Saturday, December 24, 2005

One Hell Of A Friday News Dump

And a Christmas-Eve news dump at that (my emphasis):
Spy Agency Mined Vast Data Trove, Officials Report

Washington, Dec. 23 - The National Security Agency has traced and analyzed large volumes of telephone and Internet communications flowing into and out of the United States as part of the eavesdropping program that President Bush approved after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to hunt for evidence of terrorist activity, according to current and former government officials.

The volume of information harvested from telecommunication data and voice networks, without court-approved warrants, is much larger than the White House has acknowledged, the officials said. It was collected by tapping directly into some of the American telecommunication system's main arteries, they said.

As part of the program approved by President Bush for domestic surveillance without warrants, the N.S.A. has gained the cooperation of American telecommunications companies to obtain backdoor access to streams of domestic and international communications, the officials said.
One thing the Cheney administration has claimed is that it's spying externally, not on US citizens. Obviously, that's a bold-faced lie.
Is the Pentagon Spying on Americans?
MSNBC, December 13, 2005

A year ago, at a Quaker Meeting House in Lake Worth, Fla., a small group of activists met to plan a protest of military recruiting at local high schools. What they didn't know was that their meeting had come to the attention of the U.S. military.

A secret 400-page Defense Department document obtained by NBC News lists the Lake Worth meeting as a "threat" and one of more than 1,500 "suspicious incidents" across the country over a recent 10-month period.

The Defense Department document is the first inside look at how the U.S. military has stepped up intelligence collection inside this country since 9/11, which now includes the monitoring of peaceful anti-war and counter-military recruitment groups. ...

"It means that they're actually collecting information about who's at those protests, the descriptions of vehicles at those protests," says [NBC News military analyst Bill] Arkin. "On the domestic level, this is unprecedented," he says. "I think it's the beginning of enormous problems and enormous mischief for the military. ... [M]ilitary intelligence is back conducting investigations and maintaining records on civilian political activity."
Also:
Many Americans' privacy is at risk, some say
Boston Globe

The National Security Agency, in carrying out President Bush's order to intercept the international phone calls and e-mails of Americans suspected of links to al-Qaida, has probably been using computers to monitor all other Americans' international communications as well, according to specialists familiar with the workings of the NSA. ...

"They have a capacity to listen to every overseas phone call," said Tom Blanton, director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University ...
Other recent stories include the Pentagon spying on an anti-war demo in San Diego, a "Vegan Community Project" in Indianapolis and a PETA protest over llama fur.

Another report indicated Pentagon investigators labeled a gay kiss-in at the University of California - Santa Cruz a "credible threat" of terrorism.

But that widespread criminal activity isn't enough for these domestic terrorists:
Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday called for "strong and robust" presidential powers, saying executive authority was eroded during the Watergate and Vietnam eras. ... "I would argue that the actions that we've taken there are totally appropriate and consistent with the constitutional authority of the president. ... You know, it's not an accident that we haven't been hit in four years" ...
Sounds like a veiled threat. Gimme more power ... or else.

Extra bonus lie (again, my emphasis):
The Bush administration requested, and Congress rejected, war-making authority "in the United States" in negotiations over the joint resolution passed days after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, according to an opinion article by former Senate majority leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) in today's Washington Post.

Daschle's disclosure challenges a central legal argument offered by the White House in defense of the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. It suggests that Congress refused explicitly to grant authority that the Bush administration now asserts is implicit in the resolution.

The Justice Department acknowledged yesterday, in a letter to Congress, that the president's October 2001 eavesdropping order did not comply with "the 'procedures' of" the law that has regulated domestic espionage since 1978.

1 comment:

Lone Primate said...

What is going on in the United States? Am I crazy, or do I remember that when I was starting school, Richard Nixon had to resign in the face of likely impeachment and trial for simply having covered up a break-in? But by the time I'm verging on middle age, the POTUS can stand up on TV and boldly tell the world he's been given the power to deke around the US Constitution because (for, what, the first time in history?) there are bad people out there? Honest to God, if people don't stand up now, right now, I think that's it for democracy. It's just Red China in slow motion "spin" from here on in.