Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Stalker State

It looks like the Bush administration's crusade to transform the Nanny State into the Stalker State is even more far-gone than we'd originally thought. USA Today has a bit of a bombshell today:
The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.

The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans — most of whom aren't suspected of any crime. This program does not involve the NSA listening to or recording conversations. But the spy agency is using the data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity, sources said in separate interviews. ....

The NSA's domestic program, as described by sources, is far more expansive than what the White House has acknowledged. Last year, Bush said he had authorized the NSA to eavesdrop — without warrants — on international calls and international e-mails of people suspected of having links to terrorists when one party to the communication is in the USA. Warrants have also not been used in the NSA's efforts to create a national call database.

In defending the previously disclosed program, Bush insisted that the NSA was focused exclusively on international calls. "In other words," Bush explained, "one end of the communication must be outside the United States." As a result, domestic call records — those of calls that originate and terminate within U.S. borders — were believed to be private.

Sources, however, say that is not the case. With access to records of billions of domestic calls, the NSA has gained a secret window into the communications habits of millions of Americans.
Repeat after me: If you're not doing anything wrong, then what do you have to fear?

No, seriously, repeat it. Or else start packing for Gitmo.

Update: In related news, GWU Law Professor Jonathan Turley had a great appearance on Olbermann, discussing the many other ways this administration is shredding the Constitution. Crooks and Liars has the video.


Mr Furious said...

Yeah, just read the story from a link at KEvin Drum's. It seems Qwest is the only major company that told NSA to take a hike.

I have inquired with Woking Assets (my long distance carrier) and Comcast (my local cable phone and internet provider) as to their policy regarding cooperation with the NSA and supplying data on customer activity.

I find it difficult to believe WA would cooperate, they are probably too small to warrant mentioning in the story. And Comcast is not a traditional "wire" service provider.

I'll let you know if I hear anything...

Thrillhous said...

Just watched the video. That guy was on fire. I mean shrill.

Thrillhous said...

Yeah, you're probably right that WA is safe. They're funding that Greenwald book about the NSA spying thing.

I"ve got crapcast too, and I'm going to go crazy and guess that they squealed as soon as Uncle Sam knocked on the door. could I be biased?

Otto Man said...

If Working Assets is cooperating with the NSA in any way, they'd have to be an NSA front to begin with.

Hmmm. Suddenly that sounds like a Rovian masterstroke.

Mr Furious said...

If Working Assets is cooperating with the NSA in any way, they'd have to be an NSA front to begin with.

Oh Shit! Does that make Greenwald a double-agent?

Isaac Carmichael said...

I can't wait for the day when all the Martin Princes in this country line up to volunteer to get tracking devices implanted in their skulls...

Pooh said...

A quid pro quo to defeat net neutrality?

Honestly, spread that one, I think net neutrality is of vital importance because I don't think we can trust the telcos to not pick and choose the messages they want getting out.

Mr Furious said...

Working Assets responds to my email...

Dear Mr. [Furious],

Thank you for your email concerning your interest in the subject of warrantless monitoring of American citizens' communications by the National Security Agency.

Working Assets has taken the following position on this subject:

Working Assets believes that the warrantless monitoring of phone conversations ordered by the Bush administration is both illegal and alarming.

We will pursue this issue through our citizen action program, and by supporting organizations committed to preserving civil liberties in America.

Working Assets has never been approached by any government agency seeking our help in illegally accessing the content of conversations by our customers, and we would refuse any such request.

We have no information regarding the conduct of our underlying carrier or any major carrier in relation to the warrantless monitoring. Given the secretive nature of the program, we do not expect any such information to be forthcoming. We will remain actively engaged in opposing warrantless monitoring, pushing for full disclosure by the government regarding the scope of the monitoring, and protecting citizens from intrusive and illegal exercises of governmental power.

You may also be interested in a new book we are publishing, entitled How Would A Patriot Act?, which contains a cohesive analysis of how the NSA's wiretapping fits into a larger scheme by the Bush Administration to violate Constitutional restrictions on executive authority in an unprecedented manner. Here is a link to that book: [link]

I hope this letter addresses your query, and I thank you for your long time support of Working Assets.

Badass. They deserve all the new customers they can handle.

Otto Man said...

You've got to love a phone company that's plugging Glenn Greenwald's book. Sweet.