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Greenwald writes: "The real capabilities and behavior of the US surveillance state are almost entirely unknown to the American public."

The American surveillance state is growing. (photo: Alamy)
The American surveillance state is growing. (photo: Alamy)



Are All Telephone Calls Recorded and Accessible to the US Government?

By Glenn Greenwald, Guardian UK

05 May 13

 

A former FBI counterterrorism agent claims on CNN that this is the case

he real capabilities and behavior of the US surveillance state are almost entirely unknown to the American public because, like most things of significance done by the US government, it operates behind an impenetrable wall of secrecy. But a seemingly spontaneous admission this week by a former FBI counterterrorism agent provides a rather startling acknowledgment of just how vast and invasive these surveillance activities are.

Over the past couple days, cable news tabloid shows such as CNN's Out Front with Erin Burnett have been excitingly focused on the possible involvement in the Boston Marathon attack of Katherine Russell, the 24-year-old American widow of the deceased suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. As part of their relentless stream of leaks uncritically disseminated by our Adversarial Press Corps, anonymous government officials are claiming that they are now focused on telephone calls between Russell and Tsarnaev that took place both before and after the attack to determine if she had prior knowledge of the plot or participated in any way.

On Wednesday night, Burnett interviewed Tim Clemente, a former FBI counterterrorism agent, about whether the FBI would be able to discover the contents of past telephone conversations between the two. He quite clearly insisted that they could:

BURNETT: Tim, is there any way, obviously, there is a voice mail they can try to get the phone companies to give that up at this point. It's not a voice mail. It's just a conversation. There's no way they actually can find out what happened, right, unless she tells them?
CLEMENTE: "No, there is a way. We certainly have ways in national security investigations to find out exactly what was said in that conversation. It's not necessarily something that the FBI is going to want to present in court, but it may help lead the investigation and/or lead to questioning of her. We certainly can find that out.
BURNETT: "So they can actually get that? People are saying, look, that is incredible.
CLEMENTE: "No, welcome to America. All of that stuff is being captured as we speak whether we know it or like it or not."

"All of that stuff" - meaning every telephone conversation Americans have with one another on US soil, with or without a search warrant - "is being captured as we speak".

On Thursday night, Clemente again appeared on CNN, this time with host Carol Costello, and she asked him about those remarks. He reiterated what he said the night before but added expressly that "all digital communications in the past" are recorded and stored:

 

 

Let's repeat that last part: "no digital communication is secure", by which he means not that any communication is susceptible to government interception as it happens (although that is true), but far beyond that: all digital communications - meaning telephone calls, emails, online chats and the like - are automatically recorded and stored and accessible to the government after the fact. To describe that is to define what a ubiquitous, limitless Surveillance State is.

There have been some previous indications that this is true. Former AT&T engineer Mark Klein revealed that AT&T and other telecoms had built a special network that allowed the National Security Agency full and unfettered access to data about the telephone calls and the content of email communications for all of their customers. Specifically, Klein explained "that the NSA set up a system that vacuumed up Internet and phone-call data from ordinary Americans with the cooperation of AT&T" and that "contrary to the government's depiction of its surveillance program as aimed at overseas terrorists . . . much of the data sent through AT&T to the NSA was purely domestic." But his amazing revelations were mostly ignored and, when Congress retroactively immunized the nation's telecom giants for their participation in the illegal Bush spying programs, Klein's claims (by design) were prevented from being adjudicated in court.

That every single telephone call is recorded and stored would also explain this extraordinary revelation by the Washington Post in 2010:

Every day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications.

It would also help explain the revelations of former NSA official William Binney, who resigned from the agency in protest over its systemic spying on the domestic communications of US citizens, that the US government has "assembled on the order of 20 trillion transactions about US citizens with other US citizens" (which counts only communications transactions and not financial and other transactions), and that "the data that's being assembled is about everybody. And from that data, then they can target anyone they want."

Despite the extreme secrecy behind which these surveillance programs operate, there have been periodic reports of serious abuse. Two Democratic Senators, Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, have been warning for years that Americans would be "stunned" to learn what the US government is doing in terms of secret surveillance.

Strangely, back in 2002 - when hysteria over the 9/11 attacks (and thus acquiescence to government power) was at its peak - the Pentagon's attempt to implement what it called the "Total Information Awareness" program (TIA) sparked so much public controversy that it had to be official scrapped. But it has been incrementally re-instituted - without the creepy (though honest) name and all-seeing-eye logo - with little controversy or even notice.

Back in 2010, worldwide controversy erupted when the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates banned the use of Blackberries because some communications were inaccessible to government intelligence agencies, and that could not be tolerated. The Obama administration condemned this move on the ground that it threatened core freedoms, only to turn around six weeks later and demand that all forms of digital communications allow the US government backdoor access to intercept them. Put another way, the US government embraced exactly the same rationale invoked by the UAE and Saudi agencies: that no communications can be off limits. Indeed, the UAE, when responding to condemnations from the Obama administration, noted that it was simply doing exactly that which the US government does:

"'In fact, the UAE is exercising its sovereign right and is asking for exactly the same regulatory compliance - and with the same principles of judicial and regulatory oversight - that Blackberry grants the US and other governments and nothing more,' [UAE Ambassador to the US Yousef Al] Otaiba said. 'Importantly, the UAE requires the same compliance as the US for the very same reasons: to protect national security and to assist in law enforcement.'"

That no human communications can be allowed to take place without the scrutinizing eye of the US government is indeed the animating principle of the US Surveillance State. Still, this revelation, made in passing on CNN, that every single telephone call made by and among Americans is recorded and stored is something which most people undoubtedly do not know, even if the small group of people who focus on surveillance issues believed it to be true (clearly, both Burnett and Costello were shocked to hear this).

Some new polling suggests that Americans, even after the Boston attack, are growing increasingly concerned about erosions of civil liberties in the name of Terrorism. Even those people who claim it does not matter instinctively understand the value of personal privacy: they put locks on their bedroom doors and vigilantly safeguard their email passwords. That's why the US government so desperately maintains a wall of secrecy around their surveillance capabilities: because they fear that people will find their behavior unacceptably intrusive and threatening, as they did even back in 2002 when John Poindexter's TIA was unveiled.

Mass surveillance is the hallmark of a tyrannical political culture. But whatever one's views on that, the more that is known about what the US government and its surveillance agencies are doing, the better. This admission by this former FBI agent on CNN gives a very good sense for just how limitless these activities are.

 

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+33 # ghostperson 2013-05-05 08:00
Game over.
 
 
-34 # tahoevalleylines 2013-05-05 10:55
Not quite yet...

Glenn Greenwald writes a different story with different villains after Big Ben and the House of Parliament are demolished.

How carefully shall the House of Saud keep watch over communications after another unsuccessful attempt to destroy the Ka'aba?

When people cross certain lines they alter the course of human events, and that's the way it is, boys and girls. When the Iranians seized the US Embassy they forever changed things between Iran & the US. Iran is the country walking on eggs from now on. Pay attention PDRK-

If the US Capitol building had been destroyed instead of a wing of the Pentagon & a Pennsylvania cornfield, US reaction would have been much less measured. The world does not want to endure a United States reacting in blind rage to attack(s) both deadly and deeply symbolic!

Watch your language on the 'pnone and e-mails and you'll be just fine-
 
 
+9 # futhark 2013-05-05 12:20
tahoevalleyline s, you better get your lines checked. We out here west of Tahoe have not received any reports of Big Ben or the House of Parliament being demolished.

Besides, are you suggesting that the government of the United States of America would do well to emulate one of the worst authoritarian tyrannies currently on planet Earth?
 
 
+4 # Anarchist 23 2013-05-05 16:58
tahoevalleyline s; Such a 'Good German'!
 
 
+1 # robcarter.vn 2013-05-05 16:23
Yep, but a small correction to "entirely unknown to the American public." = World Public.
 
 
+24 # fliteshare 2013-05-05 08:21
The problem isn't a government having access to incriminating evidence. The real problem is a government unwilling to present exculpatory evidence.
 
 
+4 # 666 2013-05-06 04:43
some of us have suspected this capacity for a few years. We aren't at 1984, but we're working hard to get there. The basic difference is between REACTIVE & PROACTIVE totalitarianism : our reactive state searches data AFTER an event (be it civil protest or terror attack), a proactive state (ignoring propaganda which is proactive) monitors all communications & acts on the content of expressions absent acts. Human informants used to play this role.

The US is transitioning from the 1st to the 2nd type: The AI analytics combing our communications can find & link key words & score them on "criteria" (eg blogs on a leftist site or a right-wing site) but there's no digital capacity to generate a credible threat picture without human intervention. Our govt doesnt have the resources to surveil/ jail every person who blogs "our govt is illegitimate"-- however those who get bumped to increasingly more invasive systems still end up before a human who decides whether to refer to law enforcement (such as an FBI entrapment scheme or a warrant "for questioning"). A very flawed system compared to the orwellian ideal. The boston bombers slipped through the cracks, but both ricin suspects were apparently on radar at a low level; compare these cases closely.

continued
 
 
0 # 666 2013-05-06 05:08
Notice too our govt is increasingly paranoid--far more so under obama than W. Thus we'll know when they approach desired capacity because we'll see more pre-emptive interventions against the "dissident minded" without any act (thoughtcrime). If you are accused, don't expect the govt to give you access to this information to prove your innocence: "computers don't lie."

In the meantime, we're stuck between human intervention & imperfect AI analytics. For example, I'm not the only one who has noticed possible evidence of being targeted by an increased level of surveillance after criticizing govt in blog, emails, or cell/gps communications. Such indications range from sudden disruptions of service & lost calls/texts/ema ils lasting 5-10 days. How many of you have experienced this too? It's NOT solar flares. How often do you think it happens to members of the hard-core right?? Would any of our resident trolls like to comment on this? This justifiable fear of governmental abuse of power is, after all, one of the issues that far right and far left share in common -- although for vastly different reasons.

I think we'll see reminders the govt is watching/listen ing as they approach desired capability. Maybe a "beep" or a slogan ("big brother is watching"). This may help curtail false-positives while keeping the vast majority of us passively in line.

It's about watching the trends...
 
 
0 # kalpal 2013-05-08 07:48
Governments never trust their own citizens and will do what they can to amass anything that will allow them to punish anyone for any reason whatsoever, no matter how unjustified
 
 
+7 # grouchy 2013-05-05 08:24
Please tell me, who the hell gets to read all these messages? I truly pity them! However, it's great use of our tax dollars and provides jobs for gobs of folk! Brilliant!
 
 
+7 # Kathymoi 2013-05-05 10:14
I imagine that no one reads most of them, but that they are stored until there is a reason to read them, like now. There is a reason to read the communications of the people involved in the Boston event. Futhermore, I know that there is a branch of the Army intelligence that hires people to read, I rhink, randomly selected e-mail, phone and facebook communications of people from every country, including the US, to determine the friendliness toward US policies of those people. It is a full time job for many many people in the military, people who speak many different languages and can translate the communication in a foreign language into English.
 
 
+4 # Matt_OccupyEarth 2013-05-05 12:12
They are all monitored by Artificial Intelligence software.
 
 
+9 # Agricanto 2013-05-05 12:20
Winston Smith is busy at the Ministry of Truth, reading everything and destroying pictures and text in the memory hole, while making new pictures and texts extolling the virtues of the Inner Party and Oceania. Alas civil service will descend into processing mountains of surveillance while the primary functions of government are privatized and the critics of government are jailed.
 
 
+39 # MainStreetMentor 2013-05-05 08:28
Even if the practice is stopped ... who, now that we hear this, would believe it? Trust in our government is a thing of the past - and these kinds of actions are the reasons why.
 
 
+42 # Underledge 2013-05-05 08:41
Big Brother knows everything. Welcome to the New World Order! 1984 is in full swing.
 
 
+32 # cordleycoit 2013-05-05 08:42
Of course look at the Boston Lockdown. We have no rights: none. That is why our government is called a tyranny. America arrests without law. The president kills without law.
 
 
+17 # tswhiskers 2013-05-05 08:52
To it mildly, this is at best a mixed blessing. One thing the 20th century has taught us is that technology has a price; i.e. if we want to call our friends from wherever we are, if we want to bank and pay our bills online, read books online, read about our friends and celebs online, the price for this is a huge loss of freedom and esp. privacy. I, for one would be very willing to forgo all the conveniences listed above in return for my privacy; but mine would be a minority vote. Over time it has been shown that with the coming of the telephone, the computer and all the spinoffs of computing, people in spite of their protests are willing to forgo their privacy for convenience. So I put it to all of you: before you decide you don't want to live in a police state, think hard about the enormous conveniences in communication now available to you. Would you give them all up for the anonymity of being just a name in a card file at your local Soc. Sec. office? In most cases, I suspect not. So as a result of growing technology, we are not and have not been as free as we had thought we were. Since Big Brother really is watching, we need to watch our behavior and that of our fed and state govts. much more than heretofore. VIGILANCE IS THE PRICE OF FREEDOM.
 
 
+13 # Kathymoi 2013-05-05 10:10
However, the behavior of our federal and state governments is more and more secret. We need to watch it, but it is hiding.
 
 
+7 # brianf 2013-05-05 08:56
Not surprised at all.
 
 
+9 # jwb110 2013-05-05 09:31
The Gov't is a hella lot more worried about the business of its citizens then it is about Terrorists. The Boston debacle proves that. For all the Homeland Security and FEMA and Patriot Act they still couldn't handle the situation.
America is fallen from within a lot faster than it is falling from without.
While your spying on this email, boys, you might take what I say into account.
 
 
+3 # NOMINAE 2013-05-05 20:51
Quoting jwb110:
The Gov't is a hella lot more worried about the business of its citizens then it is about Terrorists. The Boston debacle proves that. For all the Homeland Security and FEMA and Patriot Act they still couldn't handle the situation.
America is fallen from within a lot faster than it is falling from without.
While your spying on this email, boys, you might take what I say into account.


Pretty simple scenario here. People are SO much easier controlled and manipulated when the Govt. knows more about individuals than they know about themselves.

The Surveillance State was NEVER about "terrorists". That was just the manufactured "crisis" that allowed them to push thru illegal activities, and later the laws to retroactively "justify" said illegal activities.

The more they can keep the people in FEAR, the more they can rape, plunder, and pillage WITHOUT resistance from the people.

For gawd's sake, even the evening *weather* report is saturated with panic-inducing fear. If my area is expecting a little high wind, the TV weather guessers make it sound as if we are in for another Hurricane Katrina.

Twenty-First Century Political Exploitation Bumper Sticker:

Be Afraid - Be *Very* Afraid
Each Day - Every Day
 
 
+5 # James Marcus 2013-05-05 09:32
We will learn to obfuscate our 'delicate communications' , and lead them astray, every which way, just as they do, with the Nefarious Deeds they pull off right before witnesses.
We will overload them with 'tips'. They will be 'tracking, and collating', more phony 'Key Words' than Carter has peanuts! Good Luck! .. sending their Stoolies, 'Thought Police', running every which way, after every fart!
.... Keeping a Lot of Ass Holes occupied doing nothing...
 
 
+5 # Majikman 2013-05-05 14:11
Right on, James. Divide and conquer can work both ways. I've wondered how the Occupy demonstrations would have worked if instead of one solid mass of people, there were many large groups. The blue shirts with their batons and tear gas would have had one helluva time keeping up...like herding cats. Many smaller groups would have the mobility that a solid mass does not and could disperse and regroup more easily.
Note to FBI: stuff it!
 
 
0 # NOMINAE 2013-05-05 21:00
Quoting James Marcus:
We will learn to obfuscate our 'delicate communications', and lead them astray, every which way, just as they do, with the Nefarious Deeds they pull off right before witnesses.
We will overload them with 'tips'. They will be 'tracking, and collating'...... Good Luck! .. sending their Stoolies, 'Thought Police', running every which way, after every fart! .... Keeping a Lot of Ass Holes occupied doing nothing...


As Kathymoi surmises above, NO ONE is actually reading this data, or even, in most cases, screening it for "key words". 310 million people create *far* more data than ANYONE can keep current with.

What they ARE doing is routing all communications from each individual into a dedicated DATA MOUNTAIN. Then, if and WHEN any individual comes to their attention, they simply go to that specific DATA MOUNTAIN, and start reading.

Certain "persons of interest" ARE being monitored for key words and phrases by artificial intelligence at all times, and some persons of even more active interest are being monitored 24/7 by assigned human snoops.
 
 
+11 # giraffee2012 2013-05-05 09:50
Nazi like watch dogs with 2013 technology and nobody is looking to the end result? If you are not an old white male - (exaggeration) - you might not be safe. Look at who got taken away in Nazi Germany!
It was not only the Jews!

Be sure to include in your phone calls a thank you to "the government" for taking such good care of your interests especially from the bad guys (albeit it may be the government)
 
 
+18 # Kathymoi 2013-05-05 10:08
Equally as disturbing as the fact that the government is recording our private conversations with our friends and family is the notion, put forward by this Former FBI agent, that such recordings can be used against a person, not as evidence in courts perhaps, but to threaten the person in interrogation with consequences if they don't reveal in public testimony every word of their communication with husband or child, mother, father or friend. This statement assumes the cancellation of the fifth amendment, that a person does not have to testify against himself or herself. I believe that a wife is not required by law to testify against her husband. Soo, what is this "former" FBI agent saying when he threatens her that it will not be good for her if she doesn't publicly report all of her conversations with her husband? Is this a police state now in which family members are required to report on family members? ----Rather like in Germany during WWII...
 
 
0 # NOMINAE 2013-05-06 18:49
Quoting Kathymoi:
Soo, what is this "former" FBI agent saying when he threatens her that it will not be good for her if she doesn't publicly report ...... ? Is this a police state now in which family members are required to report on family members? ----Rather like in Germany during WWII...


Well, precisely. That was indeed one of the models, among others.

When anyone knows all of your "secrets", that same someone need not be a genius to spot all of your "weak spots". They then know how best to quickly and efficiently apply pressure to your weakest areas, and make you *wish* you had testified, even if you had refused.

You are suddenly faced with a letter from the IRS stating that you have recently had a "suspicious" and undeclared deposit to your account of $500,000 dollars, which will now be "frozen" by the IRS until you can identify and declare it's origin.

You swear that you have absolutely no idea where that possibly came from, and you are informed that you will now be required to prove that. By the time you go through the legal hoops, you will have a second mortgage, nothing left in the bank, nor will many of your relatives.

Speaking of relatives, you go to see Aunt Martha and find that DHS has your name on a No Fly List.

The examples are endless.

So, as the former FBI guy says, "it will not be good for her if she doesn't publicly report ....." She may not "HAVE TO" report, but they can certainly make her wish she had.
 
 
-2 # Quickmatch 2013-05-05 10:11
Note that the article did not say that these communications were read or listened to--only that they were available. Statistics are a bit jumbled but a quick Google survey turns up these numbers that are in a ballpark range for the last couple years:
Tweets--400 million/day
Cellphone calls--6 billion per day
emails--300 billion per day

If a tweet averages 20 words the Twitter feed couls be read daily by maybe 40,000 fast, bleary eyed readers.

If an email contains ONLY 20 words on average it would take 25 million readers reading 500 words a minute to read the email stream.

Cell calls are real time. At 1 minute per call 6 billion calls last 100 million hours--about 12.5 million listeners listening 8 hours a day.

Obviously it is not possible to listen to or read even a percent of the communications. YOUR call, tweet or email will be inspected when you say or sent word combinations that high speed computers can search for, identify and flag as dangerous. Be your own simple, honest, law-abiding self-controlled , patriotic, lovable self and your calls remain lost in the archives of pentabytes of recorded digital messages stored who-knows-where to be researched by future generations, but ignored by the DHS human ears and eyes.
 
 
+5 # Matt_OccupyEarth 2013-05-05 12:16
They can't all be read by humans. They can by A.I. The NSA has the most advanced A.I.'s in existence. They have big-dollar contracts with some of the top engineering universities, such as Carnegie Mellon.
 
 
-10 # Quickmatch 2013-05-05 13:51
And the Star Wars generation, aflicted with some sense that the robots are sentient and conspiring against everyone, may shudder to think of an AI reading his/her diary or tweet. Action can result only with human intervention (oops, sorry conspiracy believers who believe otherwise), and that intervention is triggered by computer analysis programs that key on word combinations chosen by human beings. No human is listening in on your data stream without you passing some arbitrarilyy set threshold that supplies a human-handelabl e quantity of data. It is NOT possible for human beings to read or listen to even a tiny fraction of the universe of communications. What's the big deal?
 
 
-3 # NOMINAE 2013-05-06 19:03
Quoting Quickmatch:
And the Star Wars generation, aflicted with some sense that the robots are sentient and conspiring against everyone, may shudder to think of an AI reading his/her diary or tweet. Action can result only with human intervention (oops, sorry conspiracy believers who believe otherwise), and that intervention is triggered by computer analysis programs that key on word combinations chosen by human beings. No human is listening in on your data stream without you passing some arbitrarilyy set threshold that supplies a human-handelable quantity of data. It is NOT possible for human beings to read or listen to even a tiny fraction of the universe of communications. What's the big deal?


Your data are unassailable. Your thumbs down reflect the fact that people LOVE being in FEAR, and literally WANT a more powerful "enemy" than they have. That gives them added incentive to just avoid the fight, throw up their hands, and give up.

The "boogie man iz evah-whar" crowd needs to be reminded that, for instance, the entire VA System is not even ONLINE yet.

And, of course the NSA is not the VA, but your data remains accurate. It is the same with our space program. Our satellites send back much more data than human beings will EVER be able to analyze, and A.I. is simply *NOT* as advanced as it is in the movies. Computers look only for DATA. They CANNOT look for "meaning".

Quickmatch is fully correct, thumbs to the contrary notwithstanding .
 
 
+6 # Agricanto 2013-05-05 12:27
You underestimate the power of NSA computers to do that sifting and searching without slower monkey brains to attempt the task. The FBI has Carnivore which searches emails for key words without slow monkeys to do the work. And the CIA has a Cray supercomputer to store and retrieve and compare.
 
 
+1 # kalpal 2013-05-08 07:46
While the government is not all that bright, it appears it is brighter than Quickmatch. Nobody will be hired to read it all but a good set of computers with well written software can seek many things in data. If you become a person of interest possibly most of your production will be examined.
 
 
+13 # Kootenay Coyote 2013-05-05 10:30
At the turn of 1971, the NSA kept records on 25,000,000 Americans & residents who were considered ‘suspect’ in the Nixon mind. While a court order demanded the destruction of those files, I know of no proof that it actually happened. But the lesson from that is that the US government will use all the resources it can command to gather all the information it can, according to the political whims of the day. For decades telephone messages in North America have been stored for at least a month by telephone companies. We have no reason to doubt that that process has continued, expanded to include all digital communications; & remains available for government agencies’ use under existing & highly questionable legislation. Note also the capacity for tampering with records that this policy permits. Big brother is not only watching you: He has been doing so for far too long, & he is a mean guy.
 
 
+7 # charsjcca 2013-05-05 11:21
I do not know of having talked on a 'secure' telephone since the early 1960s. Privacy in America is a bad joke.
 
 
+7 # tigerlille 2013-05-05 12:23
I don't know when this started, but it has been going on for some time. I used to know a guy who was connected. He used to keep tabs on his cheating girlfriend by having her phone calls pulled. He's an arch conservative and a firm believer in the right to privacy - for himself. Great world we are living in.
 
 
+7 # mdhome 2013-05-05 12:34
The result of 9-11 is more than just the thousands of dead American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis. The loss of freedom has been undercover, so far, but does not bode well for "free speech".
 
 
0 # karenvista 2013-05-08 15:36
Quoting mdhome:
The result of 9-11 is more than just the thousands of dead American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis. The loss of freedom has been undercover, so far, but does not bode well for "free speech".


That was the main reason that the government did it.

Obviously the other main objective was our Orwellian "perpetual war on terror."

There is a new 9/11 Consensus report (www.consensus911.org) that has been published in Europe that shows 28 important points of contention with the 9/11 Commission Report that have been carefully reviewed and agreed upon by the largest 9/11 truth groups, such as Architects and Engineers, Pilots, Firefighters, Religious Leaders, Journalists, Police, etc.

If you know about the "attacks" or are just starting out, its a good source for engineering, physics and historical facts that show the government story could not have happened the way they said.

A very simple way to point out the ridiculous government theory is: The WTC supposedly collapsed because the steel beams were "melted" by jet fuel (which is kerosene- Google it). There is a bit of a problem with that because guys who dreamed up this scheme never thought of something very simple. People all over the world cook on kerosene or camp stoves and it doesn't melt their pots. How does that work?

Also, be aware that "the Jersey Girls" and several other family members support this research and want an INDEPENDENT study and legal action.
 
 
+2 # redjelly39 2013-05-05 12:58
There is a new Spy Center in Bluffdale, Utah that keeps all of this data and they are dealing in Yottabytes for storage.
 
 
+8 # Bob P 2013-05-05 13:17
How much was this surveillance cut by the sequester?
 
 
+1 # Billy Bob 2013-05-05 15:42
GOOD QUESTION!
 
 
+8 # Billy Bob 2013-05-05 15:41
I've always wondered if the fact that I have frank discussions about politics with my mother has had anything to do with the fact that I can't seem to get on a plane in certain airports without getting "extra attention". Last time, they even needed to check the back of my head. I wonder if scars from wrestling injuries made me suspicious. Maybe it was the fact that I was traveling with a 2 year old. Maybe it was because I hadn't shaved that morning.

Oh well! I guess it's none of my business. I'm just an American citizen!
 
 
0 # Billy Bob 2013-05-05 15:46
I once proposed a specifically spelled out "Right to Privacy" amendment to the Constitution on this site and was given about 15 negatives. I still don't know why.
 
 
0 # Billy Bob 2013-05-05 16:53
Again, a negative? Can someone explain why?
 
 
0 # kalpal 2013-05-08 07:52
Why would a government abide by rules it does not respect or like.

There are 2 kinds of governments, those who fear the citizens and those whose citizens are afraid of. Slowly we are permitting a government who will insist we fear it or we will be punished.
 
 
0 # karenvista 2013-05-08 15:45
Quoting kalpal:
Why would a government abide by rules it does not respect or like.

There are 2 kinds of governments, those who fear the citizens and those whose citizens are afraid of. Slowly we are permitting a government who will insist we fear it or we will be punished.


That's why we see so many "attempted terrorist events." If you follow those almost all of those are instigated by the FBI. Mother Jones worked with a university on an investigative report and found that since 9/11 all but three have had FBI backing.

Like during the Bush Administration, they want us to-

BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID!

I don't know about you but-

I REFUSE TO BE AFRAID!
 
 
0 # Anarchist 23 2013-05-05 17:02
Because we already had a 'right to privacy' with the 4th Amendment..whic h is now toast along with most of the other ones.
 
 
+1 # Billy Bob 2013-05-05 20:00
No. You don't understand. The 4th Amendment doesn't spell out a "right to privacy". It only spells out a right to protection from unwarranted searches and seizures. That's been always understood as a right to privacy, but right-wingers will gladly point out to you that it isn't.

You're right that it's been destroyed since Sep. 12. THAT'S why we need a new Amendment that puts it BLUNTLY:

The right to PRIVACY shall not be infringed. PERIOD.
 
 
+3 # brux 2013-05-05 17:14
Because the votes here and everyone on the Internet and probably in our elections and polls are skewed. You must realize that the truth is of military value, so if a foreign power knew what Americans were unhappy with they could cause a problem ... that is how the military-indust rial-complex thinks about things. So, it is a military necessity to fake American public opinion.
 
 
+1 # Jack Gibson 2013-05-05 15:56
"...This admission by this former FBI agent on CNN gives a very good sense for just how limitless these activities are."

It also gives a very good sense that, by and large, they don't want most Americans knowing that this is going on, so they won't be more careful when they're speaking; thus, by not widely informing the American people of this, they are entrapping all Americans, and particularly all those who are not careful about what they say and say things that, though not previously criminal, are now considered "perceived threatening conduct" under the "U.S.A. P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act", which can be anything. In other words, Americans can now say innocent things, or things that they don't mean as threatening of violence against the government at all, or at least that include statements that they would never actually carry out, and it's now interpreted as a potential threat; which, at minimum, can get innocent Americans visited by the DHS, FBI, Secret Service and/or the local police, or worse; and probably millions of innocent Americans have already received such visits, but you don't hear about it because after being visited most of them are too scared to speak about it, if for no other reason that, if their family, friends and/or neighbors, don't already know about said visit(s), it can very easily lead to the people who know or find out about it ending up presuming them guilty, condemning, turning against, harming, being paranoid of them, and/or watching them all the time.
 
 
0 # brux 2013-05-05 17:12
No doubt about it, everything that goes out or comes into a given point is labelled and stored to as much of an extent as possible. Maybe not everyone pixel of every image or video, but the powers that have access to this data can figure out from a young age who will be a "problem" for them, what they have access to, what they know, what they do, and probably prophylacticall y how best to neutralized them if need be.
 
 
+3 # Walter J Smith 2013-05-05 18:17
Obama seems determined to prove himself to historians as an even lower life form than was GWB.

And that takes some slimey achievements as well as a whole lot of them.

The real sad part of it is the consistently broad base of bipartisan support he has for all that sleaze in both houses of Congress.

No thoughtful citizen has any excuseable justification for ever again voting for either a democrat or a republican.
 
 
0 # tishado 2013-05-05 18:21
Pretty frightening stuff...
 
 
+1 # brux 2013-05-07 10:30
It's way past that.
 
 
0 # georgemilton 2013-05-06 13:59
The NSA has recorded all calls since at least before the Kennedy administration.

You can't seriously tell me you expect with the clear capability and the behemoth size of the cabinet and military budgets that this would not have been done. Even if it required taped recordings in those days to old reel to reel tapes it was going on.

What are the combined cabinet and military budgets now? 1.82 Trillion when they only collected 2.1 Trillion in tax dollars. That is beyond obscene.
 
 
+2 # brux 2013-05-07 10:32
Probably not that bad ... maybe only some people ... but it used to be so easy for someone to go to a phone booth or disguise their voice. The other thing is, it does no good to have all these phone calls unless you have a way to manage them, i.e. search, bring them up, play them and evaluate them. That exists today.
 
 
+1 # Kimberly999 2013-05-08 21:30
The warehousing of this data became more intense post 9/11 since the Patriot Act eliminated our right to privacy - per ATT employee who helped set it up in Northern CA. Also, don't forget how disturbed Colin Powell was at Raytheon's being able to craft a completely new message that perfected matched his voice, cadence & inflection, accent ..everything from old recordings. These collected conversations could make any of us sound guilty of anything by using our own damn phones. Orwell was only off by 16 years.
 

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