White House Defends Verizon Phone Records Dragnet

Today the White House, without confirming the Guardian article about the FISA order requiring Verizon to turn over call detail records for all of Verizon's customers for at least three months, defended such an action in the name of terrorism and keeping us safe. The order is here. The Guardian reports:

The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.

According to an unnamed White House Official: [More...]

Such information is "a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats to the United States," the official said, speaking on the condition of not being named.

"It allows counter terrorism personnel to discover whether known or suspected terrorists have been in contact with other persons who may be engaged in terrorist activities, particularly people located inside the United States," the official added.

According to NBC's Chuck Todd, the White House says insists no "call content" was obtained and:

[B]oth Congress and the judiciary branch, as well as the executive branch, it’s all three branches of government have a say-so on this.”

That may be true in that Congress passed and reauthorized the Patriot Act and FISA, judges have upheld the statutes, and a FISA judge granted the request Verizon records. Does that mean Congress or any judge other than a FISA judge knew the scope of records requests the FBI was seeking?

The order granted a request under the "business records provision" of the Patriot Act, known as Section 215 (access to records and other items under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, 50 USC Section 1861.)

At a hearing in March, 2011, Todd Hinnen, Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security, told Congress the records requests were being used for a sensitive data collection program.

[215 orders] have also been used to support important and highly sensitive intelligence collection operations, on which this committee and others have been separately briefed.

The data-mining has also been alluded to by Senators Mark Udall and Ron Wyden who last year said Americans would be shocked if they knew how DOJ was interpreting Section 215 (apparently there's a secret memo). The ACLU has an FOIA case pending seeking more documents. Here is the June 2012 version of the FBI Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide (partially redacted.)

NBC reports a leaks investigation will occur to determine how the Guardian got the secret FISA order.

< Old News: Hitler's Soldiers Given Meth | George Zimmerman: Frye Hearing on Voice Experts >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    If the government is so good at (5.00 / 5) (#1)
    by Anne on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 11:19:05 AM EST
    this data collection thing, shouldn't they already know how the order got leaked?  Kind of only half-kidding about that.

    Once again, we will spend more time obsessing over how the information got out than about the collection of the information itself and the exercise and abuse of executive power.

    Since this administration (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 12:35:41 PM EST
    Has arguably been the most aggressive administration in pursuing whistleblowers and leakers, I can see this part becoming "a thing".

    The difference between a whistleblower and a (none / 0) (#17)
    by Farmboy on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 02:11:10 PM EST
    leaker is one of outcomes, and the perspective on those outcomes is rarely objective.

    Regardless of labels, there's an understandable reason that for many people both in and out of our gov't this is "a thing." Somebody woke up one morning and on their own authority decided that the benefits of releasing a top secret document were more important than any possible harm caused by the public release of those secrets. They decided, for all of us, that they knew best.

    If they're right, then the ends justified the means. That approach isn't always defensible, especially when the consequences aren't the desired ones.


    That's true. (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 05:05:55 PM EST
    Whistleblowing will never be a contemporaneously popular act, and will always carry great personal risk to the person disclosing the compromising information, because more often than not, its higher purpose and public benefit can only be ascertained and realized in retrospect.

    Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the so-called "Pentagon Papers" about the Vietnam War to the New York Times, and Mark Felt, the FBI Deputy Director who urged reporter Bob Woodward to follow the money in the Watergate scandal, are recognized today as being true whistleblowers in the most honorable sense of the term, but only because events subsequently proved them right.

    And conversely, that's why Lewis "Scooter" Libby will always be remembered as a common criminal rather than whistleblower, because he first conspired to compromise the identity of CIA NOC Valerie Plame simply because his boss Dick Cheney was mad at her husband for an editorial he wrote, and then hid behind reporter Judith Miller's skirts in an effort to avoid taking personal responsibility for his actions. Suffice to say, there was no greater public purpose being served by his behavior.



    Actually Donald (1.00 / 2) (#68)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 11:16:27 PM EST
    Only Left wingers such as you remember Libby as a common criminal.

    The rest of us remember him as the victim of a political witch hunt... Or perhaps you can ATTEMPT to justify the SP's continual investigation long after he knew Armiage was the leaker.

    And of course you don't want to discuss Obama's failure to change what Bush started...

    Of course under Bush the feds had something like 48 hours to listen in before they had to go to a FISA judge and get a warrant.

    Obama's actions far far far far far exceed that.

    Yet you say nothing.


    Flogging the same dead horse... (5.00 / 4) (#70)
    by shoephone on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 11:27:03 PM EST
    Armitage! Armitage! Armitage! Armitage!

    Isn't it about that time of the evening you started having a coronary over oil prices?


    Armitage.. (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by jondee on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 01:33:58 PM EST
    well, that's the script they give him..

    I remember back when he was claiming Tom Delay was the victim of a witch hunt..

    And the meme that the recession was solely due to Fannie and Freddie and government programs for the poor..


    There were FOUR leakers ... (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by Yman on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 07:05:20 AM EST
    Scooter, Libby, Rove and Armitage - ALL of which leaked to at least a half dozen reporters before Novak's article was published.

    Those facts can be troublesome, huh, Jim?


    Farmboy, it seems to me (none / 0) (#28)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 03:20:48 PM EST
    that you are defending these actions.

    Did you take the same position when W was Prez??


    Well, let's see. (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Farmboy on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 05:27:01 PM EST
    I didn't think "the ends justify the means" is any way to run a country when W was president, and I don't think it now. It's a morally indefensible and immature proposition, IMO.

    I was completely against it when Cheney, Rove, and the rest of W's outlaws leaked top secret information that threatened national security, and I don't feel any different now when somebody in the current gov't does it.

    I was completely for whistleblowers revealing corruption and perfidy within the gov't when W was choking down pretzels in the White House, and I'm still for it now. I'll be for it when the next president comes along, God willing I live that long.

    How's that?


    And what information was leaked?? (1.00 / 3) (#66)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 11:11:04 PM EST
    Surely you aren't going to bring up Plame since we all know Armitage confessed to doing that.

    But the question remains.

    Do you soundly and roundly condemn Obama? Or are you part of the "blame Bush" crowd????


    Heeeeeere's Jimmy! Just like clockwork, (5.00 / 3) (#67)
    by shoephone on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 11:13:15 PM EST
    flogging the same dead horses, again, and again, and again, and again...

    You really need to get some new material.


    So did Rove, Libby ... (none / 0) (#97)
    by Yman on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 07:09:11 AM EST
    ... Scooter and Ari Fleischer (after demanding immunity before testifying).

    I forgot about Fleischer.  That makes FIVE leakers before Novak published his article based on his discussion with Armitage.

    Care to try again?


    Bush was a terrible President (none / 0) (#98)
    by MKS on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 09:25:02 AM EST
    It was on his watch that 9/11 occurred.  In spite of specific warnings that Bin Laden was determined to strike inside the U.S.

    And his response was to invade Iraq which had nothing to do with 9/11.  That invasion not only strengthened Iran by eliminating an enemy, but it also created a Shia ally in Iraq.   Let alone the death and trillions spent.  A strategic blunder of immense proporation.

    He presided over the the worst financial crisis and Recession in decades.....

    Before the Recession, He squandered the budget surplus.

    Bush was a complete failure across the board.


    Bush was a visceral, symbolic (none / 0) (#100)
    by jondee on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 01:30:35 PM EST
    victory for the red staters who voted for him..

    As Harold Bloom said, the ascendence of Bush was about revenge..

    It didn't matter to his supporters whether he actually embodied any concrete "values", magically overturned Roe v Wade, or accomplished anything else of lasting importance..

    Plus, people underrate the fact that millions of people had taken that Left Behind humbug to heart and thought the beginning of the Rapture was right around the corner with the advent of the new Millenium..Bush's people cynically exploited that complex and positioned Bush and the neocons to symbolically stand in for the "forces of Light" in the coming Battle..


    Here is My Problem(s) (5.00 / 4) (#8)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 12:46:26 PM EST
    On one hand they are saying it's needed to keep us safe from terrorism and then on the other they are saying they aren't linking it to actual people names.  That makes no sense.  Terrorist are people.

    But more importantly, the past two administrations have convinced themselves that safety trumps the Constitution.  And because all of the BS is secretive, no one knows exactly what they are doing with these data dumps.

    It's getting to the point that I am not defending Obama anymore, not that I did much of that, but all this right wing non-sense is garbage, but it's clear he doesn't deserve to walk away with a good reputation and if it takes some right wing foolery to disgrace him, then so be it.

    Next week he'll have Holder stating they had no choice, and now they want to change the law that forced them to do this.

    If only the 2A crowd cared about the 4A...

    Oh... (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 12:51:13 PM EST
    Holder's been up to the Hill already this morning...

    And when Jim Sensenbrenner, an author of the Patriot Act, says the NSA violated the law, you know you've gone too far.


    Quoting Sensenbrenner?? (3.50 / 2) (#11)
    by squeaky on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 01:25:07 PM EST
    The only problem Sensenbrenner has is that the Democrats are in power. His statement is pure politics, aka hypocritical opportunism. His record supports everything that the NSA is doing now and, were he in charge, we would have no civil liberties at all.

    Voted YES on allowing electronic surveillance without a warrant.

    Amends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) to allow the President & Attorney General to authorize electronic surveillance without a court order to acquire foreign intelligence information, after certifying that the surveillance is directed at the acquisition of communications of foreign agents.

    Voted YES on continuing intelligence gathering without civil oversight.

    A resolution providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 5020) to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2007 for intelligence and intelligence-related activities. Voting YES indicates support of the current methods for intelligence-gathering used by the CIA and other agencies.

    Yes, I am (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 01:28:47 PM EST
    Because if you actually read my comment, you would have realized I said that even if Sensenbrenner is saying this is a problem, then it's really a problem.

    I don't know how it's any more "politics" to say this than for St. Barack to call this "a critical tool".


    Yes Got it (2.00 / 3) (#15)
    by squeaky on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 02:02:55 PM EST
    Yes Sensenbrenner stole the words right out of your mouth. Isn't politics wonderful!

    How I missed your snark! (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 02:17:59 PM EST
    And your inability to read and comprehend!

    So glad you're back!


    Yes (2.00 / 3) (#24)
    by squeaky on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 02:57:27 PM EST
    Your message is clear. Sensenbrenner is better on civil liberties than Obama. And you have proof..  Senesnbrenner said so.. He is aghast at the Obama administration's overreach, just horrified..  besides himself..  

    what's next wiretapping US citizens without a warrant?

    Oh, Senesnbrenner voted for that already. In fact I would not be surprised if he was on the committee that gave BushCo the green light 7 years ago to proceed with this kind of over reaching data mining.

    Obama is horrible on all of this, and unfortunately he is representative of the Democratic Party mainstream, all of who make Nixon look like a raging Liberal. Given that, to use Senesnbrenner's obviously disingenuous statement (his record is far to the right of the majority of Democrats), as a way to score political points against Obama makes it seem as if you are more concerned with making Obama look bad than you are concerned with the erosion of our civil liberty, because that is exactly what Sensenbrenner is doing.

    As they say, if you lie down with dogs you wake up with fleas.


    You have an amazing talent (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 03:01:51 PM EST
    For reading things that aren't there.

    Of course, I never said any of those things, but once again, you just make cr@p up.


    Frontline, Program, K-9A keep the fleas away :D (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by nycstray on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 08:57:54 PM EST
    I find it a little unnerving (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by KeysDan on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 02:45:56 PM EST
    when a guy like Jim Sensenbrenner agrees with me.  Just as I hated it when Scalia agreed with me on DNA cheek swabs violating the core of the fourth amendment (Maryland v King). Oh, and a welcome back, Squeaky.  

    Don't worry, Sensenbrenner does not (5.00 / 3) (#41)
    by caseyOR on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 04:42:04 PM EST
    really agree with you. He thinks this is bad only when it is done by Obama. If Romney ha won last fall and been the one running this surveillance, Sensenbrenner would be just fine with it. His remarks then would be along the lines of "we must do this to keep us safe! Muslims under our beds!! Oh noes!!"

    So, yoi are okay here.


    You agree with Scalia (none / 0) (#23)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 02:56:18 PM EST
    more than you think - it wasn't just Maryland v. King where he came down with most of the liberal wing on a 4th Amendment case.

    If you look at these graphs and stats, you'll realize that the Court (this term) has been in agreement on many, many issues.

    For example, you'll notice that 58% of the cases decided (so far) this term, have been 9-0 decisions, 4% have been 8-1, 8% have been 7-2, and 13% have been 6-3.  Only17% have been close 5-4 votes.


    Gee, don't tell me. (none / 0) (#33)
    by KeysDan on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 03:26:16 PM EST
    I think I usually disagree (except on those fourth amendment cases) with Scalia even on cases decided by unanimous consent.

    Hmmm (none / 0) (#37)
    by squeaky on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 03:51:19 PM EST
    Sensenbrenner was a big supporter of H.R. 4709 (2006), which appears to be the law that allows for the current data mining operation. So hard to believe him when he says that the Obama administration is breaking the law.

    New rules from the FBI general counsel's office tell agents they are to limit emergency requests for phone records to the most dire situations, in which the loss of life or bodily harm is believed to be imminent. They are to document carefully the circumstances surrounding the request.

    Agents also have been relieved of a paperwork burden that was at the heart of past problems, officials said.

    Under past procedures, agents sent "exigent circumstances letters" to phone companies, seeking toll records by asserting there was an emergency. Then they were expected to issue a grand jury subpoena or a "national security letter," which legally authorized the collection after the fact. Agents often did not follow up with that paperwork, the inspector general's investigation found.

    The new instructions tell agents there is no need to follow up with national security letters or subpoenas. The agents are also told that the new letter template is the preferred method in emergencies but that they may make requests orally, with no paperwork sent to phone companies. Such oral requests have been made over the years in terrorism and kidnapping cases, officials said.



    Probably (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 04:28:53 PM EST
    It's the same bill that was approved by unanimous consent by the Senate (that means no Senator objected to it, even though they had the chance).  That includes a certain junior senator from Illinois.....

    Guess he agreed with Sensenbrenner then.  Now he's expanded it past what even Sensenbrenner imagined.  

    Which was my point - thanks for proving it.


    HUH? (none / 0) (#42)
    by squeaky on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 04:54:05 PM EST
    No your point is that even Sensenbrenner believes that what the NSA has done is illegal, so he is more concerned with civil rights than Obama.  

    My point is that Sensenbrenner voted for this bill along with everyone else (D + R)  and could care less about civil liberties as he is only playing politics by accusing the Democratic Administration of overreach.


    OK (none / 0) (#44)
    by squeaky on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 05:05:06 PM EST
    If Obama were saying what Sensenbrenner was saying now, something tells me that you would be calling him out for hypocrisy at worst toothlessness at best.

    And again (none / 0) (#72)
    by jbindc on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 07:44:12 AM EST
    If Obama were saying what Sensenbrenner was saying now, something tells me that you would be calling him out for hypocrisy at worst toothlessness at best.

    Conceding my point and still making cr@p up.

    If Obama were saying what Sensenbrenner said - we wouldn't be having this discussion in the first place because all of this spying and data mining wouldn't be going on .

    Ooh - let me try one!  If Obama were found by a group of nuns eating the heart out an animal in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue, something tells me that you would be blaming Republicans for setting him up because it's not his fault he was a zombie. They made him that way.

    See how fun this is?


    calling him out for hypocrisy.. (1.00 / 2) (#89)
    by jondee on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 01:58:00 PM EST
    of course she would..

    Because, after all, "St Barak" really did eat the heart of a baby animal in front of some nuns -- in 2008.


    It wouldn't surprise me (none / 0) (#90)
    by jbindc on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 02:11:38 PM EST
    No, (1.00 / 1) (#91)
    by jondee on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 02:13:01 PM EST
    he really did.

    That's why Romney was the better choice.


    I guess that's why you voted for Romney, then (none / 0) (#92)
    by jbindc on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 02:23:51 PM EST
    The Casino He Built (none / 0) (#99)
    by squeaky on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 10:09:41 AM EST
    Jim Sensenbrenner's Horse$hit Claims of Innocence

    More on the Republican (with D assists) gaming of the bill and vote here.

    Predictably O and C vote yea with the rest of the sheep...  Feingold Levin, Leahy and 7 other D's voter Nay.


    Of course it makes no sense (5.00 / 3) (#51)
    by sj on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 05:49:53 PM EST
    On one hand they are saying it's needed to keep us safe from terrorism and then on the other they are saying they aren't linking it to actual people names.  That makes no sense.
    That's because "Terrorism!!" is just an excuse for a means of controlling those unruly citizens.

    Snoopy. (5.00 / 3) (#56)
    by lentinel on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 06:52:34 PM EST
    This trampling on the Constitution is, you see, "a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats to the United States." So says the "official", speaking on the condition that we can't know who is speaking.

    A double-header.

    Not only do we get GW Bush era big-lie-double-speak, we also have the pleasure of this Orwellian crappola being delivered to us by someone who spews this crappola only on the condition that we cannot know who is doing the spewing.

    i have no hope of anything really improving - I think that having allowed all this to go down - it is here to stay. As Ben said, we deserve neither liberty nor security. As a people, I still think we deserve better than the festering legacy of Bush-Obama. But Ben didn't think so - and he is a founder of the country.

    And yet, counter-intuitively, i can't wait for this administration and all of its members to finish their terms and leave us.

    I can't wait for the Obama library.
    It certainly will rival W's.


    If Bush Got a Library... (none / 0) (#101)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 01:01:21 PM EST
    ...then Obama deserves a Constitutional museum.

    If the world was fair, they would each be remembered with by huge copper steaming turds that lay upon a granite replica of the constitution.  It would literally steam , and if possible, would have the very fragrance it represents.

    It would set in a big pit in the middle of the Ellipse, right between the White House and the Washington Monument as a reminder that Washington isn't always cherry blooms and great leaders, sometimes it just straight up stinks.


    The basic framework of constitution was written (none / 0) (#102)
    by jondee on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 03:15:22 PM EST
    by people who never envisioned neo-liberal globalization economics and 700 U.S military bases scattered across the planet..

    Too many people want the cake of so-called "free trade" and American hegemony, while at the same time enjoying some sort of civil liberties utopia here at home..

    It's all based in delusional, bourgeois, "you can have it all" thinking..    



    The 2A crowd does care about the 4th. (1.33 / 3) (#10)
    by redwolf on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 01:02:33 PM EST
    We simply don't get any traction it.  People support gun rights because they don't like feeling unsafe while surrounded by criminals. People support ignoring the 4th amendment because they believe it helps the cops catch criminals.  If the progressive had actually delivered on creating a very low crime society like Japan I'm pretty sure the public would have given up their gun rights altogether.

    You all like to think it was the NRA who brought back gun rights.  It wasn't.  It was the lefts absolute disregard for Americans safety from criminals that brought it back. The NRA just provided the political push that the public already wanted.  


    Scott (none / 0) (#32)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 03:25:23 PM EST
    You voted for Obama twice because he was going to fix the wrongs of Bush.

    Now we find that not only did he not fix them.... he expanded them!

    So. Why. Are. You. Bringing. Bush. Up??


    Yeah Jim... (5.00 / 4) (#78)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 08:38:00 AM EST
    ...as if any cares what you believe.  But it's what I love about you, you will argue even when I take the same side as most conservatives.  

    Sorry to have ruffled you delicate senses by pointing out who championed to give the president all these  powers and is now having buyers remorse and blaming us for it.  The left never wanted this garbage to begin with.  You are the one who still champions all this garbage for the sake of safety.  Give me air travel, cell and internet use pre-9/11 and I will take my chances.  You're the clown scared to leave your home and see a brown man and calling for tighter security even though you don't fly, live anywhere near a terrorist target, and trying blame me because the government stepped over you line that magically appeared the day Bush left town.

    They stepped over mine over a decade ago.

    Obama has cleaned up a lot of the Bush mess, like every person's 401k and house value exceed to at least learning their pre-Bush F up levels.  That is pretty big deal, sorry gazs ain't free, but the economy is doing a lot better under Obama.  He's winding down the wars Bush started.  He's been decent except int he area, the problem is this is a fricken big deal.  If only the republicans could have cared when Bush was in office, Obama wouldn't have these powers.

    He has not voluntarily given up the power the republican's bestowed upon Bush, the horror...  Maybe in the future you won't be so eager to hand out this kind of madness because you are scared of your own GD shadow.


    How ironic (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Slado on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 01:37:36 PM EST
    That was then, this is now. {snark} (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by Angel on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 02:03:49 PM EST
    There is (5.00 / 4) (#83)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 11:10:14 AM EST
    "Campaign Obama" who does all kinds of stuff like says he's for civil liberties and then there is "President Obama" who promptly forgets what "Campaign Obama" said once elected.

    So no, this does not surprise me one bit.


    Ironic is not the Term I Would Use (4.50 / 2) (#80)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 09:25:31 AM EST
    Pathetic, criminal, outrageous, just a couple that come to mind.

    CONSCIOUS vs. SUBCONSCIOUS, vol. 25 (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Dadler on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 02:17:03 PM EST
    On satirical topic. (link)

    on a serious note, oy, there is just NOTHING good about normalizing, regularizing, ho-humizing the Total Surveillance State.

    No Phucking Thing.

    NYTimes: [Obama] "has lost all credibility (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 07:03:41 PM EST
    He (5.00 / 5) (#60)
    by lentinel on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 07:29:19 PM EST
    managed to lose credibility on this issue that he never had in the first place. Quite a feat.

    I am confused as to why anyone (5.00 / 2) (#77)
    by MO Blue on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 08:29:41 AM EST
    would believe he had any credibility to lose on this issue after he lied when said he would not only vote against the upcoming FISA bill, but that he would filibuster it.

    WSWS on Obama's surveillance state (5.00 / 2) (#71)
    by Andreas on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 01:15:35 AM EST
    The WSW writes:

    As with every attack on democratic rights, the administration is seeking to justify its dragnet of phone records as a necessary part of the "war on terror." The real target of these actions, however, is not "international terrorism," but the working class. These police state measures will be employed against social and political opposition to the American financial aristocracy's policies of austerity, poverty and war.

    Obama administration collecting phone records of tens of millions of Americans
    By Joseph Kishore, 7 June 2013

    So Where are Those Rallies ? (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 09:23:35 AM EST
    You missed my larger point, most of the 2A people don't give a rat's A about the Constitution, they use the 2A because it's all they got, there is literally no other reason for the correct madness they are propagating.

    But start talking about the 4A and they don't even know what it is.  Just like the Leviticus devotees, they know it's an abomination to be gay 'cause the bible says so, yet they don't know the 10 specific commandments from god found in the same book.

    Neither instance cares about the document they are hiding behind.

    That being said, you have been very consistent in regards to defending the Constitution. Not sure about the labels, they mean different things to different people, but I do know if the government pulled something this egregious against the 2A there would be a full blown revolt and while I might not participate, I would not fault them.

    Glenn Greenwald (5.00 / 2) (#85)
    by jbindc on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 11:41:10 AM EST
    It's Odd that He Acknowledged... (none / 0) (#95)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 02:59:47 PM EST
    ...the leak is "a reader of mine" knowing the government can easily cross reference people visiting his site to people who had access to that information.

    What potentially could the government do (none / 0) (#2)
    by vicndabx on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 11:49:42 AM EST
    with this information other than its intended use?  What risk is worse than that we are already exposed to from the actual companies whose networks the data flows through?  Verizon requires me to pay them an extra $10 a month to opt out of publishing my phone number.  How many people actually know that?

    I'm trying to get my knickers in a wad about this, but am finding it hard to find a reason to do so.

    let's say a great person rises in power... (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by Dadler on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 12:00:47 PM EST
    ...outside of politics, imagine if Occupy actually had a charismatic kind of leader, the government can just, wing ding dang, go search through all their communiques and get smear material. Then kind of filter than down to normal people in a state that is evolving new means of control and power every passing technological day. The idea that we accept with a shrug and a whatever the government having access to everyone's records all the time, uh, not in my book of good ideas.

    Which shows how "normal" all of this (5.00 / 6) (#4)
    by Anne on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 12:06:33 PM EST
    has become - I mean, we're all used to being targeted with ads based on the websites we visit, we get coupons based on the items we purchase, Amazon sends me e-mails about things on sale based on something I bought a couple months ago...the government's just one more entity collecting information on us.

    Reading some of the comments at Think Progress, I was appalled to see one along the lines of, "well, I'm not doing anything wrong, so it's okay."

    Honestly, if you can't think of any ways in which the government could misuse the information, I don't think you're trying too hard.


    If you really want to get paranoid (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by Slado on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 12:26:38 PM EST
    watch the Frontline Special: "Top Secret America".

    The amount of bureaucracy created by the Patriot Act and enlarged under Bush/Obama is scary.


    ..the usual wartime paranoia (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by jondee on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 12:43:40 PM EST
    and secrecy joined to cutting edge technology..

    Norbert Weiner said 60+ years ago that miltarism was the death knell of freedom and the worldwide free flow of information.

    Which goes a ways towards explaining why the people who think science comes from "the pit of Hell" tend to be the same people who unquestioningly idealize and romanticize wars and the military.


    Indeed. (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Zorba on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 01:50:53 PM EST
    Reading some of the comments at Think Progress, I was appalled to see one along the lines of, "well, I'm not doing anything wrong, so it's okay."

    I have heard that rationalization from some of my friends.  And my answer is always to quote Benjamin Franklin:

    Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither.

    Privacy?  Privacy?  Why, what's that, any more?  What does the Bill of Rights mean any more?  Have we become a nation of such cowards that we accept the ever-expanding erosion of our rights under The Constitution of the United States of America?  Our Founding Fathers must be rolling over in their graves.  (Well, except perhaps John Adams, who in more than a few ways I do admire, but who as President signed the Alien and Sedition Acts.)


    Slight correction (none / 0) (#18)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 02:17:02 PM EST
    His quote was:

    They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

    Whenever I hear that (5.00 / 4) (#21)
    by KeysDan on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 02:18:03 PM EST
    type of comment  on electronic invasiveness ("well, I'm not doing anything wrong, so it's okay") I wonder what the reaction would be if the government (e.g. an FBI/CIA agent) decided to move into  their kitchen and just hang around observing and listening.   If not doing anything wrong, guess it would  be okay.   After all, they have nothing to hide.

    This is hardly the same thing (none / 0) (#26)
    by vicndabx on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 03:03:32 PM EST
    and a bit of a misrepresentation of what actually occurred.

    This is hardly what I was getting at; (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by KeysDan on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 03:37:00 PM EST
    and a bit of a misrepresentation of my overarching point on cavalier and naive comments about civil liberties.

    Normal, it should be (2.33 / 3) (#27)
    by vicndabx on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 03:07:18 PM EST
    We live in a different world now.  Technology is such that if we are going to prevent nut-jobs from harming us non-nut-jobs, how else is the gov't going to zero-in on those they need to?  What are people so worried about w/r/t to the government knowing who you called?  It just seems like left-over paranoia from a bygone era.  Either that or too many movies.

    What you're worried about sounds scary, but if what you're worried about actually comes to pass, we'd have much bigger fish to fry - 2nd Amendment indeed.

    What troubles me is people lament the loss of life but then have issues w/how we preserve life.  Either that or they have some misperception about how intelligence is actually gathered.

    "We just had a serious situation that occurred in Massachusetts and people were saying why didn't we get more , well this is part of the system that we use because of the volume that we have to deal with to find people who want to attack us and kill us," Ruppersberger said.

    "Now we have to deal with the perception issue because the media constantly saying the NSA is listening to you and that's not true at all," Ruppersberger added.



    Maybe you should just volunteer to be (5.00 / 5) (#30)
    by Anne on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 03:24:06 PM EST
    chipped now, so your government won't have to work so hard to know where you are and who you're talking to, what you're doing online, what books you're reading and TV shows you're watching.

    No one's disputing that the information is available, but that doesn't mean you should have no say as to who gets to be privy to it, or not have the opportunity to know why the government wants it or that the government shouldn't have to prove probable cause to access it.

    Today, they're saying it's all about keeping us safe and preventing terrorism, but they are setting precedents - what reasons will they have tomorrow for why they need more?

    But I guess it's all good because, well, the government never makes mistakes - there's not a chance in hell that an ordinary person could get snared in a government trap and find themselves hustled away with no access to a lawyer or a court - because this is America, and we have rights.

    Just surrender now.  Go get the chip.


    Anne, so funny. (none / 0) (#38)
    by vicndabx on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 04:26:34 PM EST
    The chip is against my religion - mark of the beast. :)

    Besides, private industry already has all this info on me w/o planting a thing.  My cablebox - chips, my IP address and the MAC address of the network interface card in my PC, flows thru DNS servers and routers, my bank card transactions - out there in ACH Clearinghouse databases.  The horse is out of the barn and halfway across the town.  It's waaaay too late to be worrying about electronic surveillance now.  If anything the gov't is playing catch up.

    Who are these Americans that get hustled away w/no access to a lawyer or court?  Show me a citizen that's allied w/America that's been indefinitely detained.

    Beyond that, when has that ever happened?  Get a grip.  The reality is your fears are totally unfounded and fueled by irrational fears of bogeymen that have yet to show themselves.

    These are the very reasons we have gov't.  To do the thing that is in the best interest of all of us.  If we are not going to trust the people we entrust w/authority, why have gov't?  As long as there is oversight.....


    Speaking for myself only, ... (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 05:31:47 PM EST
    ... and this is entirely anecdotal, but when I was still working full-time for the state legislature, I found myself placed on an FBI watch list in July 2003, just because I ran afoul of someone who so happened to have friends in high places with John Ashcroft's Justice Dept. (He was a state legislator, since voted out of office.) It had nothing to do with national security, and everything to do with petty political retaliation. He dicked with me, simply because he could.

    It made it very difficult for me to travel, and when my passport expired I couldn't get it renewed, so I couldn't leave the country. Even with my own connections to the late Sen. Daniel Inouye, it took his office the better part of three years to finally convince DOJ officials that I posed no threat to national security.

    That's the type of potential abuse that Anne and others are talking about. Yeah, I could say that I trust Barack Obama and his administration to make the correct assessment, one helluva lot more than I ever did George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. But that's not the point. Rather, it's the precedent Obama is setting for future presidents with his approval of data mining.

    Our personal information and data belong to us, and no one else. It should not be subject to unwarranted scrutiny from government officials based upon either hunch, whim or common curiosity, and it shouldn't be sold and / or traded by corporate third parties as a marketable commodity without our knowledge and permission.



    My husband (none / 0) (#52)
    by christinep on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 05:56:27 PM EST
    was informed later in the 1970s that he had been on an earlier redacted so-called hit list created during the Nixon administration.  My husband & I were active in the anti-war movement of the late 60s & early 70s; and, that extended into active Watergate era politics.  He was officially informed of this by our Cong. Pat Schroeder, who was our Congresswoman & active acquaintance.  (The Congresswoman had astutely pushed for release of names & files rumored to be kept as to a number of individuals.)  I'd like to say that it was simply an early learning experience...and, indeed, it was.  But, whooa, the chill it left for some time.

    As to trust in government: I tend to believe that a democracy can only be sustained by some core trust.  Trust, however, is not unconditional ... as witness our profound "checks & balances" system.  Of course, an executive (including the President) will use the limits of his/her authority from time to time.  It would be naive, and setting oneself up for a fall, to think otherwise.  In that vein--and I chuckle at myself saying this--"Trust but verify."  <For whatever reason, ol' Reagan got that statement right.>

    I don't know where this all takes us.  For one thing, I've seen different reports today about "citizens" being potentially exposed OR "corporate" (our new "citizens" per Citizens United) being monitored in terms of numbers placed, etc.  Should there be a distinction?  And, if so, would the reason have something to do with potential illegal $$$ or other telltale transactions?  

    What standard would make sense?


    Now, isn't that the whole idea? (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by NYShooter on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 05:41:41 PM EST
    "Who are these Americans that get hustled away w/no access to a lawyer or court? Show me a citizen that's allied w/America that's been indefinitely detained."

    Since the law allows the government to detain, indefinitely, and, without council or contact with the outside world, or even required to confirm they have said subject in custody.......

    Your question sounds pretty naive, wouldn't you say? But, then our government, just for kicks,  is in the habit of passing laws without any intention of ever implementing them, I guess.


    Sooner or later (none / 0) (#43)
    by christinep on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 05:04:32 PM EST
    It would be good to have a real discussion on the questions raised by your first paragraph, vicndabx.  

    For me, I've long repeated the statement by Benjamin Franklin cautioning about ceding freedom for safety.  Then, as technology unleashed a vast new set of attack methods with the advent of each year in this century, I found myself coming back to the elemental philosophical--yet, very real--question about the price of security/safety AND the price of freedom.  Obviously, it shouldn't have to be "either-or."  But, it shouldn't be the whiplash effect where a terror attack sets off our internal alarm bells and we're often willing to say "Here...Mr. Government, take this private possession or come ona my house without asking"; nor should it be that, after we forget how we felt/what we thought at the time of (say) the Boston Marathon incident & as time moves, we disavow most methods aimed at protecting the citizenry while protecting as much privacy as possible.  

    Where is the balance...or something that represents an acceptable public adjudication of a balance?  What is the balance in 2013?  (If we don't allow a both-sides-now communication today, how will we ever find the balance in 2020, for example?)  How do we get to that balance...in a step by step way?


    vicndabx (none / 0) (#29)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 03:22:28 PM EST
    I will ask you what I asked Farmboy.

    Did you take the same position when Bush was Prez???

    Somehow, I don't think you did.


    You'd be wrong. (none / 0) (#31)
    by vicndabx on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 03:24:26 PM EST
    Wrong? (none / 0) (#34)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 03:26:31 PM EST
    In what respect????

    You'd be wrong if you thought I had an issue (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by vicndabx on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 04:34:50 PM EST

    As long as there is oversight, I have no issues.  I love my country and the people in it and would prefer not to see the people in it blown to bits.  

    Bush had a crappy implementation because he didn't want oversight.  That and the torture were my only problems.  Do I believe that in his heart, Bush loved his country and wanted to protect it's citizens?  Yes.  Was he doing what he thought was best - yes, but I believe his assumptions and info were flawed.  Which led to bad decisions.

    That's not to say that I preferred Bush.  Simply, this issue for me is not about personalities or who the President is.


    Where is the oversight now? (5.00 / 4) (#49)
    by Anne on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 05:31:51 PM EST
    Secret courts issuing secret orders that no one can know anything about - how is that oversight?

    It's a pretty neat trick, really - futz around with the definitions the control what can and can't come before the FISA court, and - voila! - 4th Amendment neatly circumvented.

    Not unlike the DOJ classifying James Rosen as a possible criminal so they could avoid the protections afforded the media - even though they had no intention of charging him.

    It's pure abuse of power - and the oversight is a fiction.


    Did YOU take the same ... (none / 0) (#35)
    by Yman on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 03:31:53 PM EST
    ... position when Bush was President?

    For Obama and Co., (none / 0) (#54)
    by lentinel on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 06:29:39 PM EST
    the problem is not the snooping that they're doing, but that we found out about it.

    Curious (none / 0) (#55)
    by christinep on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 06:46:16 PM EST
    Would you do any surveillance on anyone as to prospective terror incidents?  What is the right balance...doing something or letting what happens happen?  What steps would you take?  For example, were the right steps taken in the immediate aftermath of Boston?

    I'm not just asking to be a smart***, but rather to focus on what would be right for freedom's and citizens' safety sake?  While there can be no mathematical answer, we do know that conflicts have changed in style since wars were fought a few generations back.  I'm not a militarist, nor am I a pacifist...but, I am interested in hearing you out about what the goals for everyone should be in this era & what might make sense in how to address it.  Thanks, lentinel.


    I would (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by lentinel on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 07:00:06 PM EST
    sum up my feelings about our government robbing us of our rights by repeating the well-known quotation from Benjamin Franklin:

    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    We, as a people, have allowed this to happen.
    We have elected, four times in a row, people committed to establishing what bears an uncanny resemblance to a dictatorship that is accountable to no one and governs by instilling fear.

    And we will have neither liberty nor safety.

    A question for you, Christineps: Does this snooping make you feel safer? I don't. I would be pleased if it did, but it doesn't. Not one bit.


    Well... (5.00 / 2) (#63)
    by christinep on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 08:20:14 PM EST
    A bit better...because there are public portrayals of preventing attacks, such as one planned in Denver via air traffic and (apparently) intercepted by a pattern of phone call numbers.  

    As to whether I feel completely safe: No.  But, then, no one in any society ever has or is.  Nor would I want that type of "making the trains run on time."  But, I do expect that a nation such as ours would keep apprise of real threats posed by real antagonists with real "new age" weaponry...to do otherwise would be foolish.  

    It comes down to balance & trade-offs.  That is something that the citizenry, collectively, must weigh as the ages bring new challenges.

    To say what degree of government intervention is called for ... I'll engage, but I don't know the answer.  I only know that the answer isn't the same as it was 100 years ago.  Even in a closer day-to-day level, I try to review where I come down on things like bike-riding helmets, seat belts, other mega-safety requirements.  I support that (and lots of other areas where the government requires warnings, such as on cigarette packages.)  No libertarian here!  Yet, looking at things like Bloomberg's size restriction on soft drinks in NYC...seems more than over the top for any type of government intrusion.  Its all about different levels of trade offs with citizens & their government.  And, as to the case in point ... at this point, I do not have an obvious problem with obtaining meta-data of phone number transactions (& transaction time) and running it against known/suspected terrorist numbers.  If it goes further, my position would change.

    An issue, for sure.  Thanks for your views, lentinel.


    I mean (none / 0) (#58)
    by lentinel on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 07:01:44 PM EST

    The question is not whether the government (5.00 / 4) (#69)
    by shoephone on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 11:22:58 PM EST
    should be doing any surveillance on individuals (or groups) they suspect of terrorist planning. Of course that should be happening. The question is if blanket surveillance of all American citizens, whether through email, text, phone records, internet searches, phone GPS for travel habits, should be allowed. It's insidious, and, IMO, clearly unconstitutional for the government to be conducting blanket spying on everything we citizens do. But nobody -- nobody -- should be surprised that Obama has become a surveillance loving leader: he lied when he was still a senator running for president and said he would not only vote against the upcoming FISA bill, but that he would filibuster it. We all know how that turned out. That big charade gave him away.

    OMG! (none / 0) (#61)
    by lentinel on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 07:36:18 PM EST
    There is a very funny scary photoshopped representation on the front page of Huffpo entitled, "George W. Obama".

    Whoever did it managed to melt the faces and characteristics of both of those guys into one likeness:  An amorphous Big Brother that controls our lives.

    I don't know how long it will on their front page, but it is worth a look.

    Beyond scary. In more ways than one. (5.00 / 2) (#62)
    by Angel on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 07:50:46 PM EST
    That's a d@mn good p-shop job. (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by nycstray on Thu Jun 06, 2013 at 08:56:06 PM EST
    Jobs numbers (none / 0) (#73)
    by jbindc on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 07:45:45 AM EST
    Well (none / 0) (#74)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 07:47:38 AM EST
    at least this is some good news.

    Unemployment rising isn't good news. (none / 0) (#75)
    by Anne on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 07:54:04 AM EST
    Either I read something wrong, or you didn't see what came after the number of jobs added.

    Apparently (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 11:06:12 AM EST
    the reason it rose is because more people are/were looking for employment. Remember the number dropped because people quit looking?

    I'm not saying it's the best news EVER but people getting jobs is a good thing.


    To put it in perspective (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by NYShooter on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 01:24:14 PM EST
    at 175,000 jobs/mo. it would take about five more years to get back to pre-crisis levels.

    To your point, it is growth, albeit at a snail's pace.


    You know what happened in May? (4.00 / 1) (#84)
    by jbindc on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 11:35:16 AM EST
    College graduations.  Those people are looking for jobs too.

    More from CNN (none / 0) (#76)
    by jbindc on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 08:09:45 AM EST
    The U.S. economy added 175,000 jobs in May, according to the Department of Labor. Hiring at that rate isn't terrible, but it is unexceptional at this point. It marks a slight improvement from April, when a revised 149,000 jobs were created, but still falls in line with average job growth over the last three years.

    The report was stronger than expected, and stock futures headed slightly higher in premarket trading, shortly after the report was released. Economists surveyed by CNNMoney had expected the report to show 158,000 jobs were added in May.

    Meanwhile, the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.6%.

    Businessesare citing concerns about the cost of health care reform rules, set to go into effect next year, as a major unknown keeping them on the edge.

    Honestly (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 11:08:46 AM EST
    that last statement shows why American business is in the dumps. If you are a business owner you took a risk in the first place. The business owners in this country have become a bunch of whiners afraid of their own shadow.

    A lot of them just need to suck it up and move on.


    Don't worry your pretty little heads (none / 0) (#86)
    by jbindc on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 01:12:47 PM EST
    "No one is listening to your calls."  --Barack Obama, June 7, 2013

    Spoken as he's fundraising in the South Bay . . . (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by nycstray on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 02:40:21 PM EST
    Well, gee (none / 0) (#94)
    by Zorba on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 02:56:21 PM EST
    This certainly makes me feel all warm and cozy.  Not.