A NIGHTMARE HAS BEGUN June 16, 2013Posted by wmmbb in Duckspeak, Human Rights.
The Story that keeps on giving because those responsible keep on taking. Invasion of privacy by the NSA appears to have been out of control and definitely not accountable to Congress or any Parliament around the world.
There are now many reports, including from Declan McCullagh at C/Net:
The National Security Agency has acknowledged in a new classified briefing that it does not need court authorization to listen to domestic phone calls.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, disclosed this week that during a secret briefing to members of Congress, he was told that the contents of a phone call could be accessed “simply based on an analyst deciding that.”
If the NSA wants “to listen to the phone,” an analyst’s decision is sufficient, without any other legal authorization required, Nadler said he learned. “I was rather startled,” said Nadler, an attorney and congressman who serves on the House Judiciary committee.
Not only does this disclosure shed more light on how the NSA’s formidable eavesdropping apparatus works domestically, it also suggests the Justice Department has secretly interpreted federal surveillance law to permit thousands of low-ranking analysts to eavesdrop on phone calls.
Because the same legal standards that apply to phone calls also apply to e-mail messages, text messages, and instant messages, Nadler’s disclosure indicates the NSA analysts could also access the contents of Internet communications without going before a court and seeking approval.
Possibly when President Obama declared this was not widespread, he had not been told, or he did not know. And in an unprecedented way, The New York Times throws caution to the wind. Peter Ludlow declares:
If there is one thing we can take away from the news of recent weeks it is this: the modern American surveillance state is not really the stuff of paranoid fantasies; it has arrived.
The revelations about the National Security Agency’s PRISM data collection program have raised awareness — and understandably, concern and fears — among American and those abroad, about the reach and power of secret intelligence gatherers operating behind the facades of government and business.
Surveillance and deception are not just fodder for the next “Matrix” movie, but a real sort of epistemic warfare.
But those revelations, captivating as they are, have been partial —they primarily focus on one government agency and on the surveillance end of intelligence work, purportedly done in the interest of national security. What has received less attention is the fact that most intelligence work today is not carried out by government agencies but by private intelligence firms and that much of that work involves another common aspect of intelligence work: deception. That is, it is involved not just with the concealment of reality, but with the manufacture of it.
The realm of secrecy and deception among shadowy yet powerful forces may sound like the province of investigative reporters, thriller novelists and Hollywood moviemakers — and it is — but it is also a matter for philosophers. More accurately, understanding deception and and how it can be exposed has been a principle project of philosophy for the last 2500 years. And it is a place where the work of journalists, philosophers and other truth-seekers can meet.
There is the worrying aspect involving private contractors, who conveniently are not subject to the restrictions that otherwise might be imposed on government, and who have their own “business” agendas. Cenk Uygur is on the case, speaking not in future perfect but in past tense:
Lee Fang, as quoted, writes in The Nation:
Could the sprawling surveillance state enable government or its legion of private contractors to abuse their technology and spy upon domestic political targets or judges?
This is not a far off possibility. Two years ago, a batch of stolen e-mails revealed a plot by a set of three defense contractors (Palantir Technologies, Berico Technologies and HBGary Federal) to target activists, reporters, labor unions and political organizations. The plans— one concocted in concert with lawyers for the US Chamber of Commerce to sabotage left-leaning critics, like the Center for American Progress and the SEIU, and a separate proposal to “combat” WikiLeaks and its supporters, including Glenn Greenwald, on behalf of Bank of America— fell apart after reports of their existence were published online. But the episode serves as a reminder that the expanding spy industry could use its government-backed cybertools to harm ordinary Americans and political dissident groups.
The episode also shows that Greenwald, who helped Snowden expose massive spying efforts in the United States, had been targetted by spy agency contractors in the past for supporting whistleblowers and WikiLeaks.
Edward Snowden was concerned that his warning would be ignored. Some are taking notice, including members of Congress, would have been keep from any information by the secrecy provisions that if not enacted have been applied.
- Micah Lee, How Dozens of Companies Know You’re Reading About those NSA Leaks (Electronic Frontier Foundation)
- This episode of Law and Disorder Radio is worth a listen.
- James Petras, The Deeper Meaning of Mass Spying in America (FireDogLake)
Most civil libertarians focus on the violations of individual rights, constitutional guarantees and the citizen’s privacy rights. These are important legal issues and the critics are right in raising them. However, these constitutional–legal critiques do not go far enough; they fail to raise even more fundamental issues; they avoid basic political questions.
- NSA Admits Listening to U.S. Phone Calls Without Warrants (cryptogon.com)
- AND NOW: Private ‘Blackwater-Type’ Spy Agencies (Video) (infiniteunknown.net)
- NSA Discloses the Breathtaking Scope of Its Claimed Powers, Or, Maybe Snowden Was Right! (patterico.com)
- NSA admits listening to U.S. phone calls without warrants (thedestructionist.wordpress.com)
- Wow, the NSA now admits it listens to US phone calls without warrants. This raises serious constitutional problems. http://t.co/Z8uGla2xaM (news.cnet.com)