Jun 16

NSA Admits To Warrantless Wiretapping According To House Judiciary Committee Member (ZeroHedge, June 16, 2013):

More confusion, or just more lies? You decide.In an exchange first caught by CNET, Rep Gerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, questioned FBI Director Robert Mueller late last week about the NSA surveillance programs.

Nadler asked Mueller if a warrant is needed to listen to the content of a domestic phone call. Mueller said a national security letter is needed to get subscriber info and a FISA warrant is needed to get content. Nadler said he was told the exact opposite.

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Jun 10

Related info:

Daniel Ellsberg (Who Leaked The Pentagon Papers In 1971): PRISM Whistleblower Edward Snowden Saves Us From The ‘United Stasi Of America’:

See commentary from reader M.G.:

“He has only provided information. It is up to Americans to stand up and demand more truth from government.

I have looked at some of the posts around the web, and appalled at the amount of fools calling him a traitor………
I checked US media TV news. MSNBC calls him an amateur, plays it down, Fox talked about milk and that NSA spying is not new……..financials talked about money, and HLN discussed the latest murder trial.
TV news is in short sound bytes, and discusses nothing in depth. It is corporate media, serving at the will of the corporate oligarchy. We have no free press in America.”

So whistleblower Edward Snowden, the source behind the biggest intelligence leak in NSA history, is now getting ridiculed, because the story couldn’t be ignored and had to be reported by MSM.

The NSA wiretapping story nobody wanted (Computerworld, July 17, 2009):

IDG News Service – They sometimes call national security the third rail of politics. Touch it and, politically, you’re dead.

The cliché doesn’t seem far off the mark after reading Mark Klein’s new book, “Wiring up the Big Brother Machine … and Fighting It.” It’s an account of his experiences as the whistleblower who exposed a secret room at a Folsom Street facility in San Francisco that was apparently used to monitor the Internet communications of ordinary Americans.

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Mar 07

Berlusconi Sentenced To One Year In Prison For Wiretapping (ZeroHedge, March 7, 2013):

It is no secret that one of the main reasons why Italy’s former PM, and resurgent soon to be member of government, Silvio Berlusconi, is so adamant to be in parliament, is simply to obtain the immunity he would need to stay out of prison as a result of countless lawsuits which he has valiantly fought, and lost. As of this morning, a rather convenient time for sure just as Italy is preparing to create a coalition government, Silvio has one more lawsuit he will need to appeal, and evade in Parliament, following news that he was convicted in a 2006 wiretapping scandal, and will have to serve a one year prison sentence. Will he serve even one day? Of course not – the appeals process alone will take at least several years, and when that runs out, well, the 76 year old Silvio is a billionaire, and will have ample opportunity to spend his money to buy himself enough freedom to last him until the end of his life.

From Bloomberg:

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was convicted in a wiretapping case related to the 2006 battle for control of Banca Nazionale del Lavoro SpA, the first of three corruption rulings he faces this month.

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Sep 20

Supreme Court to rule on legality of wiretapping through FISA (RT, Sep 19, 2012):

The fight to stop the government’s sweeping surveillance of emails and phone calls will go all the way to the Supreme Court. The ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the warrantless wiretapping provisions included under the FISA Amendment Acts.

The US House of Representative voted last week to reauthorize the 2008 amendments added to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, that allow for blanketing surveillance and eavesdropping of any communication suspected to be sent outside of the United States. Under the FISA Amendment Act (FAA), the government is granted the power to peer into the inboxes of any American and listen in on long-distance calls without ever requiring a judge’s approval. Pending approval from the Senate, the FAA will be renewed this year and be left on the books for another five years. The American Civil Liberties Union is adamantly opposed, however, and has asked the highest court in America to intervene.

On Monday, attorneys with the ACLU filed a brief (.pdf) with the Supreme Court challenging FISA and the FAA in hopes of keeping the feds from further snooping on message assumed to be private but made open to the National Security Agency with little oversight into their endeavors. The claim was filed on behalf of plaintiffs composed of human rights activists, attorneys, journalists and others opposed to the act “whose work requires them to engage in sensitive and sometimes privileged telephone and e-mail communications with people located outside the U.S,” the ACLU explains.

“Under the FAA, the government can target anyone — human rights researchers, academics, attorneys, political activists, journalists — simply because they are foreigners outside the United States, and in the course of its surveillance it can collect Americans’ communications with those individuals,” the ACLU writes in the brief.

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May 24

See also:

‘We Are This Far From A Turnkey Totalitarian State’ – Big Brother Goes Live September 2013 … And Nobody Cares

FBI quietly forms secretive Net-surveillance unit (CNET News, May 22, 2012):

CNET has learned that the FBI has formed a Domestic Communications Assistance Center, which is tasked with developing new electronic surveillance technologies, including intercepting Internet, wireless, and VoIP communications.

The FBI has recently formed a secretive surveillance unit with an ambitious goal: to invent technology that will let police more readily eavesdrop on Internet and wireless communications.

The establishment of the Quantico, Va.-based unit, which is also staffed by agents from the U.S. Marshals Service and the Drug Enforcement Agency, is a response to technological developments that FBI officials believe outpace law enforcement’s ability to listen in on private communications.

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May 05

CNET learns the FBI is quietly pushing its plan to force surveillance backdoors on social networks, VoIP, and Web e-mail providers, and that the bureau is asking Internet companies not to oppose a law making those backdoors mandatory.

FBI: We need wiretap-ready Web sites – now (CNET News, May 4, 2012):

The FBI is asking Internet companies not to oppose a controversial proposal that would require firms, including Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, and Google, to build in backdoors for government surveillance.

See also: Big Bro ‘Genius’ Algorithms – Gerald Celente On Keiser Report (Yes, FASCISM now rules America!!!)

In meetings with industry representatives, the White House, and U.S. senators, senior FBI officials argue the dramatic shift in communication from the telephone system to the Internet has made it far more difficult for agents to wiretap Americans suspected of illegal activities, CNET has learned.

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Oct 18

Facebook accused of violating US wiretap law (The Register, Oct. 14, 2011):

A Mississippi woman has accused Facebook of violating federal wiretap statutes by tracking her internet browsing history even when she wasn’t logged onto the social networking site.

In a lawsuit filed on Wednesday in federal court in the northern district of Mississippi, Brooke Rutledge of Lafayette County, Mississippi, also asserted claims for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, trespassing, and invasion of privacy.

The complaint, which seeks class-action status so other users can join, comes three weeks after Australian blogger Nik Cubrilovic published evidence that Facebook “Like” buttons scattered across the web allowed Facebook to track users’ browsing habits even when they were signed out of their accounts.

“Leading up to September 23, 2011, Facebook tracked, collected, and stored its users’ wire or electronic communications, including but not limited to portions of their internet browsing history even when the users were not logged-in to Facebook,” the 17-page complaint stated. “Plaintiff did not give consent or otherwise authorize Facebook to intercept, track, collect, and store her wire or electronic communications, including but not limited to her internet browsing history when not logged-in to Facebook.”

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May 27

Obama signs 4-year Patriot Act extension in France (AP):

With Obama currently in France, the White House said the president would use an autopen machine that holds a pen and signs his actual signature. It is only used with proper authorization of the president. Minutes before the midnight deadline, the White House said Obama had signed the bill.
Congress bumped up against the deadline mainly because of the stubborn resistance from a single senator, Republican freshman Rand Paul of Kentucky, who saw the terrorist-hunting powers as an abuse of privacy rights. Paul held up the final vote for several days while he demanded a chance to change the bill to diminish the government’s ability to monitor individual actions. The bill passed the Senate 72-23.
Paul argued that in the rush to meet the terrorist threat in 2001 Congress enacted a Patriot Act that tramples on individual liberties. He had some backing from liberal Democrats and civil liberties groups who have long contended the law gives the government authority to spy on innocent citizens.
“The Patriot Act has been used improperly again and again by law enforcement to invade Americans’ privacy and violate their constitutional rights,” said Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU Washington legislative office.

U.S. Congress Passes Extension of Patriot Act Wiretap Power (San Francisco Chronicle – Bloomberg):

May 27 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. Congress yesterday approved, and President Barack Obama signed into law, a four-year extension of provisions in the USA Patriot Act that allow law enforcement to track suspected terrorists with roving wiretaps.

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Jul 11

Group Also Asks Secret Intelligence Court Not To Exclude Public From Any Proceedings On New Law’s Constitutionality

CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union filed a landmark lawsuit today to stop the government from conducting surveillance under a new wiretapping law that gives the Bush administration virtually unchecked power to intercept Americans’ international e-mails and telephone calls. The case was filed on behalf of a broad coalition of attorneys and human rights, labor, legal and media organizations whose ability to perform their work – which relies on confidential communications – will be greatly compromised by the new law.

The FISA Amendments Act of 2008, passed by Congress on Wednesday and signed by President Bush today, not only legalizes the secret warrantless surveillance program the president approved in late 2001, it gives the government new spying powers, including the power to conduct dragnet surveillance of Americans’ international communications.

“Spying on Americans without warrants or judicial approval is an abuse of government power – and that’s exactly what this law allows. The ACLU will not sit by and let this evisceration of the Fourth Amendment go unchallenged,” said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. “Electronic surveillance must be conducted in a constitutional manner that affords the greatest possible protection for individual privacy and free speech rights. The new wiretapping law fails to provide fundamental safeguards that the Constitution unambiguously requires.”

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Jul 09

WASHINGTON – More than two and a half years after the disclosure of President’s Bush’s domestic eavesdropping program set off a furious national debate, the Senate gave final approval on Wednesday afternoon to broadening the government’s spy powers and providing legal immunity for the phone companies that took part in the wiretapping program.

The plan, approved by a vote of 69 to 28, marked one of Mr. Bush’s most hard-won legislative victories in a Democratic-led Congress where he has had little success of late. Both houses, controlled by Democrats, approved what amounted to the biggest restructuring of federal surveillance law in 30 years, giving the government more latitude to eavesdrop on targets abroad and at home who are suspected of links to terrorism.

The issue put Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, the presumptive Democratic nominee, in a particularly precarious spot. After long opposing the idea of immunity for the phone companies in the wiretapping operation, he voted for the plan on Wednesday. His reversal last month angered many of his most ardent supporters, who organized an unsuccessful drive to get him to reverse his position once again. And it came to symbolize what civil liberties advocates saw as “capitulation” by Democratic leaders to political pressure from the White House in an election year.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, who was Mr. Obama’s rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, voted against the bill.

The outcome was a stinging defeat for opponents who had urged Democratic leaders to stand firm against the White House after a months-long impasse.

“I urge my colleagues to stand up for the rule of law and defeat this bill,” Senator Russell D. Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, said in closing arguments.

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Jul 08

George Bush is poised for a major victory this week as Congress nears final approval of a plan to provide legal immunity to private companies that aided government wiretapping as well as expand those spying powers.

Debate on the wiretapping bill is slated to begin in the Senate today, with a vote expected by week’s end. Although civil liberties groups and liberal activists have pressed Democrats to oppose the proposal, its approval is considered a near-certainty.

The bill’s most controversial provision gives legal immunity to telecommunications companies that helped the Bush administration monitor phone calls and emails without a court warrant in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

The immunity debate has created particular headaches for Barack Obama, who last fall joined a group of liberal senators in blocking a separate wiretapping bill that contained a liability shield for telecoms.

But after securing the Democratic presidential nomination, Obama veered to the centre and indicated he would support the wiretapping plan even if the final version cancelled lawsuits against the companies. His staunchest supporters on the left protested the sudden shift, even forming a network on Obama’s website to castigate him.

Obama attempted to smooth over the rift in a statement posted to that online network yesterday.

“Given the choice between voting for an improved yet imperfect bill, and losing important surveillance tools, I’ve chosen to support the current compromise,” Obama wrote to the backers disenchanted with his move.

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Jun 28

(What a courageous man! – The Infinite Unknown)

Mark Klein, the retired AT&T engineer who stepped forward with the technical documents at the heart of the anti-wiretapping case against AT&T, is furious at the Senate’s vote on Wednesday night to hold a vote on a bill intended to put an end to that lawsuit and more than 30 others.

[Wednesday]’s vote by Congress effectively gives retroactive immunity to the telecom companies and endorses an all-powerful president. It’s a Congressional coup against the Constitution.

The Democratic leadership is touting the deal as a “compromise,” but in fact they have endorsed the infamous Nuremberg defense: “Just following orders.” The judge can only check their paperwork. This cynical deal is a Democratic exercise in deceit and cowardice.

Klein saw a network monitoring room being built in AT&T’s internet switching center that only NSA-approved techs had access to. He squirreled away documents and then presented them to the press and the Electronic Frontier Foundation after news of the government’s warrantless wiretapping program broke.

Wired.com independently acquired a copy of the documents (.pdf) — which were under court seal — and published the wiring documents in May 2006 so that they could be evaluated.

The lawsuit that resulted from his documents is now waiting on the 9th U.S. Appeals Court to rule on whether it can proceed despite the government saying the whole matter is a state secret. A lower court judge ruled that it could, because the government admitted the program existed and that the courts could handle evidence safely and in secret.

But the appeals court ruling will likely never see the light of day, since the Senate is set to vote on July 8 on the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which also largely legalizes Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program by expanding how the government can wiretap from inside the United States without getting individualized court orders.

Klein continues:

Congress has made the FISA law a dead letter–such a law is useless if the president can break it with impunity. Thus the Democrats have surreptitiously repudiated the main reform of the post-Watergate era and adopted Nixon’s line: “When the president does it that means that it is not illegal.” This is the judicial logic of a dictatorship.

The surveillance system now approved by Congress provides the physical apparatus for the government to collect and store a huge database on virtually the entire population, available for data mining whenever the government wants to target its political opponents at any given moment-all in the hands of an unrestrained executive power. It is the infrastructure for a police state.

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Jun 26

Why it’s a lot worse than you think.

Rep. Steny Hoyer

Sometime today, the Senate is likely to approve the most comprehensive overhaul of American surveillance law since the Watergate era. Unless you’re a government lawyer, a legal scholar, a masochist, or an insomniac, chances are you haven’t read the 114-page bill. Don’t beat yourself up: Neither have most of the 293 House members who voted for it last week. Ditto the mainstream press, who seem to have relied chiefly on summaries provided by the same lawmakers who hadn’t read it.

To be fair, wiretapping is so classified, and the language of the bill so opaque, that no one without a “top secret” clearance can say with any authority just how much surveillance the proposal will authorize the government to do. (The best assessment yet comes from former Justice Department official David Kris, who deems the legislation “so intricate” that it risks confusing even “the government officials who must apply it.”)

Out of the echo chamber of ignorance and self-serving political cant, a number of myths have begun to emerge. We may never know for sure everything that this new legislation entails. But here are a few things that it most certainly doesn’t.

Myth No. 1: This bill is a compromise.

The House bill “is the result of a compromise,” one of its architects, Steny Hoyer, D-Md., maintained the other day. But in truth, Hoyer and his colleagues gave the White House most of what it asked for, dramatically expanding the government’s surveillance capabilities without demanding any serious concessions in exchange. Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., calls the deal “a capitulation,” and he’s right. Why else would the White House express its approval so quickly, after a full year in which President Bush petulantly vowed not to sign any legislation that obliged him to concede too much? Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., offered an honest appraisal: “I think the White House got a better deal than even they had hoped.”

Myth No. 2: We need the bill to intercept our enemies abroad.

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Jun 23

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claims that a key positive feature of the new wiretap “compromise” is that the bill reaffirms that the President must follow the law, even though the same bill virtually assures that no one will be held accountable for George W. Bush’s violation of the earlier spying law.

In other words, in the guise of rejecting Bush’s theories of an all-powerful presidency that is above the law, the Democratic leadership cleared the way for the President and his collaborators to evade punishment for defying the law.

So, why should anyone assume that the new legislative edict demanding that the President obey the law will get any more respect than the old one, which established the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 as the “exclusive” means for authorizing electronic spying?

It wasn’t that Bush and his team didn’t understand the old law’s language; they simply believed they could violate the law without consequence, under the radical theory that at a time of war – even one as vaguely defined as the “war on terror” – the President’s powers trump all laws as well as the constitutional rights of citizens.

Essentially, Bush was betting that even if his warrantless wiretap program was disclosed – as it was in December 2005 – that he could trust his Republican congressional allies to protect him and could count on most Democrats not to have the guts to challenge him.

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Jun 04

If elected president, Senator John McCain would reserve the right to run his own warrantless wiretapping program against Americans, based on the theory that the president’s wartime powers trump federal criminal statutes and court oversight, according to a statement released by his campaign Monday.

McCain’s new tack towards the Bush administration’s theory of executive power comes some 10 days after a McCain surrogate stated, incorrectly it seems, that the senator wanted hearings into telecom companies’ cooperation with President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program, before he’d support giving those companies retroactive legal immunity.

As first reported by Threat Level, Chuck Fish, a full-time lawyer for the McCain campaign, also said McCain wanted stricter rules on how the nation’s telecoms work with U.S. spy agencies, and expected those companies to apologize for any lawbreaking before winning amnesty.

But Monday, McCain adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin, speaking for the campaign, disavowed those statements, and for the first time cast McCain’s views on warrantless wiretapping as identical to Bush’s.

[N]either the Administration nor the telecoms need apologize for actions that most people, except for the ACLU and the trial lawyers, understand were Constitutional and appropriate in the wake of the attacks on September 11, 2001. […]

We do not know what lies ahead in our nation’s fight against radical Islamic extremists, but John McCain will do everything he can to protect Americans from such threats, including asking the telecoms for appropriate assistance to collect intelligence against foreign threats to the United States as authorized by Article II of the Constitution.

The Article II citation is key, since it refers to President Bush’s longstanding arguments that the president has nearly unlimited powers during a time of war. The administration’s analysis went so far as to say the Fourth Amendment did not apply inside the United States in the fight against terrorism, in one legal opinion from 2001. Continue reading »

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Jun 01

The Libertarian Party recently nominated former Republican Congressman Bob Barr as their presidential nominee. This nomination represents a compromise of the principles that the Libertarian Party used to stand for. Party members decided that they were going to sell out the principles of their party in exchange for some coverage in the corporate controlled media. Is some coverage in the establishment media worth having a man at the front of the party with an incredibly dubious past pertaining to freedom and liberty? Although it is possible that Barr might have changed his ways and realized his mistakes for not abiding by the Constitution, his record speaks for itself. Barr voted in favor of the Patriot Act, worked for the CIA throughout the 1970s and supported the phony war on drugs for several years. The Patriot Act is one of the most tyrannical pieces of legislation ever passed in the history of the United States. The war on drugs is entirely against the principles of the Libertarian Party. Considering Barr’s record of supporting anti-freedom policies and legislation, he is not a suitable choice to vote for in the general election. If you want to vote for a candidate that believes in liberty and the Constitution, write in Ron Paul.

Barr won the nomination over Mary Ruwart who would have been a fine candidate to promote the Libertarian cause. Ruwart is an author who has supported the cause of individual freedom for many years. She is a long time member of the Libertarian party and had none of the baggage that Barr has. By selecting Barr as the presidential nominee, the Libertarian Party has selected a poor representative.

Below is a blurb from a Bloomberg report talking about how Barr has upset many Libertarians with his dubious past.

Barr has angered Libertarians by backing what they view as abuses of government, including efforts to crack down on drugs and his vote for the Patriot Act, which gave the government expanded powers, such as wiretapping, to fight terrorism. Civil libertarians condemn his co-sponsorship of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages, and his opposition to abortion. Continue reading »

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May 06

It connects you to the world, but your cell phone could also be giving anyone from your boss to your wife a window into your every move. The same technology that lets you stay in touch on-the-go can now let others tap into your private world — without you ever even suspecting something is awry.

The new generation

Long gone are the days of simple wiretapping, when the worst your phone could do was let someone listen in to your conversations. The new generation of cell phone spying tools provides a lot more power.

Eavesdropping is easy. All it takes is a two-minute software install and someone can record your calls and monitor your text messages. They can even set up systems to be automatically alerted when you dial a certain number, then instantly patched into your conversation. Anyone who can perform a basic internet search can find the tools and figure out how to do it in no time.

But the scarier stuff is what your phone can do when you aren’t even using it. Let’s start with your location.

Simple surveillance

You don’t have to plant a CIA-style bug to conduct surveillance any more. A service called World Tracker lets you use data from cell phone towers and GPS systems to pinpoint anyone’s exact whereabouts, any time — as long as they’ve got their phone on them.

All you have to do is log on to the web site and enter the target phone number. The site sends a single text message to the phone that requires one response for confirmation. Once the response is sent, you are locked in to their location and can track them step-by-step. The response is only required the first time the phone is contacted, so you can imagine how easily it could be handled without the phone’s owner even knowing.

Once connected, the service shows you the exact location of the phone by the minute, conveniently pinpointed on a Google Map. So far, the service is only available in the UK, but the company has indicated plans to expand its service to other countries soon.

Advanced eavesdropping

So you’ve figured out where someone is, but now you want to know what they’re actually doing. Turns out you can listen in, even if they aren’t talking on their phone.

Read the rest of this highly recommended article here: geeksaresexy.net

May 5, 2008
By JR Raphael
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

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Apr 04

NEW YORK – A newly disclosed secret memo authored by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) in March 2003 that asserts President Bush has unlimited power to order brutal interrogations of detainees also reveals a radical interpretation of the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protection from unreasonable search and seizure. The memo, declassified yesterday as the result of an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit, cites a still-secret DOJ memo from 2001 that found that the “Fourth Amendment had no application to domestic military operations.”

The October 2001 memo was almost certainly meant to provide a legal basis for the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping program, which President Bush launched the same month the memo was issued. As a component of the Department of Defense, the NSA is a military agency.

“The recent disclosures underscore the Bush administration’s extraordinarily sweeping conception of executive power,” said Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU’s National Security Project. “The administration’s lawyers believe the president should be permitted to violate statutory law, to violate international treaties, and even to violate the Fourth Amendment inside the U.S. They believe that the president should be above the law. Continue reading »

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