Friday, June 07, 2013

But It's Patriotic

(Political cartoon by Ruben Bolling and published at Daily Kos.  CLick on image to enlarge.  If that isn't sufficient, click on link for a readable copy and then return.)

When AP discovered that the feds were collecting the phone and email data from their reporters, it went ballistic.  It turns out that the feds have been collecting data from a whole lot more people than AP employees.  The NSA has gotten records from all Verizon telephone customers.

From the Los Angeles Times:

The massive National Security Agency collection of telephone records disclosed Wednesday was part of a continuing program that has been in effect nonstop since 2006, according to the two top leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“As far as I know, this is the exact three-month renewal of what has been in place for the past seven years," Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) told reporters Thursday. The surveillance “is lawful” and Congress has been fully briefed on the practice, she added.

Her Republican counterpart, Saxby Chambliss, concurred: "This is nothing new. This has been going on for seven years,” he said. “Every member of the United States Senate has been advised of this. To my knowledge there has not been any citizen who has registered a complaint. It has proved meritorious because we have collected significant information on bad guys, but only on bad guys, over the years."

The statements by the two senators, whose committee positions give them wide access to classified data, appeared to rule out the possibility that the court order directing Verizon to turn over telephone records was related to the Boston Marathon bombings. The order was effective as of April 19, shortly after the bombings, which had sparked speculation about a link.   [Emphasis added]

 Of course there haven't been any citizen complaints.  No citizens outside of the US Senate were aware of what their government was doing.  That's how the FISA court and the Patriot Act works ... in complete secrecy, and a breach of that secrecy is punishable, as Bradley Manning and Julian Assange will attest.

It's secret, but not so secret that our senators weren't aware of the practice for seven years, and none of them complained.  Were they AT&T subscribers or were they too intimidated to complain or didn't they care about the egregious breach of our rights to be free from government intrusion into our private lives?

We live in interesting times: interesting and scary.  Very scary.

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Blogger John Gardner said...

It isn't just Verizon, and as the PRISM stuff has leaked the last 24 hours, it isn't just your phone.

Oh, but you shouldn't worry, they say, because they're just recording meta-data about who's doing what. Ugh, what a load of crock. When you have a huge amount of "meta-data", it isn't meta-data anymore, its a damn goldmine.

It's not paranoia if you are actually being watched. And we all are.

9:44 AM  

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