Despite Congress killing an experimental Pentagon antiterrorism program five years ago meant to vacuum up electronic data about people in the U.S. to search for suspicious patterns, the National Security Agency (NSA) — once confined to foreign surveillance — has been building what the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports (may require registration) is essentially the same system.
An inquiry into the central role the NSA has occupied in domestic intelligence gathering reveals that its efforts have evolved to gathering more data about people’s communications, travel and finances in the U.S. than other domestic surveillance programs brought to light since 9/11.
While the Bush administration continues revving up scare tactics in efforts to pursuade Congress to provide retroactive immunity for telecoms and other companies, the highly secretive role of the NSA in analyzing the data collected through little-known arrangements that can blur the lines between domestic and foreign intelligence gathering has been for the most part missing in public discussions.
Current and former intelligence officials told the WSJ the NSA now monitors ‘huge volumes of records of domestic emails and internet searches as well as bank transfers, credit-card transactions, travel and telephone records.’ The NSA received this data from other agencies or private companies and sophisticated software programs analyze the various transactions for suspicious patterns. Leads spit out by this program are explored by counterterrorism programs across the U.S. government.
Other programs involved in the NSA’s data gathering include the Digital Collection System (formerly known as Carnivore), a U.S. arrangement with the world’s main international banking clearinghouse and an ad-hoc collection of ‘black programs’ whose existence is undisclosed. Many of the programs in various agencies began years before the 9/11 attacks occured, having since been given greater reach.
It’s not known how many different kinds of data are combined and analyzed in one database by the NSA but one intelligence official said the agency’s utilize about a dozen antiterror programs.
Several NSA employees have expressed concerns about the agency overstepping its authority by using domestic surveillance and the question of constitutionality of the privacy implications has never been resolved. Because it’s increasingly difficult to distinguish between domestic and international communications, the NSA says it needs to sweep up more information.
Secretive Executive Orders Expand Authority
After the 9/11 attacks, then NSA chief Gen. Michael Hayden said he used his authority in response to the attacks under a 1981 executive order. Another presidential order issued shortly after the attacks — the text of which is classified — by President Bush gave the NSA the go ahead to incorporate more domestic data in its searches according to one senior intelligence official.
Given past actions of this administration and wanton disregard for the law, one has to wonder which interpretation of the law was referred to — actual law, or laws interpreted by the ‘justice department’ — along with how many in Congress are involved/aware of these actions.
A spokeswoman for the NSA told the WSJ that laws and regulations designed to preserve Fourth Amendment rights are followed by the NSA. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence added a statement that intelligence agencies operate ‘within an extensive legal and policy framework’ and inform Congress of their activities ‘as required by law.’
A Gradually Widening Net
Two former officials told the WSJ that in partnership with the FBI, the systems can track all domestic and foreign transactions of people associated with a lead — and the people who associated with them, and so on, effectively casting a gradually widening net. If for instance, a suspect is in Detroit, the government’s spy systems may be directed to collect and analyze all electronic communications into and out of the city.
Information included would include records of phone calls, email headers and destinations, data on financial transactions and records of internet browsing, and information about other people, including those in the U.S. who communicated with people in Detroit would also be collected.
Administrative subpoenas issued by the FBI — which, according to the WSJ, don’t need a judge’s signature — have been used to collect and analyze data. If the data provided ‘reasonable suspicion’ that a person, whether foreign or from the U.S. was linked to terrorists, intelligence officers could eavesdrop under the NSA’s Terrorist Surveillance Program.
More information on Social-Network Analysis, other programs used and possible legal issues of the various programs and issues raised for debate can be found in the WSJ article (may require registration).
Questions about how the information is used and what is done with, especially with a presidential administration that revolves around acting dubiously and secretively, also need to be answered.
The damage inflicted on America and the rest of the world by the Bush administration, Some Congresspersons and Judges, oversight is mandatory. When ‘Classified Documents’ are kept to cover the truth and monstrosity of blatantly illegal, incompetent and stupid acts that have resulted in genocide — this administration has no qualms whatsoever of falsifying information to blackmail, frame and who knows what else — it’s definitely time for answers and accountability, not immunity.
Links to More Information
Links to and snippets of numerous items of interest can be found below:
FISA Fight: The driftnet exposed article from Daily Kos
The Long Road Ahead For The Civil Liberties Fight And FISA article from FireDogLake
How to watch and listen to Winter Soldier article from Iraq Veterans Against the War
Clinton’s Up-Is-Down World article from Consortium News:
“Throughout history, it’s been common for politicians to shade the truth when caught in a tight spot. But sometimes politicians push the limits, crossing the line into an Orwellian world where up is down, where bullies are victims, where people objecting to the lies are shouted down.
If that world seems familiar to Americans, it should. It is the world in which we’ve lived for the past seven or eight years under George W. Bush, as his clever operatives routinely turn truth inside out. Now, Hillary Clinton’s campaign is applying many of these same head-spinning tactics to win the Democratic presidential race.
As for Bush, remember how Iraq War critics were treated in 2002-03. Anyone who spoke up against the rush to invade – the likes of Al Gore, weapons inspector Scott Ritter and the Dixie Chicks – saw their loyalty, their motives and even their sanity questioned.”
9-11 Used As Propaganda video from EVTV
911 Response = Capture Oil Countries article from YouTube
No George Monbiot, These Are The Facts of September 11th 2001 article from Crimes of the State Blogspot
Top Ranking CIA Operatives Admit Al-qaeda Is a Complete Fabrication video from Polidics.com:
“BBC’s killer documentary called “The Power of Nightmares“. Top CIA officials openly admit, Al-qaeda is a total and complete fabrication, never having existed at any time. The Bush administration needed a reason that complied with the Laws so they could go after “the bad guy of their choice” namely laws that had been set in place to protect us from mobs and “criminal organizations” such as the Mafia. They paid Jamal al Fadl, hundreds of thousands of dollars to back the U.S. Government’s story of Al-qaeda, a “group” or criminal organization they could “legally” go after. This video documentary is off the hook…”
Guantanamo Torture Jet linked to HOMELAND SECURITY video from YouTube
911 Truckload of Explosives video from LiveLeak.com
It’s your call, Hillary article from The Los Angeles Times:
“It’s 3 a.m., the phone is ringing and the crisis is you. So what’s your answer?
What? It’s 3 a.m.? Yes, I know that. Look, I’m sorry if I woke you up. But you said you were fine with 3 a.m. calls.
I’m calling because we have a serious crisis on our hands. And I thought of you immediately, because you’re right, you’re the only person who might be able to defuse the situation.
We’ve got a problem with John McCain, Hillary. Remember him? I know, you’ve been so busy lately trying to destroy Barack Obama that McCain probably slipped your mind. That’s why I had to call.
Hillary, listen: This country could be in serious danger if McCain becomes president. His national security policies are a recipe for endless conflagration, especially in the Middle East. Saying McCain’s a “hawk” is an understatement. McCain makes Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld look like cute little parakeets. No kidding. Remember “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran?” Ha ha.
No, no, you’re right, it wasn’t funny. And by the way, McCain says your Iraq strategy would constitute “surrender … waving the white flag.”
What’s that? You don’t want to see McCain become president either?
Then withdraw from the Democratic race right now, Hillary.
Whoa! Don’t get so irritated. It’s just that the longer you stay in, the more help you give McCain and the right.”
Talking Points Memo – Today’s Must Read – National Republican Campaign Committee Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK) may have stolen several hundreds of thousands of dollars
The Wisdom of Jay Rockefeller article from Daily Kos
Teen Says TSA Screener Opened Sterile Equipment, Put Life In Danger article from WFTV 9 News
Truth among the Propaganda article from The Libertarian Alliance Blog
They knew, but did nothing article from the Sydney Morning Herald:
“In this exclusive extract from his new book, Philip Shenon uncovers how the White House tried to hide the truth of its ineptitude leading up to the September 11 terrorist attacks.”
9/11 Widow Ellen Mariani and Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg video from YouTube
Carbomb exploded State Department – ABC Live on 9/11 video from YouTube
AP: Water makes US troops in Iraq sick article from Yahoo! News
GOP Congressman accuses Bushco of criminality UPDATED article from Daily Kos
If We Survive The Bush Administration, We Must Insure It Never Happens Again article from JustAnotherCoverUp
Court Order Sought in E-Mail Controversy article from The San Francisco Examiner:
“WASHINGTON (Map, News) – A private group told a federal court that the Bush administration made apparently false and misleading statements in court about the White House e-mail controversy.
The group asked the judge on Thursday to demand an explanation regarding alleged inconsistencies between testimony at a congressional hearing last week and what the White House told a federal court in January.
“This evidence demonstrates defendants’ blatant disregard for the truth and the processes of this court,” Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington told U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy in court papers.”
Lou Dobbs: New World Order Can Be Defeated article from Prison Planet:
“CNN host Lou Dobbs says that the New World Order can be defeated but only if “Americans awaken and soon,” as he attacked the Bush administration’s “shameless” destruction of U.S. sovereignty on a nationally syndicated radio show.
“What we have permitted in allowing the Bush administration to have effectively further reduced our sovereignty and respect for our laws and certainly regard for our borders and our ports – it’s been a shameless, shameless period in American history that we’re going to have to reverse,” Dobbs told the Alex Jones Show.”
NYT Whistleblower ‘victimized over Iran’ article from The Intelligence Daily:
It’s time for people who do the right thing and inform the public of the dubious war crimes committed by this presidential administration to quit being crucified.
“Journalist James Risen has been prosecuted because he has revealed the details of a CIA-Mossad joint plot against Iran’s nuclear program.
(Press TV) — Risen, The New York Times’ reporter for national security and intelligence affairs, included the details in his book State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration, which was published in 2006.”
2008 presidential charade promisses deepening of government criminality and expansion of war article from The Online Journal
PARTNERS IN CRIME: The Clintons, the Bushes, and BCCI article from Leveymg’s Journal at DemocraticUnderground.com
RFID Expert: Government Using Terrorism To Gain Greater Societal Control video from Google
“Dr. Katherine Albrecht, an expert on proposed Radio Frequency Identification technology for use in human beings, describes how fear of a terrorist threat will be utilized by a global ruling elite to obtain increased control of the populations of the world.”
Fox’s Oliver North Blames Times Square Bombing on Pelosi and House Democrats article and video from AlterNet:
This is one of those ‘consider the source’ type deals…FOX News and Oliver North…a very large compilation of doggie doo doo.
“North’s comments are a sad attempt to politicize a tragic bombing.”
John McCain’s role in the USS Forrestal fire that left 168 dead article and all kinds of videos and references from RumorMill News
Just what we need leading this country…someone worse than a Bush. SFA!
The Source of Real Courage article from OpEdNews
Desperate Clinton crosses ‘the Joe Lieberman threshold’ article from Daily Kos
An article explaining how Hillary is trying to get John McCain elected…she’s bad news people. If it’s not Obama, this country will be in bigger trouble.
Hillary’s Past article from Always On Watch Blogspot
An excellent reminder of Hillary’s qualifications and ineffectiveness as a Senator and first lady.
Hillary Clinton, Fratricidal Maniac article from The New Republic / CBS News
Who Really Controls America? – George Carlin video from Google
Zelikow ‘Made It Clear’ To 9/11 Commission That Richard Clarke ‘Should Not Be Believed’ article from Think Progress
U.S. Military trained 9/11 Hijackers? video from LiveLeak.com
Did Dick Cheney Lie About His 9/11 Whereabouts? video from Google
“Did Dick Cheney lie about his whereabouts on the morning of 9/11 to conceal his issuance of a ‘stand down’ order that allowed the 9/11 attacks to succeed?”
FBI Listening in on Mobile phone microphones video from LiveLeak.com
9/11 Firefighter WTC Quote there was Heavy Duty Explosion video from LiveLeak.com
Former CIA Agent Robert Steele on 9/11 video from YouTube
Guess Who’s Getting the Most Work Visas article from Business Week:
“Indian outsourcers top the list of companies bringing foreign workers to the U.S. on the H-1B program.
The controversy over visas for high-skilled workers from abroad looks like it’s about to get even hotter.
The program for what are known as H-1B visas was originally set up to allow companies in the U.S. to import the best and brightest in technology, engineering, and other fields when such workers are in short supply in America. But data just released by the federal government show that offshore outsourcing firms, particularly from India, dominate the list of companies awarded H-1B visas in 2007. Indian outsourcers accounted for nearly 80% of the visa petitions approved last year for the top 10 participants in the program. The new data are sure to fuel criticism of the visa program from detractors such as Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.). “These numbers should send a red flag to every lawmaker that the H-1B visa program is not working as it was intended,” said Grassley in an e-mail.”
No More Swiftboating: Exposing the Right-Wing Slime Machine and its Media Enablers article from The Seminal
Five Years Of Illegal War Has Wrought So Much article from Information Paradox Blogspot:
“Five years ago we were told that the weapons were there, the evidence was good and this “Had to be done”. Our president had much support both at home and abroad, thus forming a “Coalition Of The Willing”. When the Iraqi invasion began we had just been fairly successful in the Afghanistan offensive and though the main objective of finding Osama Bin Laden had not yet been accomplished, it did seem inevitable. We marched into Iraq and Saddam’s regime fell, statues of the leader were toppled, the imperial guard was crushed and our president stood aboard an aircraft carrier in front of a “Mission Accomplished” banner.
What utter and complete arrogance. We were lied to. Our trust was abused. Our president deceived the American people for personal gain. Whether it was a financial motive or personal vendetta, he pushed us into conflict under false pretenses, fabricated evidence and willful deception.”
Michael Ruppert confronts CIA director about Drug Laundering video from YouTube (2006):
“Michael Ruppert (a former police officer) from FromTheWilderness.com confronts Bill Clinton’s CIA Director John Deutch about the CIA’s involvement in cocaine smuggling. He goes further in this documentary in detail about how exactly drug money is laundered into Wall Street. He concludes that 9/11 was orchestrated as a pretense to further Wall Street’s cause of laundering opium money from Afghanistan and America’s conquest in securing the world’s natural resources in the face of PEAK OIL.”
Able Danger video from YouTube (2007):
A video about State Sponsored False Flag Terrorism.
“Webster Tarpley on the CIA Able Danger program.”
9/11 Conspiracy: FBI Whistleblower gagged by Justice Dept.!! video from YouTube (2007):
“That FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds accuses the agency of intentionally fudging specific pre-9/11 warnings and harboring a foreign espionage ring in its translation department, and claims she witnessed evidence of the semi-official infrastructure of money-laundering and narcotics trade behind the attacks, is of no account, since John Ashcroft has gagged her with the rare invocation of “State Secrets Privilege,” and retroactively classified her public testimony. For the sake of national security, let us speak no more of her.”
Gary Webb on C.I.A. Trafficking of Cocaine video from YouTube (2007):
“Gary Webb is the San Jose Mercury News journalist that was run out of his job and blacklisted from the industry for daring to report what he found out.”
Collateral 38-A King, A Prince, A President. video from YouTube (2008):
“There has always been evidence connecting members of the Saudi government to 9/11 – members with close ties to the Bush administration. Now, a newly released document strengthens this case.”
American Troops going Insane video from YouTube (2008):
“This video is graphic.
Sometimes the truth is horrible.
The video contains disturbing scenes of American troops sadistically taunting Iraqi children, randomly throwing grenades at sheep herders and the infamous puppy toss with David Motari.
Juxtaposed against a hollow and hypocritical Presidential address this is mandatory watching for every American citizen.
George Bush is a war criminal and unfortunately so are some of his troops.
This is mandatory viewing.”
The unintended consequences of not voting for Ron Paul video from YouTube (2008):
Made by MTV.
National Dragnet Is a Click Away article from The Washington Post
Now, This Is News to Me article from The Campus Word:
“TCW assistant editor Ian Mitchell looks at useless news that supposedly deserves nationwide interest.
Televised news has ceased being an invaluable source of information or the counterpoint to our government and instead has become an entertainment corporation aimed at satisfying its viewers at the expense of content.
A good indicator of this comes from looking at their own websites and comparing their top headlines with those of international companies (like BBC or Al Jazeera) or most popular newspapers. I performed a quick perusal of CNN, MSNBC, and FOX, solely looking at articles that appeared on the front page without scrolling. This meant that anything I looked at was meant for all people (especially American) to see. My search yielded the following:
1. Up-to-the-minute updates on the Ohio Primary was the top issue, with the near-exclusive focus on the Democrats. MSNBC was the only news network not to focus on political attacks by either candidate, while FOX focused on Hillary with the subtle headline, “Obama Under Fire.” The CNN article first seemed non-partisan with the headline “Clinton, Obama trade barbs as primaries loom,” but by clicking the article, the true, strongly worded headline appeared: Clinton hammers Obama on NAFTA before crucial primaries.”
National Guard to be pulled from border patrol article from KOB.com (News 4 in New Mexico)
Feds won’t tell the reason the National Guard is being pulled.
The Man Between War and Peace article from Esquire
The $2 Trillion Nightmare article from The New York Times
Am I a Torturer? article from Mother Jones
DHS Tests of Radiation Detectors Were Inconclusive, Report Says article from The Washington Post:
“Department of Homeland Security tests of new radiation detection machines last year did not show whether the costly devices performed well enough to be used as planned at ports and borders to protect the country against nuclear attacks or dirty bombs, according to a new report about the process.
The performance tests were organized by the department’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, which has been trying to deploy the machines along the borders and at ports in a $1.2 billion project, despite allegations from government auditors that the office misled Congress about their effectiveness and later conducted flawed tests to show they worked well.”
The Myth of McCain’s Impeccable National Security Credentials article from Walter C. Uhler.com:
“Now that John McCain is the presumptive Republican candidate for President, Americans should insist that the mainstream news media cease its fawning coverage of the so-called straight talking maverick and produce unbiased reporting on the inside-the-beltway elitist from “third generation Navy royalty,” whose “impeccable” national security credentials consist of little more than militarism and a willingness, indeed eagerness, to impose America’s “exceptional” values on the rest of the world.”
Bush officials: Congress irrelevant on Iraq article from The Army Times News
Creating and Entrapping Terrorists article from Bruce Schneier
Surveillance ad’s bogus claims article from FactBeat:
“Falsehood: In a new ad by the conservative group The Defense of Democracies claimed that on February 16 “the law that lets intelligence agencies intercept al Qaeda communications expires.”
Call Out the Instigator; There’s Something in the Air! article from The Existentialist Cowboy Blogspot
Better Buckle Up! – CheneyBush’s Final 10 Months article from The Smirking Chimp:
“By Bernard Weiner, The Crisis Papers
If anyone still harbors any illusions that the lame-duck CheneyBush Administration will taxi relatively harmlessly to its departure gate in January 2009, recent events suggest otherwise. It’s been made abundantly clear that in the next ten months, these guys are going to behave even more brutishly in amassing and misusing their power, and in screwing things up, than they’ve already done in the past seven-plus years.
In essence, the message emanating from the White House to the country can be summed up this way: “You want us? You come and get us. Otherwise, get out of our way! We’ve got a whole lot of unfinished business to complete.”
Stop the Spying! – Speak out against telecom immunity with your photos, videos, and phone calls from StopTheSpying.org
Bush May Fire CENTCOM Chief Adm. Fallon, Replace With Commander More ‘Pliable’ To War With iran article from Think Progress:
“Defense Secretary Robert Gates has called CENTCOM commander Adm. William Fallon “one of the best strategic thinkers in uniform today.” Fallon opposed the “surge” in Iraq and has consistently battled the Bush administration to avoid a confrontation with Iran, calling officials’ war-mongering “not helpful.” Privately, he has vowed that an attack on Iran “will not happen on my watch.”