Today, it has sadly been revealed that domestic spying from the federal government is much more far-reaching than previously thought.
Details of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) X-Keyscore program have come to light, thanks to journalist Glenn Greenwald and whistleblower Edward Snowden, who posted a top secret internal presentation at the Guardian today.
Greenwald writes that X-Keyscore,
“allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals…”
The revelation should not come as a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention. Another bombshell is yet another revelation from Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., who declassified three top secret documents today which reveal that
“there have been ‘a number of technical compliance problems’ with the government’s phone-snooping program.”
Stephen Dinan and Shaun Waterman of the Washington Times reported that,
“Under the program, the government collects and stores the data for five years, but it cannot query the data unless it has specific reasons to suspect terrorism.”
It is entirely unclear that if “specific reasons” are needed to “query the data,” why those “reasons” cannot be used to justify a warrant to gain that information, as specifically mandated by the fourth amendment?
Interestingly, the article notes that “seed” terms are approved by “just 22 people,” but if the program only “culls data that’s merely ‘to-from – no names, no addresses,'” as asserted by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich. on Sunday while defending the program, how can one use terms – approved or not – to conduct searches?
It seems as though the federal government can dig into any private citizen’s personal information, at any time. Edward Snowden said,
“I, sitting at my desk, wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email”.
As far as contents of telephone calls, former FBI counterterrorism agent Tim Clemente made a startling and seemingly impromptu admission on CNN’s Out Front with Erin Burnett in the wake of the Boston Bombings, as reported by Greenwald of the Guardian.
While discussing whether or not Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s wife was aware of the planned attack on the Boston Marathon, Clemente casually announced that a phone conversation can be found between Tsarnaev and his wife,
“We certainly have ways in national security investigations to find out exactly what was said in that conversation,” he said.
After Burnett expressed surprise, Clemente continued,
“No, welcome to America. All of that stuff is being captured as we speak whether we know it or like it or not.”
If this ongoing vast overreach is not called out loudly by the American people, their rights will only continue to be eroded by both parties. It is time for this madness to stop.
Follow Renee Nal on Twitter @ReneeNal and check out her news and political commentary on Gather and TavernKeepers.com for news you won’t find in the mainstream media. Renee is also a guest blogger for the Shire Blog.