's not like one should expect a dumb quota-monkey carny like Carney to grasp the notion that a TELEPHONE NUMBER is the SUBSCRIBER IDENTIFICATION, and that they already have name, address, SSN, DL# etc. which is added to another Federal database when the account is opened.

At some point one just has to accept that these "individuals" either do not have the higher brain function associated with human beings- which would entitle them to human rights protections, or that they are lying traitors.  Regardless, some judges should look into the matter, and determine whether these individuals need to be protected from themselves or the nation needs to be protected from them.

Is there really such full employment and a lack of competition for jobs that the uber-prestigious WHITE HOUSE can't even find an air breather capable of stringing together a coherent three-sentence lie?

James-Morrison's picture

Just sound out the acronym.
NSA is Nazi?

WillyGroper's picture

Billing for all cxr's by AMDOCS...owned by...

I wonder when this will induce paranoia in the very people propagating this madness that it may also be used against them???

Lets_Eat_Ben's picture

Because she's high on prescription "medicine".

Georgiabelle's picture

Geez, guys. What's your beef with soccer moms? Most soccer moms I know spend their days volunteering at their children's schools and after school activities. 

thedrickster's picture

Stop the sufferage of women.

Down vote, really? Doesn't anyone remember the Man Show.

Lets_Eat_Ben's picture

It's the blatent, self-righteous, hypocricy that I can't stand.


Georgiabelle's picture

It's 'blatant' and 'hypocrisy'. I learned that drilling my kids on their spelling lists, which I did in between running a household, volunteering at their schools and after school activities, volunteering with Meals-on-Wheels and other charitable causes, going back to school for a masters degree, and running a small business from my home. I guess that makes me a blatantly self-righteous hypocrite, somehow?  

harami's picture

No, you're the exception, not the rule.  Most soccer moms drag their kids to their daily 'activities' and never take the time to get to know them or be involved in their lives.

Georgiabelle's picture

I think you guys are watching too many TV shows titled "The Real Housewives of......". Most of the soccer moms I know are more likely to be accused of being "helicopter moms". Whatever. 

tango's picture

It doesn't matter to this crowd  - they hate em all:  soccer moms, bankers, preachers, politiians, entertainers, CEOs, atheletes, scientists, Jews, the British, past presidents, the Founders - you name it and they'll froth at the mouth.  Actually, many are deeply troubled folks who need anger management courses.  It is extremely unhealthy to be eye-popping, fist-clenching, obscenity yelling mad 24/7.  It's as if  the idea of mature discussion much less emotional control has vanished.  

It's ironic that someone who spends all day hammering angry posts on a keyboard would get upset at someone out actually doing something.  LOL

spine001's picture

Zer0head I don't want to argue, but what you say, eventhogh it sounds very nice is equivalent to seeing only one chess move ahead in a very complex game of preserving our freedom and liberties for the long haul. I invite you to consider what you said but now look at least 3 or 4 moves ahed at the future for our kids.