It’s eerie. Absolutely eerie. It’s like Nolan knew. It’s called PRISM. In the TV show, it’s called The Machine.
Revelations are erupting faster than can be kept count. All your data belong to us. Facebook, Google, Apple. Obama gets it all.
The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.
The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called PRISM, which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says.
The Guardian has verified the authenticity of the document, a 41-slide PowerPoint presentation – classified as top secret with no distribution to foreign allies – which was apparently used to train intelligence operatives on the capabilities of the program. The document claims “collection directly from the servers” of major US service providers.
Obama’s NSA is collecting your phone records:
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.
Obama is mining data from internet firms:
The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track foreign targets, according to a top-secret document obtained by The Washington Post.
The program, code-named PRISM, has not been made public until now. It may be the first of its kind. The NSA prides itself on stealing secrets and breaking codes, and it is accustomed to corporate partnerships that help it divert data traffic or sidestep barriers. But there has never been a Google or Facebook before, and it is unlikely that there are richer troves of valuable intelligence than the ones in Silicon Valley.
Equally unusual is the way the NSA extracts what it wants, according to the document: “Collection directly from the servers of these U.S. Service Providers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple.”
PRISM was launched from the ashes of President George W. Bush’s secret program of warrantless domestic surveillance in 2007, after news media disclosures, lawsuits and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court forced the president to look for new authority.
Obama is also collecting your credit card information:
The National Security Agency’s monitoring of Americans includes customer records from the three major phone networks as well as emails and Web searches, and the agency also has cataloged credit-card transactions, said people familiar with the agency’s activities.
The disclosure this week of an order by a secret U.S. court for Verizon Communications Inc.’s phone records set off the latest public discussion of the program. But people familiar with the NSA’s operations said the initiative also encompasses phone-call data from AT&T Inc. and Sprint Nextel Corp., records from Internet-service providers and purchase information from credit-card providers. …
NSA also obtains access to data from Internet service providers on Internet use such as data about email or website visits, several former officials said. NSA has established similar relationships with credit-card companies, three former officials said.
It couldn’t be determined if any of the Internet or credit-card arrangements are ongoing, as are the phone company efforts, or one-shot collection efforts. The credit-card firms, phone companies and NSA declined to comment for this article.
Not long ago they denied doing it:
Weeks before the National Security Agency (NSA) began a massive phone sweeping operation on U.S. cellular provider Verizon, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Congress the agency does not conduct intelligence on American citizens.
Testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Clapper denied allegations by panel members the NSA conducted electronic surveillance of Americans on U.S. soil.
Ever so predictably, the left blames Bush.
Welcome to the era of Bush-Obama, a 16-year span of U.S. history that will be remembered for an unprecedented erosion of civil liberties and a disregard for transparency. On the war against a tactic—terrorism—and its insidious fallout, the United States could have skipped the 2008 election.
To his credit, Fournier notes that Obama is far worse:
Despite his clear and popular promises to the contrary, President Obama has not shifted the balance between security and freedom to a more natural state—one not blinded by worst fears and tarred by power grabs. If anything, things have gotten worse.
Killing civilians and U.S. citizens via drone.
Seizing telephone records at the Associated Press in violation of Justice Department guidelines.
Accusing a respected Fox News reporter of engaging in a conspiracy to commit treason for doing his job.
Detaining terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, despite promises to end the ill-considered Bush policy.
Minutes before a midnight deadline, President Barack Obama signed into law a four-year extension of post-Sept. 11 powers to search records and conduct roving wiretaps in pursuit of terrorists.
“It’s an important tool for us to continue dealing with an ongoing terrorist threat,” Obama said Friday after a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
With Obama in France, the White House said the president used an autopen machine that holds a pen and signs his actual signature. It is only used with proper authorization of the president.
Congress sent the bill to the president with only hours to go on Thursday before the provisions expired at midnight. Votes taken in rapid succession in the Senate and House came after lawmakers rejected attempts to temper the law enforcement powers to ensure that individual liberties are not abused.
Obama renewed the Patriot Act when he could have let it die. That is inescapable.
James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis) feels the system is being abused:
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), who authored and introduced the Patriot Act, said Thursday that he was troubled by reports the National Security Agency (NSA) had collected phone records from millions of Americans.
“As the author of the Patriot Act, I am extremely troubled by the FBI’s interpretation of this legislation,” Sensenbrenner said in a statement. “While I believe the Patriot Act appropriately balanced national security concerns and civil rights, I have always worried about potential abuses.”
he Guardian newspaper reported Wednesday night that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court had approved a court order that required Verizon to turn over metadata on all telephone calls handled since April 25, covering millions of Americans not suspected of committing any crimes.
The phone company shared data on phone numbers, as well as the length and location of calls.
Sensenbrenner argued such a sweeping data operation should not be permitted under the law.
“The Bureau’s broad application for phone records was made under the so-called business records provision of the Act,” he said. “I do not believe the broadly drafted FISA order is consistent with the requirements of the Patriot Act. Seizing phone records of millions of innocent people is excessive and un-American.”
Yet few know that it was Joe Biden who wrote the core of the Patriot Act:
Months before the Oklahoma City bombing took place, Biden introduced another bill called the Omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995. It previewed the 2001 Patriot Act by allowing secret evidence to be used in prosecutions, expanding the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and wiretap laws, creating a new federal crime of “terrorism” that could be invoked based on political beliefs, permitting the U.S. military to be used in civilian law enforcement, and allowing permanent detention of non-U.S. citizens without judicial review.* The Center for National Security Studies said the bill would erode “constitutional and statutory due process protections” and would “authorize the Justice Department to pick and choose crimes to investigate and prosecute based on political beliefs and assocLinkiations.”
Biden himself draws parallels between his 1995 bill and its 2001 cousin. “I drafted a terrorism bill after the Oklahoma City bombing. And the bill John Ashcroft sent up was my bill,” he said when the Patriot Act was being debated, according to the New Republic, which described him as “the Democratic Party’s de facto spokesman on the war against terrorism.”
Biden’s proposal probably helped to lay the groundwork for the Bush administration’s Patriot Act.
And targeting the Tea Party and conservative groups? Thank Bill Clinton:
On February 10, 1995, a counterterrorism bill drafted by the Clinton
Administration was introduced in the Senate as S. 390 and in the House of
Representatives as H.R. 896.
The Clinton bill is a mixture of: provisions eroding constitutional and
statutory due process protections, selective federalization — on political
grounds — of state crimes (minus state due process rules), discredited
ideas from the Reagan and Bush Administrations, and the extension of some of
the worst elements of crime bills of the recent past.
The legislation would:
1. authorize the Justice Department to pick and choose crimes to
investigate and prosecute based on political beliefs and associations;
2. repeal the ancient provision barring the U.S. military from civilian
3. expand a pre-trial detention scheme that puts the burden of proof on
4. loosen the carefully-crafted rules governing federal wiretaps, in
violation of the Fourth Amendment;
5. establish special courts that would use secret evidence to order the
deportation of persons convicted of no crimes, in violation of basic
principles of due process;
6. permit permanent detention by the Attorney General of aliens convicted
of no crimes, with no judicial review;
7. give the President unreviewable power to criminalize fund-raising for
lawful activities associated with unpopular causes;
8. renege on the Administration’s approval in the last Congress of a
provision to insure that the FBI would not investigate based on First
Amendment activities; and
9. resurrect the discredited ideological visa denial provisions of the
McCarran Walter Act to bar foreign speakers.
Someone is leaking this information and it must be driving Obama mad. It’s likely someone who believed Obama when he said
“For a long time, there’s been too much secrecy in this city”
among other things. Listen to it all. It’s hysterical.
And the funniest part?
I will also hold myself as president to a new standard of openness…. Let me say it as simply as I can: Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.
We’re all terrorists now.
But even that’s not the worst of it. It’s the hypocrisy.
Barack Obama may be leading the Democratic presidential pack in every major poll here, but that didn’t dissuade the Illinois senator from a final early-morning rally with the Facebook generation.
Clearly not content to leave their votes to the whims of online politicking, the Illinois senator stepped onto a stage fashioned in a Dartmouth College gymnasium, pulled an index card from his inside jacket pocket, and launched into a familiar set of talking points centered on what has become a familiar theme for his campaign: change and hope.
“My job this morning is to be so persuasive…that a light will shine through that window, a beam of light will come down upon you, you will experience an epiphany, and you will suddenly realize that you must go to the polls and vote for Barack,” he told a crowd of about 300 Ivy Leaguers–and, by the looks of it, a handful of locals who managed to gain access to what was supposed to be a students-only event.
For one thing, under an Obama presidency, Americans will be able to leave behind the era of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and ”wiretaps without warrants,” he said. (He was referring to the lingering legal fallout over reports that the National Security Agency scooped up Americans’ phone and Internet activities without court orders, ostensibly to monitor terrorist plots, in the years after the September 11 attacks.)
It’s hardly a new stance for Obama, who has made similar statements in previous campaign speeches, but mention of the issue in a stump speech, alongside more frequently discussed topics like Iraq and education, may give some clue to his priorities.
Obama in 2007: “No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime, no more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war…” While Obama publicly expressed outcry at monitoring of citizens protesting Iraq, his administration’s collection of Verizon phone records was broader. Unlike the Bush White House, which sometimes did not use a warrant, the Obama Administration had a warrant from a FISA judge. Obama goes on to mention that FISA court system, which he used to get his warrant for the broad seizing of Verizon records, works.
As Glenn would say, they told this would happen if I voted for Romney, and they were right.
Obama will probably learn of all of this on the news tonight.