domestic-spying

Whistleblower: NSA collects AUDIO from 80% of phone calls

According to NSA whistleblower William Binney, we have a lot more to worry about than the NSA’s collection of metadata.  

from Business Insider:

William Binney is one of the highest-level whistleblowers to ever emerge from the NSA. He was a leading code-breaker against the Soviet Union during the Cold War but resigned soon after September 11, disgusted by Washington’s move towards mass surveillance.
On 5 July he spoke at a conference in London organized by the Centre for Investigative Journalism and revealed the extent of the surveillance programs unleashed by the Bush and Obama administrations.

“At least 80% of fibre-optic cables globally go via the US”, Binney said. “This is no accident and allows the US to view all communication coming in. At least 80% of all audio calls, not just metadata, are recorded and stored in the US. The NSA lies about what it stores.”

The NSA will soon be able to collect 966 exabytes a year, the total of internet traffic annually. Former Google head Eric Schmidt once argued that the entire amount of knowledge from the beginning of humankind until 2003 amount to only five exabytes.

Binney, who featured in a 2012 short film by Oscar-nominated US film-maker Laura Poitras, described a future where surveillance is ubiquitous and government intrusion unlimited.

“The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control”, Binney said, “but I’m a little optimistic with some recent Supreme Court decisions, such as law enforcement mostly now needing a warrant before searching a smartphone.”

read the rest

It’s time for a special investigation to be launched into the NSA.  No more secrets.  The American people have a right to know what their government is doing with their phone calls.

Most people would object to the government searching their homes without a warrant. If you were told that that while you are at work, the government is coming into your home every day and searching it without cause, you might be unsettled. You might even think it a violation of your rights specifically, and the bill of rights generally.

But what if the government, in its defense, said: “First of all, we’re searching everyone’s home, so you’re not being singled out. Second, we don’t connect your address to your name, so don’t worry about it. All we’re doing is searching every home in the United States, every day, without exception, and if we find something noteworthy, we’ll let you know.”

This is the essence of the NSA’s domestic spying program. They are collecting records of every call made in the US, and every call made from the US to recipients abroad. Any number of government agencies can access this data – about who you have called any day, any week, any year. And this information is being kept indefinitely.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/dec/20/nsa-surveillance-programme-get-worse

huffingtonpost.com
AP: NYPD Secretly Designated Entire Mosques As Terrorism Organizations

The New York Police Department has secretly labeled entire mosques as terrorist organizations, a designation that allows police to use informants to record sermons and spy on imams, often without specific evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

Designating an entire mosque as a terrorism enterprise means that anyone who attends prayer services there is a potential subject of an investigation and fair game for surveillance.

Since the 9/11 attacks, the NYPD has opened at least a dozen “terrorism enterprise investigations” into mosques, according to interviews and confidential police documents. The TEI, as it is known, is a police tool intended to help investigate terrorist cells and the like.

In response to the news, the ACLU and two other organizations have filed lawsuits against the NYPD. saying the department’s practices leave Muslims in fear of practicing their religion.

EDIT: As pointed out below, this is an AP story that ran on HuffPo. This has been edited to clarify. 

nytimes.com
NY Times: Drug Agents Use Vast Phone Trove, Eclipsing NSA's

For at least six years, law enforcement officials working on a counternarcotics program have had routine access, using subpoenas, to an enormous AT&T database that contains the records of decades of Americans’ phone calls — parallel to but covering a far longer time than the National Security Agency’s hotly disputed collection of phone call logs.

The Hemisphere Project, a partnership between federal and local drug officials and AT&T that has not previously been reported, involves an extremely close association between the government and the telecommunications giant.

The government pays AT&T to place its employees in drug-fighting units around the country. Those employees sit alongside Drug Enforcement Administration agents and local detectives and supply them with the phone data from as far back as 1987.

You probably shouldn’t read this story, unless you feel like being at least a little bit angry this afternoon. If the report is true, AT&T has been providing decades worth of call logs to the Drug Enforcement Agency, and that includes all calls which passed through AT&T switches. Even if one or more parties wasn’t an AT&T customer. It’s estimated that four billion calls are saved to the Hemisphere Project database each day.

washingtonpost.com
WashPo: NSA surveillance program reaches '€˜into the past' to retrieve, replay phone calls

The National Security Agency has built a surveillance system capable of recording “100 percent” of a foreign country’s telephone calls, enabling the agency to rewind and review conversations as long as a month after they take place, according to people with direct knowledge of the effort and documents supplied by former contractor Edward Snowden.

A senior manager for the program compares it to a time machine — one that can replay the voices from any call without requiring that a person be identified in advance for surveillance.

VIDEO: Rand Paul leads bold crusade against NSA spying in EPIC Senate speech

This is as good as it gets, ladies and gentlemen.  This is not a speech from just another politician running for higher office.  This is a potent, pointed, heart-felt “give me liberty!” from a man who is sick and tired of seeing the Constitution shredded by his own government. 

here’s the video:

To Senator Paul we say, “Bravo!”  Thank you for your tireless efforts to protect the American people from a tyrannical Federal government.

wired.com
Feds Demand Supreme Court Thwart Challenge to NSA Phone Spying | Threat Level | Wired.com

The President Barack Obama administration is urging the Supreme Court to reject a challenge to the National Security Agency’s once-secret telephone metadata spying program.

The filing — the first government briefing on the topic to reach the Supreme Court — was in response to the Electronic Privacy Information Center’s petition asking the justices to halt the program that was disclosed by NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

Among other defenses, the administration said Friday that only the phone companies can challenge the secret orders from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to hand over metadata of every call made to and from the United States.

“Congress established that only specified parties — the government or the recipient of an order — may seek review in this Court of a FISC decision under Section 1861,” the administration wrote. The Patriot Act, which authorizes the phone snooping, “impliedly precludes a third party” (.pdf) from making a challenge, the government added.

washingtonpost.com
NSA tracking cellphone locations worldwide, Snowden documents show

The National Security Agency is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world, according to top-secret documents and interviews with U.S. intelligence officials, enabling the agency to track the movements of individuals — and map their relationships — in ways that would have been previously unimaginable.

The records feed a vast database that stores information about the locations of at least hundreds of millions of devices, according to the officials and the documents, which were provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. New projects created to analyze that data have provided the intelligence community with what amounts to a mass surveillance tool.

The NSA does not target Americans’ location data by design, but the agency acquires a substantial amount of information on the whereabouts of domestic cellphones “incidentally,” a legal term that connotes a foreseeable but not deliberate result.

One senior collection manager, speaking on condition of anonymity but with permission from the NSA, said “we are getting vast volumes” of location data from around the world by tapping into the cables that connect mobile networks globally and that serve U.S. cellphones as well as foreign ones. Additionally, data is often collected from the tens of millions of Americans who travel abroad with their cellphones every year.

In scale, scope and potential impact on privacy, the efforts to collect and analyze location data may be unsurpassed among the NSA surveillance programs that have been disclosed since June. Analysts can find cellphones anywhere in the world, retrace their movements and expose hidden relationships among individuals using them.

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The Snowden Case What You’re Not Being Told (by StormCloudsGathering)

When the mainstream media shows you something with their right hand, watch what the left hand is doing.

We may never know all the details of the mass surveillance programs, but we know this: The administration has justified them through abuse of language, intentional evasion of statutory protections, secret, unreviewable investigative procedures and constitutional arguments that make a mockery of the government’s professed concern with protecting Americans’ privacy. It’s time to call the N.S.A.’s mass surveillance programs what they are: criminal.
— 

The Criminal N.S.A.” via The New York Times

Instead of criminalizing the leaker, maybe we should be scrutinizing our government more…

The CIA And NYPD Join Forces To Violate Your Civil Rights

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Huffington Post’s Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman reveal the dubious activities that the NYPD has been engaging in, with CIA help, in the never-ending “war on terror”:

In New Brunswick, N.J., a building superintendent opened the door to apartment No. 1076 one balmy Tuesday and discovered an alarming scene: terrorist literature strewn about the table and computer and surveillance equipment set up in the next room.

The panicked superintendent dialed 911, sending police and the FBI rushing to the building near Rutgers University on the afternoon of June 2, 2009. What they found in that first-floor apartment, however, was not a terrorist hideout but a command center set up by a secret team of New York Police Department intelligence officers.

From that apartment, about an hour outside the department’s jurisdiction, the NYPD had been staging undercover operations and conducting surveillance throughout New Jersey. Neither the FBI nor the local police had any idea.

Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the NYPD has become one of the country’s most aggressive domestic intelligence agencies. A months-long investigation by The Associated Press has revealed that the NYPD operates far outside its borders and targets ethnic communities in ways that would run afoul of civil liberties rules if practiced by the federal government. And it does so with unprecedented help from the CIA in a partnership that has blurred the bright line between foreign and domestic spying.

Neither the city council, which finances the department, nor the federal government, which contributes hundreds of millions of dollars each year, is told exactly what’s going on.

The department has dispatched teams of undercover officers, known as “rakers,” into minority neighborhoods as part of a human mapping program, according to officials directly involved in the program. They’ve monitored daily life in bookstores, bars, cafes and nightclubs. Police have also used informants, known as “mosque crawlers,” to monitor sermons, even when there’s no evidence of wrongdoing. NYPD officials have scrutinized imams and gathered intelligence on cab drivers and food cart vendors, jobs often done by Muslims.

Many of these operations were built with help from the CIA, which is prohibited from spying on Americans but was instrumental in transforming the NYPD’s intelligence unit…

[continues at Huffington Post]

rakers? mosque crawlers? human mapping program?

wired.com
Warrantless Eavesdropping Before Supreme Court | Wired

The Supreme Court on Monday will hear arguments on whether it should halt a legal challenge to a once-secret warrantless surveillance program targeting Americans’ communications, a program that Congress eventually legalized in 2008.

The hearing will mark the first time the Supreme Court has reviewed any case touching on the eavesdropping program that was secretly employed by the George W. Bush administration in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, and largely codified into law years later.

Before the justices is the FISA Amendments Act (.pdf), the subject of a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and others. The act authorizes the government to electronically eavesdrop on Americans’ phone calls and e-mails without a probable-cause warrant so long as one of the parties to the communication is believed to be outside the United States. Communications may be intercepted “to acquire foreign intelligence information.”

The government has also, according to former top Justice Department lawyer David Kris, taken the ”position that surveillance of a U.S. person’s home and mobile telephones was ‘directed at’ al Qaeda, not at the U.S. person himself. [T]his logic seemed to allow surveillance of Americans’ telephones and e-mail accounts, inside the United States, without adherence to traditional FISA, as long as the government could persuade itself that the surveillance was indeed ‘directed’ at al Qaeda or another foreign power that was reasonably believed to be abroad.”

That bill was signed into law in July 2008, and the ACLU filed suit immediately claiming it was unconstitutional. A lower court judge tossed the suit.

But a surprise appellate court decision last year reinstated the challenge. The Obama administration asked the Supreme Court to overturn the decision and, in May, the justices agreed to do so. [continue]