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Massive NSA Eavesdropping of Domestic Communications

Oh yes they are listening to our phone calls, Barry. (Note: Read Matt Vespa's update to this story. Rep. Nadler apparently misspoke.)

by
Rick Moran

Bio

June 16, 2013 - 6:18 am
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I guess all the defenders of the NSA PRISM and phone-record surveillance programs will now try to tell us that this latest revelation, that the NSA listens in on our phone calls and monitors emails, text messages, and IM chats — all without a warrant — is the price we pay for preventing terrorist attacks.

Not only don’t they need a warrant, says the DoJ, but low-level analysts can make the decision to listen to our phone calls for any reason they want.

CNET:

The National Security Agency has acknowledged in a new classified briefing that it does not need court authorization to listen to domestic phone calls.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, disclosed this week that during a secret briefing to members of Congress, he was told that the contents of a phone call could be accessed “simply based on an analyst deciding that.”

If the NSA wants “to listen to the phone,” an analyst’s decision is sufficient, without any other legal authorization required, Nadler said he learned. “I was rather startled,” said Nadler, an attorney and congressman who serves on the House Judiciary committee.

Not only does this disclosure shed more light on how the NSA’s formidable eavesdropping apparatus works domestically, it also suggests the Justice Department has secretly interpreted federal surveillance law to permit thousands of low-ranking analysts to eavesdrop on phone calls.

Because the same legal standards that apply to phone calls also apply to e-mail messages, text messages, and instant messages, Nadler’s disclosure indicates the NSA analysts could also access the contents of Internet communications without going before a court and seeking approval.

The disclosure appears to confirm some of the allegations made by Edward Snowden, a former NSA infrastructure analyst who leaked classified documents to the Guardian. Snowden said in a video interview that, while not all NSA analysts had this ability, he could from Hawaii “wiretap anyone from you or your accountant to a federal judge to even the president.”

There are serious “constitutional problems” with this approach, said Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation who has litigated warrantless wiretapping cases. “It epitomizes the problem of secret laws.”

The NSA yesterday declined to comment to CNET. A representative said Nadler was not immediately available. (This is unrelated to last week’s disclosure that the NSA is currently collecting records of the metadata of all domestic Verizon calls, but not the actual contents of the conversations.)

The NSA has between 500,000 and one million numbers on their target list — perhaps more. All electronic communications belonging to these people are recorded.

This isn’t “monitoring.” This isn’t “scanning.” This is eavesdropping — exactly what President Obama denied when he said “nobody is listening to your phone calls.” Oh, yes they are, Barry, and lying about it is about the most egregious breaking of trust with the American people that has occurred in your administration.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
RM: "Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, disclosed this week that during a secret briefing to members of Congress, he was told that the contents of a phone call could be accessed 'simply based on an analyst deciding that.'”

We also know that the Obama administration targets Tea Party and other patriotic groups while turning a blind eye toward Mosques.

http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/06/watch_the_good_guys_and_leave_the_terrorists_alone.html

Selective targeting of individuals or groups who are not subversive of the United States and our Constitution is a violation of the 14th amendment which requires equal protection of the law.

"No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." 14th Amendment, U.S. Constitution

http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/amendmentxiv

Maybe the Obama administration believes the 14th amendment only applies to the States and not to the Federal Government. By that reasoning the States are forbidden from instituting slavery, but not the Federal Government. No, the 14th Amendment applies to all levels of American Government - Local - State - Federal. Willful violation of the 14th Amendment in our Constitution is treason because willful violation of the U.S. Constitution is levying political war against the United States.

Selective targeting of individuals or groups who are subversive of our Constitution is not a violation of the 14th amendment because those individuals and groups are themselves guilty of treason against the United States and our Constitution.

“In regard to religion, mutual toleration in the different professions thereof is what all good and candid minds in all ages have ever practiced, and, both by precept and example, inculcated on mankind. And it is now generally agreed among Christians that this spirit of toleration, in the fullest extent consistent with the being of civil society, is the chief characteristical mark of the Church. Insomuch that Mr. Locke has asserted and proved, beyond the possibility of contradiction on any solid ground, that such toleration ought to be extended to all whose doctrines are not subversive of society. The only sects which he thinks ought to be, and which by all wise laws are excluded from such toleration, are those who teach doctrines subversive of the civil government under which they live [Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and Constitution].” Samuel Adams

http://history.hanover.edu/texts/adamss.html
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Wow, how far we've come. When I worked for NSA in the 80's and early 90's, eavesdropping on American citizens was consider cardinal sin number one. The protocol for such inadvertency was drilled in day one.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (17)
All Comments   (17)
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Just as a note, you have to remember the state-of-the-art in voice recognition.

Rush Limbaugh had a caller a few days ago who worked for a telecom company and described how this sort of thing could be used. He's currently working for a company that uses commercially available, public databases to feed a program that gives commercial call-in lines information on callers. In less than a second, it can tell the operator things like: name and address (reverse directory information from the phone book), what you payed for your house (from property tax info), what your last dozen FaceBook or Twitter posts were, what you last purchased online, what your favorite books are (from Amazon), your credit score, and what causes you last donated to. And that's just the publicly available stuff.

Just using the metadata from the phonecalls,one can infer a lot about a person; for instance, it's not hard to figure out what's going on if a single woman calls her OB-GYN and then shortly thereafter calls Planned Parenthood or an adoption agency. If the person if interest uses a cell phone, you can determine their approximate locations by examining which cell towers their phones used. Combine this information with the publicly available databases and you can quite literally follow a person through the day - and never get in sight of him/her. I saw one example of a legitimate use of this knowledge; the police concluded that a person of interest had - probably unlawful - long term visitors simply by examining his utility bills for a few months.

Now imagine that you have access to the phone calls themselves. Somebody comes to the interest of the NSA. They don't have to listen to every phone call, they tell the computer servers to pull all calls to and from known numbers and look for words such as "bomb", "Allah", "NRA", or "Republican". Then they start looking at who was on the other end of the calls and how this correlates with the credit card transactions and e-mail records and they can get a pretty close idea of what the person was doing at the time.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Read Brad Thor's "Black list" (Atria/Emily Bestler Books, 2012). While a thriller, he wrote it based on fact. Not only is the NSA evesdropping, but they have the capability of recording every telephone conversation and e-mail throughout the U.S and storing it for later review. The vast majority of the "take" will not be reviewed except by computer, of course, but the potential for abuse is staggering.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The two words "hard" and "copy" are starting even better than they already did. I'm also reminded of the new Battlestar Galactica where everything was so networked together that the Cylons brought down the entire system by using it against the humans. Only those few ships that were so old-fashioned as to be a network apart like the Galactica survived because the Cylons couldn't hack them or otherwise read their intentions.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Here is the tell from the "Loyal Opposition" - the GoP - what do you hear?

-Crickets-

Not. A. Darn. Thing.

Which makes them complicit in the violations and illegals AFAIC.

We need many applications of a 'hemp rope and a streetlamp'.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
RM: "Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, disclosed this week that during a secret briefing to members of Congress, he was told that the contents of a phone call could be accessed 'simply based on an analyst deciding that.'”

We also know that the Obama administration targets Tea Party and other patriotic groups while turning a blind eye toward Mosques.

http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/06/watch_the_good_guys_and_leave_the_terrorists_alone.html

Selective targeting of individuals or groups who are not subversive of the United States and our Constitution is a violation of the 14th amendment which requires equal protection of the law.

"No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." 14th Amendment, U.S. Constitution

http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/amendmentxiv

Maybe the Obama administration believes the 14th amendment only applies to the States and not to the Federal Government. By that reasoning the States are forbidden from instituting slavery, but not the Federal Government. No, the 14th Amendment applies to all levels of American Government - Local - State - Federal. Willful violation of the 14th Amendment in our Constitution is treason because willful violation of the U.S. Constitution is levying political war against the United States.

Selective targeting of individuals or groups who are subversive of our Constitution is not a violation of the 14th amendment because those individuals and groups are themselves guilty of treason against the United States and our Constitution.

“In regard to religion, mutual toleration in the different professions thereof is what all good and candid minds in all ages have ever practiced, and, both by precept and example, inculcated on mankind. And it is now generally agreed among Christians that this spirit of toleration, in the fullest extent consistent with the being of civil society, is the chief characteristical mark of the Church. Insomuch that Mr. Locke has asserted and proved, beyond the possibility of contradiction on any solid ground, that such toleration ought to be extended to all whose doctrines are not subversive of society. The only sects which he thinks ought to be, and which by all wise laws are excluded from such toleration, are those who teach doctrines subversive of the civil government under which they live [Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and Constitution].” Samuel Adams

http://history.hanover.edu/texts/adamss.html
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
RM: "Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, disclosed this week that during a secret briefing to members of Congress, he was told that the contents of a phone call could be accessed 'simply based on an analyst deciding that.'”

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated..." 4th Amendment, Bill of Rights, U.S. Constitution

http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/fourth_amendment

Willful violation of the U.S. Constitution is treason because willful violation of the U.S. Constitution is levying political war against the United States.

"Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort." Atricle III, Section 3, U.S. Constitution

http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/articleiii#section3
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So the government is listening in on our calls. I doubt they defer to those calls between an attorney, and his, or her, client. I wonder how the lawyers defending those high profile Federal cases feel now?

Virtually nothing is private anymore, not even when we expect it to be.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Agreed. Let's see if the NSA was recording the communications of Republicans, conservatives, tea party members, etc.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It may well have happened. The way things are going, we should expect some sort of "revelation" in the near future. Probably make the IRS efforts look picayune.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Successfully reforming massive government organizations would require an understanding of the problems of the "surveillance" state by government workers, elected officials and the electorate.

These groups will not change the status quo.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Wow, how far we've come. When I worked for NSA in the 80's and early 90's, eavesdropping on American citizens was consider cardinal sin number one. The protocol for such inadvertency was drilled in day one.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So what were the protocols like in those days, just out of curiosity?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If we had any suspicion at all that we may have comms involving an American citizen we were to report it immediately to our team/division chief. They would determine if the copy was inadvertent or not. If you failed to report it, and it was discovered, it was one of the few ways you could be axed. The copy would be destroyed. It was a very serious matter. But the whole 6 years I was there I never heard of it happening to anyone. I don't see how it could be accidental anyway. At least in my area.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Different regime now. Back in the 80's, Reagan was in office
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Indeed.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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