Posted by Curt on 11 May, 2006 at 7:57 am. 2 comments already!

Surprise surprise. Another leak from someone inside Government, cough CIA cough, just as Gen. Hayden is set to go up for confirmation hearings to lead the CIA.

The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.

The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans ? most of whom aren?t suspected of any crime. This program does not involve the NSA listening to or recording conversations.

Since I have some experience in Law Enforcement I’ll give my take on this operation. 3rd party records do NOT fall under the 4th Amendment….period. These are records the phone companies regular give to credit card companies and the like.

Another point I would like to make is that a Prosecutor in any court can get these records with a simple subpoena. Not a search warrant. No Judge has to approve of this kind of things.

This is all another example of our CIA out of control. They have decided THEY will decide who leads them, not the elected members of our Government. It’s not a coincidence that this NSA program is leaked just as soon as Gen. Hayden, current head of the NSA, is about go through the confirmation process to lead the CIA.

Completely out of control. And the left wants our intelligence agencies deciding who is best to lead them?

AJStrata makes some astute points:

The program is aimed at identifying and tracking suspected terrorists, they said.

Why else monitor the calls? In fact, the reason to note contacts as innocent or suspicious is to whittle down who targets of surveillance are talking to who may be accomplices. These records are actually a record that these people are INNOCENT of any relationship with a possible crime.

If you think about it the most intrusive act our Government can be a part of is sending a informant into a criminal organization, like say the Mob. That person is listening in to everything these guys say and do…American citizens being spied on without a warrant! Do we hear any outcry about this? No. As it should be.

But when it comes to this story we will get a WHOLE lot of hysteria for the next few days, then once people read more into the story they will calm down.

Of course we will have the usual suspects screaming and crying on the nightly news, which Im sure the MSM will make a point of displaying nightly. But in the end this will come to nothing once again. Just another coup attempt by our CIA against our President.

Finally I would like to point out something Drudge is saying, where was all this hysteria when Clinton started Echelon?

Barr, a former CIA analyst, is part of a growing contingent in the United States, Europe and Australia alarmed by the existence of Echelon, a computer system that monitors millions of e-mail, fax, telex and phone messages sent over satellite-based communications systems as well as terrestrial-based data communications. The system was established under what is known as the “UKUSA Agreement” after World War II and includes the security agencies of the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Although Echelon was originally set up as an international spy network, lawmakers are concerned that it could be used to eavesdrop on American citizens.

The left didn’t go all crazy about Echelon during Clintons term. They are going crazy about a similiar program under Bush though. I wonder why.

UPDATE


I apologize for the light updates…work work work. Bush responded to the article earlier today:

After September the 11th, I vowed to the American people that our government would do everything within the law to protect them against another terrorist attack. As part of this effort, I authorized the National Security Agency to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al-Qaida and related terrorist organizations. In other words, if al-Qaida or their associates are making calls into the United States or out of the United States, we want to know what they’re saying.

Today there are new claims about other ways we are tracking down al- Qaida to prevent attacks on America. I want to make some important points about what the government is doing and what the government is not doing.

First, our international activities strictly target al-Qaida and their known affiliates. Al-Qaida is our enemy, and we want to know their plans. Second, the government does not listen to domestic phone calls without court approval. Third, the intelligence activities I authorized are lawful and have been briefed to appropriate members of Congress, both Republican and Democrat. Fourth, the privacy of ordinary Americans is fiercely protected in all our activities.

We’re not mining or trolling through the personal lives of millions of innocent Americans. Our efforts are focused on links to al-Qaida and their known affiliates. So far we’ve been very successful in preventing another attack on our soil.

As a general matter, every time sensitive intelligence is leaked, it hurts our ability to defeat this enemy. Our most important job is to protect the American people from another attack, and we will do so within the laws of our country.

Thank you.

And here we see the big picture in this whole episode:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who has spoken favorably of Hayden?s nomination, said the latest revelation ?is also going to present a growing impediment to the confirmation of Gen. Hayden.?

Added Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.: ?It is long overdue for this Congress to end the days of roll over and rubber stamp and finally assert its power of advise and consent before Gen. Hayden becomes (CIA) Director Hayden.?

And the MSM is complicit in this effort to undermine Hayden and Bush over a completely legal program. What any court can get with a subpoena, the NSA can get also….WITHOUT a warrant.

UPDATE II

Macsmind, a former intelligence officer, has some big news:

By the way….a bit of bad news though for the sources of the USA Today article, per a tip, your identities are known to those who care.

Opps!

UPDATE II: On above. I have an source email which details where the leak on the story originated. This particular leak is directly tied into the the denial of security clearances covered in this story, which broke last night.

Simple: Retaliation.

More to come.

[…]UPDATE IV: Folks, this was a set up and the MSM is taking the bait. It’s what you have to do to catch leakers.

This would not surprise me in the least. It’s actually a great time to do it, put Hayden up for the CIA knowing the CIA would HATE this, then selectively leak something to suspected leakers….ta da!

He then points us to a outstanding response to this whole thing from Rich Noyes:

Given that another government agency ? the IRS ? maintains information on American citizens? employment, banking, investments, mortgages, charitable contributions and even any declared medical expenses, this hardly seems like a major assault on personal liberty.? Ooh! Shocking new report! The IRS has a database with your personal information in it! That story is just waiting to be discovered.

UPDATE III

Just found this great comment at Wizbang:

The phone lines and air waves are not your private property, so the fourth amendment doesn’t protect the fact that you use them or who you use them with. It’s the same as if the police parked on the street and watched your coming and going. The police can even follow you on public streets and into any public location to see where you go, what you do, and who you meet, all without a warrant. The fourth amendment not only doesn’t protect individuals from such observation, but requires it in most cases to prove probable cause before a warrant can be issued.

Couldn’t have said it any better.

Other’s Blogging:


Since I have some experience in Law Enforcement I’ll give my take on this operation. 3rd party records do NOT fall under the 4th Amendment….period. These are records the phone companies regular give to credit card companies and the like.

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