Kristen Breitweiser9/11 widow and activist
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Hey America — ‘Can You Hear Me Now?!’ Obama, Verizon, and Executive Power Run Amok
Posted: 06/06/2013 10:44 am
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Barack Obama , FISA, Barack Obama Verizon, NSA Wiretapping, Barack-Obama-Verizon, National Security, Nsa Verizon, Nsa Verizon Phone Records, Verizon Fisa, Politics News
 
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Today’s news relating to the Verizon data and records siege speaks volumes about this president and his absolute abuse of power.
 
And when coupled with Eric Holder’s abuses regarding the targeting of journalists and whistleblowers, Obama’s positioning of John Brennan at CIA and James Comey at FBI, along with Obama’s shift of drone warfare from CIA to DOD, which will now conveniently enable drones to operate within our borders, we all should be very, very scared. Because dissent, discussion, debate can no longer exist with this sort of omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent government.
 
In short, the deck is stacked against us.
 
Years ago, while in the midst of fighting the Bush administration for access to 9/11 documents that the 9/11 Commission needed to conduct its investigation, I met some old law school buddies for drinks. During our conversations, I railed against the Patriot Act and its inherent triggers against “our” privacy rights.
 
My friends — all up and coming partners at law firms — couldn’t quite understand what I was so riled up about. As far as they were concerned, they didn’t really care if anyone listened into their conversations or monitored their activities because they weren’t doing anything wrong. Shrugging their shoulders, they ordered more drinks.
 
Because of the battle that I was up against in Washington and my self-described status of “activist,” I felt quite differently. I wanted to know the definition of a “threat to national security” because I worried that with elastic logic I could potentially be deemed a “threat” to national security. Paranoid or not, I was concerned about the slippery slope.
 
But probably most importantly, after I watched my husband blow up in his office building while my government stood by and did nothing, I didn’t trust my government — not one bit.
 
Ten years later, I still don’t blindly trust my government. And now it seems, for even better reasons.
 
Because to me, it doesn’t matter what political party a president or his underlings profess to belong to. Every president (and all of his cabal) should be judged and held accountable for their actions — not their words, their empty promises, pathetic excuses, or their lame marshmallow legalistic rubber-band rationalizations. 
 
For years during the Bush administration, many groups fought against the Patriot Act and its illegal surveillance of U.S. citizens. They screamed about pre-emptive war based on lies. They questioned illegal “detainment” of “enemy combatants.” They were horrified by torture and extraordinary renditions. They fought for the sanctity and protection of whistleblowers. They spoke out against Cheney and Rumsfeld and their evil Executive Branch power-grab that threatened the very principles of democracy, our Constitution and our precious balance of powers.
 
And yet, where are these people now?
 
Where are their eyes, their ears, and their screaming voices?
 
Why aren’t their fists in the air and their passions emboldened?
 
Where is our collective conscience?
 
Because at this point, our Constitutional rights and privileges — our national security — are once again under attack.
 
We all need to pull ourselves out of our collective morass of self-absorption and myopic disconnect and start paying better attention — hell, ANY attention — to exactly what is going on in our country at large.
 
We need to start asking questions and demanding answers.
 
We need to rein in Obama’s power. And the power of the Executive Branch.
 
Because at this point, given the boundless parameters now put in place by our Nobel Peace Prize-winning-former-community-organizer-of-a-President, none of us can afford to be innocent, benign bystanders.
 
By Alex H at 2:21pm | Add comment
Obama’s war against the press   Edit

June 6, 2013
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/06/doj-guardian-leak-investigation_n_3395735.html?1370525438?utm_source=DailyBrief&utm_campaign=060613&utm_medium=email&utm_content=FeatureTitle

 
DOJ Will ‘Very Likely’ Investigate Guardian NSA Leak, Says Pete Williams; Official Disagrees
Posted: 06/06/2013 9:30 am EDT  |  Updated: 06/06/2013 10:03 am EDT
 
 
 
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NEW YORK –- The U.S. Department of Justice may try seeking out the source of a bombshell article that revealed National Security Agency surveillance of millions of Americans, according to NBC News Justice correspondent Pete Williams.
 
Glenn Greenwald reported in The Guardian Wednesday night that the NSA is indiscriminately collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers under a top-secret U.S. court order, a major scoop detailing the extent of domestic surveillance that comes amid increasing civil liberties concerns and controversial leak investigations involving the Associated Press and Fox News.
 
On Thursday’s “Morning Joe,” New York City Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson asked if Greenwald would be investigated and suggested the White House would face many questions about the Guardian story.
 
“They may not be prepared to answer that question,” Wolfson said. “But given what happened with Fox, given what happened with AP, that will be a very hot topic today.”
 
Williams, a well-sourced reporter who just interviewed Attorney General Eric Holder last night about the leak investigations, jumped in with an answer.
 
“I was told last night: definitely there will be a leak investigation,” he said.
 
However, a senior administration official told The Huffington Post Thursday morning that it’s premature to suggest an investigation is certain to take place.
 
“There’s been no referral yet from the intelligence community,” the official said.
 
On MSNBC’s “Daily Rundown” later Thursday morning, Williams slightly walked back his earlier comments from certainty to near certainty. “It seems highly likely this will trigger a leak investigation,” he told host Chuck Todd.
 
While no investigation is yet underway, Williams said, “It just seems very likely, given the sensitivity of this document, that there will be one.”
 
For the story, The Guardian obtained and published the top-secret court order granted by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that shows the U.S. government is collecting records of millions of U.S. Verizon customers, “regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.” While the government can obtain the records of calls taking place, the order does not allow the seizure of the contents of any conversations. It remains unclear whether the NSA is obtaining records from other phone companies.
 
“Under the Bush administration, officials in security agencies had disclosed to reporters the large-scale collection of call records data by the NSA,” Greenwald wrote, “but this is the first time significant and top-secret documents have revealed the continuation of the practice on a massive scale under President Obama.”
 
On Wednesday night, the American Civil Liberties Union described the NSA’s massive collecting of phone records as “beyond Orwellian.”
 
The Guardian article has already gotten significant pick-up in the media, with follow-up stories leading the websites of The New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal Thursday morning. More questions about domestic surveillance involving millions of Americans, and a potential leak investigation into the source of the story, can be expected to follow.
 
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Obama DOJ formally accuses journalist in leak case of committing crimes
Yet another serious escalation of the Obama administration’s attacks on press freedoms emerges
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Glenn Greenwald
guardian.co.uk, Monday 20 May 2013 08.16 EDT
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Fox News chief Washington correspondent James Rosen had his emails read by the Obama DOJ, which accused him of being a co-conspirator in a criminal leak case. Photo: screen grab
(updated below – Update II – Update III)
 
It is now well known that the Obama justice department has prosecuted more government leakers under the 1917 Espionage Act than all prior administrations combined – in fact, double the number of all such prior prosecutions. But as last week’s controversy over the DOJ’s pursuit of the phone records of AP reporters illustrated, this obsessive fixation in defense of secrecy also targets, and severely damages, journalists specifically and the newsgathering process in general.
 
New revelations emerged yesterday in the Washington Post that are perhaps the most extreme yet when it comes to the DOJ’s attacks on press freedoms. It involves the prosecution of State Department adviser Stephen Kim, a naturalized citizen from South Korea who was indicted in 2009 for allegedly telling Fox News’ chief Washington correspondent, James Rosen, that US intelligence believed North Korea would respond to additional UN sanctions with more nuclear tests – something Rosen then reported. Kim did not obtain unauthorized access to classified information, nor steal documents, nor sell secrets, nor pass them to an enemy of the US. Instead, the DOJ alleges that he merely communicated this innocuous information to a journalist – something done every day in Washington – and, for that, this arms expert and long-time government employee faces more than a decade in prison for “espionage”.
 
The focus of the Post’s report yesterday is that the DOJ’s surveillance of Rosen, the reporter, extended far beyond even what they did to AP reporters. The FBI tracked Rosen’s movements in and out of the State Department, traced the timing of his calls, and – most amazingly – obtained a search warrant to read two days worth of his emails, as well as all of his emails with Kim. In this case, said the Post, “investigators did more than obtain telephone records of a working journalist suspected of receiving the secret material.” It added that “court documents in the Kim case reveal how deeply investigators explored the private communications of a working journalist”.
 
But what makes this revelation particularly disturbing is that the DOJ, in order to get this search warrant, insisted that not only Kim, but also Rosen – the journalist – committed serious crimes. The DOJ specifically argued that by encouraging his source to disclose classified information – something investigative journalists do every day – Rosen himself broke the law. Describing an affidavit from FBI agent Reginald Reyes filed by the DOJ, the Post reports [emphasis added]:
 
“Reyes wrote that there was evidence Rosen had broken the law, ‘at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator’. That fact distinguishes his case from the probe of the AP, in which the news organization is not the likely target. Using italics for emphasis, Reyes explained how Rosen allegedly used a ‘covert communications plan’ and quoted from an e-mail exchange between Rosen and Kim that seems to describe a secret system for passing along information. . . . However, it remains an open question whether it’s ever illegal, given the First Amendment’s protection of press freedom, for a reporter to solicit information. No reporter, including Rosen, has been prosecuted for doing so.”
 
Under US law, it is not illegal to publish classified information. That fact, along with the First Amendment’s guarantee of press freedoms, is what has prevented the US government from ever prosecuting journalists for reporting on what the US government does in secret. This newfound theory of the Obama DOJ – that a journalist can be guilty of crimes for “soliciting” the disclosure of classified information – is a means for circumventing those safeguards and criminalizing the act of investigative journalism itself. These latest revelations show that this is not just a theory but one put into practice, as the Obama DOJ submitted court documents accusing a journalist of committing crimes by doing this.
 
That same “solicitation” theory, as the New York Times reported back in 2011, is the one the Obama DOJ has been using to justify its ongoing criminal investigation of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange: that because Assange solicited or encouraged Manning to leak classified information, the US government can “charge [Assange] as a conspirator in the leak, not just as a passive recipient of the documents who then published them.” When that theory was first disclosed, I wrote that it would enable the criminalization of investigative journalism generally:
 
“Very rarely do investigative journalists merely act as passive recipients of classified information; secret government programs aren’t typically reported because leaks just suddenly show up one day in the email box of a passive reporter. Journalists virtually always take affirmative steps to encourage its dissemination. They try to cajole leakers to turn over documents to verify their claims and consent to their publication. They call other sources to obtain confirmation and elaboration in the form of further leaks and documents. Jim Risen and Eric Lichtblau described how they granted anonymity to ‘nearly a dozen current and former officials’ to induce them to reveal information about Bush’s NSA eavesdropping program. Dana Priest contacted numerous ‘U.S. and foreign officials’ to reveal the details of the CIA’s ‘black site’ program. Both stories won Pulitzer Prizes and entailed numerous, active steps to cajole sources to reveal classified information for publication.
 
“In sum, investigative journalists routinely — really, by definition — do exactly that which the DOJ’s new theory would seek to prove WikiLeaks did. To indict someone as a criminal ‘conspirator’ in a leak on the ground that they took steps to encourage the disclosures would be to criminalize investigative journalism every bit as much as charging Assange with ‘espionage’ for publishing classified information.”
 
That’s what always made the establishment media’s silence (or even support) in the face of the criminal investigation of WikiLeaks so remarkable: it was so obvious from the start that the theories used there could easily be exploited to criminalize the acts of mainstream journalists. That’s why James Goodale, the New York Times’ general counsel during the paper’s historic press freedom fights with the Nixon administration, has been warning that “the biggest challenge to the press today is the threatened prosecution of WikiLeaks, and it’s absolutely frightening.”
 
Indeed, as Harvard Law Professor Yochai Benkler noted recently in the New Republic, when the judge presiding over Manning’s prosecution asked military lawyers if they would “have pressed the same charges if Manning had given the documents not to WikiLeaks but directly to the New York Times?”, the prosecutor answered simply: “Yes, ma’am”. It has long been clear that this WikiLeaks-as-criminals theory could and would be used to criminalize establishment media outlets which reported on that which the US government wanted concealed.
 
Now we know that the DOJ is doing exactly that: applying this theory to criminalize the acts of journalists who report on what the US government does in secret, even though there is no law that makes such reporting illegal and the First Amendment protects such conduct. Essentially accusing James Rosen of being an unindicted co-conspriator in these alleged crimes is a major escalation of the Obama DOJ’s already dangerous attacks on press freedom.
 
It is virtually impossible at this point to overstate the threat posed by the Obama DOJ to press freedoms. Back in 2006, Bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzales triggered a major controversy when he said that the New York Times could be prosecuted for having revealed the Top Secret information that the NSA was eavesdropping on the communications of Americans without warrants. That was at the same time that right-wing demagogues such Bill Bennett were calling for the prosecution of the NYT reporters who reported on the NSA program, as well as the Washington Post’s Dana Priest for having exposed the CIA black site network.
 
But despite those public threats, the Bush DOJ never went so far as to formally accuse journalists in court filings of committing crimes for reporting on classified information. Now the Obama DOJ has.
 
This week, the New Republic’s Molly Redden describes what I’ve heard many times over the past several years: national security reporters have had their ability to engage in journalism severely impeded by the Obama DOJ’s unprecedented attacks, and are operating in a climate of fear for both their sources and themselves. Redden quotes one of the nation’s best reporters, the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, this way:
 
It’s a huge impediment to reporting, and so chilling isn’t quite strong enough, it’s more like freezing the whole process into a standstill.”
 
Redden says that “the DOJ’s seizure of AP records will probably only exacerbate these problems.” That’s certainly true: as surveillance expert Julian Sanchez wrote in Mother Jones this week, there is ample evidence that the Obama DOJ’s seizure of the phone records of journalists extends far beyond the AP case. Recall, as well, that the New York Times’ Jim Risen is currently being pursued by the Obama DOJ, and conceivably faces prison if he refuses to reveal his source for a story he wrote about CIA incompetence in Iran. Said Risen:
 
I believe that the efforts to target me have continued under the Obama Administration, which has been aggressively investigating whistleblowers and reporters in a way that will have a chilling effect on the freedom of the press in the United States.”
 
If even the most protected journalists – those who work for the largest media outlets – are being targeted in this way, and are saying over and over that the Obama DOJ is preventing basic news gathering from taking place without fear, imagine the effect this all has on independent journalists who are much more vulnerable.
 
There is simply no defense for this behavior. Obama defenders such as Andrew Sullivan claim that this is all more complicated than media outrage suggests because of a necessary “trade-off” between press freedoms and security. So do Obama defenders believe that George Bush and Richard Nixon – who never prosecuted leakers like this or formally accused journalists of being criminals for reporting classified information – were excessively protective of press freedoms and insufficiently devoted to safeguarding secrecy? To ask that question is to mock it. Obama has gone so far beyond what every recent prior president has done in bolstering secrecy and criminalizing whistleblowing and leaks.
 
Goodale, the New York Times’ former general counsel, was interviewed by Democracy Now last week and said this:
 
 
AMY GOODMAN: “You say that President Obama is worse than President Nixon.
 
JAMES GOODALE: “Well, more precisely, I say that if in fact he goes ahead and prosecutes Julian Assange, he will pass Nixon. He’s close to Nixon now. The AP example is a good example of something that Obama has done but Nixon never did. So I have him presently in second place, behind Nixon and ahead of Bush II. And he’s moving up fast. . . .
 
“Obama has classified, I think, seven million — in one year, classified seven million documents. Everything is classified. So that would give the government the ability to control all its information on the theory that it’s classified. And if anybody asks for it and gets it, they’re complicit, and they’re going to go to jail. So that criminalizes the process, and it means that the dissemination of information, which is inevitable, out of the classified sources of that information will be stopped.
 
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: “What about the—
 
JAMES GOODALE: “It’s very dangerous. That’s why I’m — I get excited when I talk about it.”
 
That was before it was known that the Obama DOJ read James Rosen’s emails by formally labeling him in court an unindicted co-conspirator for the “crime” of reporting on classified information. This all just got a lot more dangerous.
 
UPDATE
 
Even journalists who are generally supportive of Obama – such as the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza – are reacting with fury over this latest revelation:
 
 
Lizza added:
 
 
The Daily Beast’s Eli Lake said this:
 
 
Any journalist who doesn’t erupt with serious outrage and protest over this ought never again use that title to describe themselves.
 
UPDATE II
 
Several other journalists have made some excellent points about the dangers presented by these actions, beginning with the Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty:
 
 
That, of course, is precisely the point of the unprecedented Obama war on whistleblowers and press freedoms: to ensure that the only information the public can get is information that the Obama administration wants it to have. That’s why Obama’s one-side games with secrecy – we’ll prolifically leak when it glorifies the president and severely punish all other kinds – is designed to construct the classic propaganda model. And it’s good to see journalists finally speaking out in genuine outrage and concern about all of this.
 
Meanwhile, to convey just how warped this all is: it really is true that this very behavior of trying to criminalize national security reporting was a driving force of the worst elements on the Right during the Bush years; back then, I wrote constantly about the dangers to press freedoms such threats, by themselves, posed. Please just watch this 4-minute segment from a 2006 Meet the Press episode where the Washington Post’s Dana Priest explains to Bill Bennett, who had called for her imprisonment, exactly what press freedoms and the law actually provide; Bill Bennett is who – and what – the Obama DOJ and its defenders are channeling today:
 
 
UPDATE III
 
 
Here’s an amazing and revealing fact: after Richard Nixon lost the right to exercise prior restraint over the New York Times’ publication of the Pentagon Papers, he was desperate to punish and prosecute the responsible NYT reporter, Neil Sheehan. Thus, recounted the NYT’s lawyer at the time, James Goodale, Nixon concocted a theory:
 
“Nixon convened a grand jury to indict the New York Times and its reporter, Neil Sheehan, for conspiracy to commit espionage . . . .The government’s ‘conspiracy’ theory centered around how Sheehan got the Pentagon Papers in the first place. While Daniel Ellsberg had his own copy stored in his apartment in Cambridge, the government believed Ellsberg had given part of the papers to anti-war activists. It apparently theorized further that the activists had talked to Sheehan about publication in the Times, all of which it believed amounted to a conspiracy to violate the Espionage Act.”
 
As Goodale notes, this is exactly “the same charge Obama’s Justice Department is investigating Assange under today,” and it’s now exactly the same theory used to formally brand Fox’s James Rosen as a criminal in court.

— On Thu, 6/6/13, The Huffington Post <dailybrief@huffingtonpost.com> wrote:

From: The Huffington Post <dailybrief@huffingtonpost.com>
Subject: Thursday’s Daily Brief: DOJ Will ‘Very Likely’ Investigate Guardian NSA Leak; Surprising Group Deals Major Blow To Austerity
To: orlgln@yahoo.com
Date: Thursday, June 6, 2013, 5:02 PM

    
Thursday, June 6, 2013
 
 
 
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Obama the Great Hypocrite   Edit

June 6, 2013
another reason never to use Verizon or At and T
 
 
The Obama administration has defended its gathering of phone records of millions of Verizon customers—right down to local call data—after The Guardian newspaper reported late last night that The National Security Agency (NSA) has been collecting them under a top-secret court order issued in April. The administration called it a “critical tool” against terrorism and underlined that the government is not listening in on anyone’s calls.
Under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) order, the Guardian reported, Verizon Business Services must provide the NSA “on an ongoing daily basis” with information from calls between the U.S. and overseas—as well as from calls made entirely inside the U.S. Calls made entirely overseas were not affected. It was unclear whether phones in other Verizon divisions—its regular cell phone operations, for instance—were similarly targeted.
Guardian writer Glenn Greenwald, a frequent and fierce critic of the national security state’s expansion since 9/11, writes in his bombshell report that:
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.
The order, issued April 25 and valid through July 19, requires Verizon to turn over the numbers of both parties, location data, call duration and other information—though not the contents of the calls.
The White House initially declined comment, but a senior administration official has now defended the activities described in the Guardian piece without confirming the specific report.
“On its face, the order reprinted in the article does not allow the government to listen in on anyone’s telephone calls,” the official, who requested anonymity, wrote in an email. “The information acquired does not include the content of any communications or the name of any subscriber.”
And “information of the sort described in the Guardian article has been a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats to the United States, as it allows counterterrorism 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 said.
Congress has been “regularly and fully briefed” on such practices, which occur under a “robust legal regime” and “strict controls and procedures … to ensure that they comply with the Constitution and laws of the United States and appropriately protect privacy and civil liberties,” the official added.
Judge Roger Vinson’s order relies on Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act. That part of the law, also known as the “business records provision,” permits FBI agents to seek a court order for “any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items)” it deems relevant to an investigation.
Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, has repeatedly sounded the alarm about the way the government interprets that provision—though he’s sharply limited in what he can say about classified information. Wyden and Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado, another committee member, wrote a scathing letter to Attorney General Eric Holder in September 2011 warning that Americans would be “stunned” if they learned what the government was doing.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) denounced the scope of the surveillance. “It’s analogous to the FBI stationing an agent outside every home in the country to track who goes in and who comes out,” said Jameel Jaffer, ACLU deputy legal director. The organization’s legislative counsel, Michelle Richardson, bluntly branded the surveillance “unconstitutional” and insisted that “the government should end it and disclose its full scope, and Congress should initiate a full investigation.”
And former Vice President Al Gore sharply condemned the government’s actions on Twitter:
 
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PostIn a free country the government fears the people, in a tyranny, the people fear the government – thomas jefferson�those who choose security over liberty, deserve neither – benjamin franklin.�These are two of our forefathers who know a lot more about freedom than any socalled leader of this country from the past 200 years
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In a free country the government fears the people, in a tyranny, the people fear the government – thomas jefferson those who choose security over liberty, deserve neither – benjamin franklin. These are two of our forefathers who know a lot more about freedom than any socalled leader of this country from the past 200 years
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Another reason never to use AT and T or Verizon- Obama is just as bad as Bush ever was- democracy is dead in this country
 
 
 
Administration defends collecting phone records
By JULIE PACE | Associated Press – 25 mins ago
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Associated Press/LM Otero, File – FILE – In this Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012, file photo, customers walk into a Verizon Wireless store in Dallas. The Obama administration on Thursday, June 6, 2013, defended the …more 
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration on Thursday defended the National Security Agency’s need to collect telephone records of U.S. citizens, calling such information “a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats.”
While defending the practice, a senior administration official did not confirm a newspaper report that the NSA has been collecting the telephone records of millions of U.S. customers of Verizon under a top secret court order.
The order was granted by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on April 25 and is good until July 19, Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported Wednesday. The order requires Verizon, one of the nation’s largest telecommunications companies, on an “ongoing, daily basis” to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the U.S. and between the U.S. and other countries.
The newspaper said the document, a copy of which it had obtained,shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of U.S. citizens were being collected indiscriminately and in bulk, regardless of whether they were suspected of any wrongdoing.
The Associated Press could not authenticate the order because documents from the court are classified.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said the Obama administration should disclose the facts.
“I think that they have an obligation to respond immediately,” said Wyden, a frequent critic of government violations of privacy.
The administration official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to publicly discuss classified matters.
Verizon spokesman Ed McFadden said Wednesday the company had no comment. The NSA had no immediate comment.
Verizon Communications Inc. listed 121 million customers in its first-quarter earnings report this April — 98.9 million wireless customers, 11.7 million residential phone lines and about 10 million commercial lines. The court order didn’t specify which type of phone customers’ records were being tracked.
Under the terms of the order, the phone numbers of both parties on a call are handed over, as are location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls. The contents of the conversation itself are not covered, The Guardian said.
The administration official said, “On its face, the order reprinted in the article does not allow the government to listen in on anyone’s telephone calls.”
The broad, unlimited nature of the records being handed over to the NSA is unusual. FISA court orders typically direct the production of records pertaining to a specific named target suspected of being an agent of a terrorist group or foreign state, or a finite set of individually named targets. NSA warrantless wiretapping during the George W. Bush administration after the 9/11 attacks was very controversial.
The FISA court order, signed by Judge Roger Vinson, compelled Verizon to provide the NSA with electronic copies of “all call detail records or telephony metadata created by Verizon for communications between the United States and abroad” or “wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls,” The Guardian said.
The law on which the order explicitly relies is the “business records” provision of the USA Patriot Act.
___
AP Intelligence Writer Kimberly Dozier contributed to this report.
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Report: Gov’t scooping up Verizon phone records
 
FILE – In this Feb. 10, 2011 file photo, Chris Cioban, manager of the Verizon store in Beachwood, Ohio, holds up an Apple iPhone 4G. Britain’s Guardian newspaper says the National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of U.S. customers of Verizon under a secret court order. The newspaper said Wednesday, June 5, 2013 the order was issued in April and was good until July 19. The newspaper said the order requires Verizon on an “ongoing, daily basis” to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the U.S. and between the U.S. and other countries. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File)
White House defends collecting phone records
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House on Thursday defended the National Security Agency’s need to collect …
 
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0users liked this commentThumbs UpThumbs Down0users disliked this commentHA • a second agoRemove
In a free country the government fears the people, in a tyranny, the people fear the government – thomas jefferson those who choose security over liberty, deserve neither – benjamin franklin. These are two of our forefathers who know a lot more about freedom than any socalled leader of this country from the past 200 years
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0users liked this commentThumbs UpThumbs Down0users disliked this commentHA • a second agoRemove
Another reason never to use AT and T or Verizon- Obama is just as bad as Bush ever was- democracy is dead in this country
 
 
Obama administration defends phone record collection
By Mark Hosenball and Susan Heavey | Reuters – 47 mins ago
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Reuters/Reuters – An employee holds out an iPhone for a customer at a Verizon store in Boston, Massachusetts February 10, 2011. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
By Mark Hosenball and Susan Heavey
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration on Thursday acknowledged that it is collecting a massive amount of telephone records from at least one carrier, reopening the debate over privacy even as it defended the practice as necessary to protect Americans against attack.
The admission comes after the Guardian newspaper published a secret court order related to the records of millions of Verizon Communications customers on its website on Wednesday.
A senior administration official did not specifically confirm the report, but noted the published court order pertains only to data such as a telephone number or the length of a call, and not the subscribers’ identities or the content of the telephone calls.
The order requires the government to turn over so-called “metadata” such as a list of numbers that called other U.S. or international numbers as well as other transactional information on the time and location of calls.
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.
The revelation raises fresh concerns about President Barack Obama’s handling of privacy and free speech issues. His administration is already under fire for searching Associated Press journalists’ calling records and the emails of a Fox television reporter as part of its inquiries into leaked government information.
Verizon has declined to comment. It remains unclear clear whether the practice extends to other carriers.
AT&T Inc had no comment. Representatives for other major carriers, including Sprint Nextel Corp and T-Mobile, could not be immediately reached or had no immediate comment.
BOSTON BOMBING
The three-month court order, dated April 25 and published by the Guardian on Wednesday, directs Verizon’s Business Network Services Inc and Verizon Business Services units to hand over daily electronic data until July 19.
It was issued one week after U.S. law enforcement officials tracked down the two brothers suspected of carrying out the deadly Boston Marathon bombing. Investigators in that case had been looking into calls made from their phones and had been searching for one brother’s laptop.
The order expressly compels Verizon to turn over both international calling records and domestic records, and refers to mobile and landline numbers, according to the Guardian’s copy, which was labeled “top secret” and issued by the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
The four-page document does not lay out why the order was given or whether it was linked to any specific investigation.
Thursday’s admission highlights U.S. intelligence officials’ ongoing and controversial campaign of domestic surveillance launched under President George W. Bush’s administration in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attack.
The 2001 U.S. Patriot Act allows the FBI to seek an order to obtain “any tangible thing,” including business records, to gather intelligence.
The Obama administration official said that “all three branches of government are involved in reviewing and authorizing intelligence collection.”
Still, some lawmakers have expressed growing concern with broad intelligence gathering methods.
The order can be seen at: http://r.reuters.com/kap68t
(Reporting by Mark Hosenball, Susan Heavey and Alina Selyukh in Washington; Ben Berkowitz and Jim Finkel in Boston; and Sinead Carew in New York; Editing by Vicki Allen)
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PostThe real terrorists are the government folks, they do this to opposing political parties and to environmental rights groups and corporate whistleblowers, anyone who bribes the government with money gets the benefits of wiretapping of their enemies- slippery slope my friend, until people step up and take down this corrupt government.�French Revolution style.
410 comments
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0users liked this commentThumbs UpThumbs Down0users disliked this commentHA • a second agoRemove
The real terrorists are the government folks, they do this to opposing political parties and to environmental rights groups and corporate whistleblowers, anyone who bribes the government with money gets the benefits of wiretapping of their enemies- slippery slope my friend, until people step up and take down this corrupt government. French Revolution style
 
US govt secretly collecting data on millions of Verizon users: Report
 
1users liked this commentThumbs UpThumbs Down0users disliked this commentHA  •  44 secs ago Remove
I’m sure Monsanto and the Pharmaceutical industry gets these benefits too, just look at who Obama appoints to the regulatory agencies. He’s the greatest hypocrite in the history of this country. Maybe since Benedict Arnold.
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1users liked this commentThumbs UpThumbs Down1users disliked this commentHA  •  7 mins ago Remove
This is a tyrannical plutocracy not a democracy
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0users liked this commentThumbs UpThumbs Down0users disliked this commentHA  •  22 mins ago Remove
In a free country the government fears the people, in a tyranny, the people fear the government – thomas jefferson those who choose security over liberty, deserve neither – benjamin franklin. These are two of our forefathers who know a lot more about freedom than any socalled leader of this country from the past 200 years
Reply
 
0users liked this commentThumbs UpThumbs Down0users disliked this commentHA  •  23 mins ago Remove
Another reason never to use AT and T or Verizon- Obama is just as bad as Bush ever was- democracy is dead in this country
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By Alex H at 11:35am | Add comment
UFOS and Tsunami Bombs   Edit

January 5, 2013
 

 

 
30 December 2012 – 08H41  

From UFOs to ‘tsunami bomb’: N.Z. archive secrets revealed
In this file photo, released by manipula.co.nz, author Ray Waru inspects files at New Zealand's national archives, in Wellington, on December 7, 2012, following the release of his new book about rare historical gems buried in the archives, including a bizarre WWII plan to create a "tsunami bomb" and military X-Files
 detailing supposed UFO sightings.

In this file photo, released by manipula.co.nz, author Ray Waru inspects files at New Zealand’s national archives, in Wellington, on December 7, 2012, following the release of his new book about rare historical gems buried in the archives, including a bizarre WWII plan to create a “tsunami bomb” and military X-Files detailing supposed UFO sightings.
In this file photo, released by manipula.co.nz, author Ray Waru inspects files at New Zealand's national archives, in Wellington, on December 7, 2012, following the release of his new book about rare historical gems buried in the archives, including a bizarre WWII plan to create a "tsunami bomb" and military X-Files
 detailing supposed UFO sightings.

In this file photo, released by manipula.co.nz, author Ray Waru inspects files at New Zealand’s national archives, in Wellington, on December 7, 2012, following the release of his new book about rare historical gems buried in the archives, including a bizarre WWII plan to create a “tsunami bomb” and military X-Files detailing supposed UFO sightings.

AFP – A new book has revealed rare historical gems buried in New Zealand’s national archives, including a bizarre WWII plan to create a “tsunami bomb” and military files detailing supposed UFO sightings.

Author Ray Waru said he wrote “Secrets and Treasures” to highlight the material publicly available at Archives New Zealand in Wellington — where almost 100 kilometres (62 miles) of shelf space is crammed with historical artefacts.

“It was totally overwhelming at the beginning,” he told AFP.

“I knew I wanted to get in the important things, the Treaty of Waitangi (New Zealand’s founding document), the Declaration of Independence, the women’s suffrage petition, and a few other things.

“But once you start digging, one story leads onto another and I’d just follow my nose.”

The suffrage petition Waru refers to contains 36,000 signatures and was dramatically unfurled on the floor of the New Zealand parliament in 1893 by supporters of women’s right to vote.

Stretching for almost 300 metres (980 feet), the petition, currently undergoing restoration, proved successful and led New Zealand, then a British colony, to become the first country in the world to grant women the vote later that year.

Alongside notable historical documents, such as a letter written by explorer captain James Cook before his final voyage, are curiosities like “Project Seal”, a top-secret US-New Zealand attempt to create a doomsday device to rival the nuclear bomb.

The project was launched in June 1944 after a US naval officer noticed that blasting operations to clear coral reefs around Pacific islands sometimes produced a large wave, raising the possibility of creating a “tsunami bomb”.

Explosive tests carried out in waters north of Auckland led scientists to conclude that the weapon was feasible and a series of 10 massive blasts offshore could create a 10-metre (33-foot) tsunami capable of inundating a small coastal city.

“It was absolutely astonishing,” Waru said.

“First that anyone would come up with the idea of developing a weapon of mass destruction based on a tsunami… and also that New Zealand seems to have successfully developed it to the degree that it might have worked.

“I only came across it because they were still vetting the report, so there it was sitting on somebody’s desk (in the archives).”

Waru said the project was shelved in early 1945, despite the success of initial, small-scale tests.

“If you put it in a James Bond movie it would be viewed as fantasy but it was a real thing,” he said.

Among the other oddities in the archives are Defence Department records of hundreds of UFO sightings by members of the public, military personnel and commercial pilots, mostly involving moving lights in the sky.

Some of the accounts include drawings of flying saucers, descriptions of aliens wearing “pharaoh masks” and alleged examples of extra-terrestrial writing.

New Zealand’s most famous close encounter was when a television crew recorded strange lights off the South Island town of Kaikoura in 1978.

However, in a disappointment for ET spotters, the military concluded the lights could be explained by natural phenomena such as lights from boats being reflected off clouds or an unusual view of the planet Venus.

Waru said it was seemingly humdrum documents, like school magazines from the early 1900s extolling the virtues of the British Empire, that provided a window into the attitudes of the past.

“There’s masses of records and kilometres of important files but you realise pretty quickly that every piece of paper is related to an individual at some point in time,” he said.

“So it gives the modern researcher a peek into the private lives of individuals, which I found interesting — divorce files from Dunedin, letters a young soldier wrote home to their parents.”