NSA Spying: Worse Than You Think
by Stephen Lendman
It’s ugly. It’s lawless. It’s out-of-control. It”s worse than most people think. It’s not getting better. It’s getting worse.
Not according to Obama, saying:
“We don’t have a domestic spying program. What we do have is some mechanisms that can track a phone number or an email address that is connected to a terrorist attack…That information is useful.”
An unnamed NSA official told The New York Times it’s not spying on America. It just “overcollect(ing)” data. Doublespeak duplicity is official US policy.
So is doublethink. US officials know what’s going on. They lie. They speak with forked tongue. They claim otherwise. They do it with a straight face.
They practice doublethink. They don’t lie. They just speak in the least truthful manner. Coverup, denial and stonewalling reflect it.
In 1984, Orwell wrote:
“Any sound that Winston (Smith) made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up.”
“There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork.”
“It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to.”
“You had to live – did live, from habit that became instinct – in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.”
“For a quarter of a century, the rules were followed and the NSA stayed out of trouble, but following the September 11 attacks, the Bush administration decided to illegally bypass the court and began its program of warrantless wiretapping.”
“â€¦NSA that keeps track of phone calls, monitors communications, and analyzes people’s thoughts through data mining of Google searches and other online activity.”
Adrienne Kinne told Bamford she and her superiors didn’t get warrants for monitoring.
“It was incredibly uncomfortable to be listening to private personal conversations of Americans,” she said.
“And it’s almost like going through and stumbling and finding somebody’s diary and reading it.”
Obama expanded the worst of previous policies. Snowden revealed them. The cat’s out of the bag. Lies and coverup don’t wash. According to Snowden:
“Any analyst at any time can target anyone, any selector, anywhere.”
“(S)itting at my desk, (I) certainly had the authority to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant to a federal judge to even the president, if I had a personal e-mail (address).”
Post-9/11, NSA secretly gained access to virtually all electronic and telephonic communications. It monitors them entering, leaving, or transmitted through the country.
It does so lawlessly. Former Senator Frank Church’s warning went unheeded.
He said NSA’s “capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left, such (is) the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter.”
“There would be no place to hide. If this government ever became a tyranny, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back, because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.”
“I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.”
On August 6, the Electronic Frontier Foundation
(EFF) headlined “DEA and NSA Team up to Share Intelligence, Leading to Secret Use of Surveillance in Ordinary Investigations.”
According to Reuters
, so does IRS. Its “manual detailed DEA’s use of hidden intel evidence.”
“Details of a US Drug Enforcement Administration program that feeds tips to federal agents and then instructs them to alter the investigative trail were published in a manual used by agents of the Internal Revenue Service for two years,” said Reuters.
IRS officials get intelligence information from DEA’s Special Operations Division (SOD). It’s secret.
A 350-word entry in IRS’s manual instructs agents to omit any reference to DEA supplied information. Key is concealing affidavits, court proceedings, and/or investigative files.
The IRS is one of two dozen federal agencies working with DEA. Others include NSA, FBI and CIA.
DEA and NSA databases are independent of each other. They share information. Multiple levels of deception operate.
DEA conceals getting NSA intelligence. IRS, FBI, CIA and other federal agencies hide their source.
“Even worse,” said EFF, “the Justice Department closely guards” DEA obtained information. Reuters revealed a major surveillance state danger.
NSA shares intelligence with other federal agencies. It does so through DEA. Its SOD program shares it with law enforcement and other Washington agencies.
Doing so’s unconnected to terrorism or other national security concerns. Big Brother has lots of other Brothers watching.
They’re making a list. They’re checking it twice. They’re ‘gonna find out who’s naughty or nice.
They read your emails. They know web sites you visit. They know your medical and financial history.
They know the company you keep. They watch every move you make. They know what you do, where and when.
They know when you’re sleeping. They know when you’re awake. You better watch out. You better not pout. They know when you’re bad or good.
They know illegally. It doesn’t matter. They know anyway. They know secretly. They monitor everyone everywhere all the time. They lie. They claim otherwise.
Coverup and denial is official policy. It’s standard practice. It’s ongoing in virtually all federal agencies. They told to stonewall on SOD.
According to Reuters, it’s unmentioned in “investigative reports, affidavits, and discussions with prosecutors and courtroom testimony.”
Intelligence laundering is called “parallel construction.” It’s deceptive. It’s dishonest. It’s illegal. It persists anyway.
Insulating SOD from judges and prosecutors prevents federal courts from assessing surveillance policy constitutionality.
In 2012, Solicitor General Donald Verilli told Supreme Court justices that lawyers, journalists, human rights activists, and others in contact with NSA targets have no standing. They have no right to challenge the constitutionality of what’s ongoing.
The High Court agreed. It did so saying Washington must inform litigants when FISA Amendments Act (FAA) evidence is used against them.
Whether it happens and how often remains to be seen. In 2012, terrorism comprised 0.4% of federal criminal cases.
Drug cases account for 20%. They’re second only to immigration ones. Don’t expect FAA obtained evidence disclosed often. Likely seldom. Perhaps never.
“SOD bypasses the Constitution,” said EFF. Defendants charged on FISA evidence can’t examine what’s used against them. They can’t challenge it.
Doing so violates the Fifth Amendment. It states:
“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
It violates the Sixth America,” stating:
“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.”
Concealing evidence is unconstitutional. So is hiding its source. Doing so prevents defendants from challenging the legitimacy of government accusations.
It prevents judicial fairness. It smacks of police state justice. Courts, defendants, and counsel representing them have a constitutional right to full and accurate disclosure.
Fast, loose and lawless practices have no place in free societies. America never was one. For sure it’s not now. Rule of law principles don’t apply.
Secretly obtained evidence is one of many abuses. So is lawless spying. Sharing intelligence secretly with multiple federal agencies compounds things.
Doing so’s a fast track to tyranny. It’s already close to full-blown.
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