Patterico's Pontifications

6/6/2013

Report: NSA Secretly Collecting Phone Records of Millions of Citizens Suspected of No Wrongdoing Whatsoever

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:56 am

This sounds very responsible and not concerning at all: Obama’s NSA collected millions of phone records of people suspected of no wrongdoing:

The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.

The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an “ongoing, daily basis” to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.

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 secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisa) granted the order to the FBI on April 25, giving the government unlimited authority to obtain the data for a specified three-month period ending on July 19.

Under the terms of the blanket order, the numbers of both parties on a call are handed over, as is location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls. The contents of the conversation itself are not covered.

Many of you might know the Phil Hendrie show, where Hendrie interviews a guest (also secretly voiced by Hendrie) who espouses some ridiculous position or discusses some outrageous practice they supposedly engage in. Gullible listeners call in, enraged at the person — and the audience, being in the know, laughs at the suckers. As the hour goes on, the position or practice becomes more and more outrageous, until the end of the hour, when the absurdity grows and grows until it should be patently obvious it was all a joke.

Somehow it feels like this is all an hour of Phil Hendrie, who is manufacturing these scandals — each more outrageous than the last — as a test to see just how far Obama fans will go to defend their guy. By the end of the hour, we’ll be hearing that Obama conducted surveillance of all polling places in 2012, and secretly planned to have the military kill anyone who voted against him. David Plouffe will be along to talk about “overreach,” and Martin Bashir, responding to Republicans upset by Obama’s plan to have them murdered, will call them racists.

Allahpundit’s Twitter feed is a wonder this morning, and sums up my reactions better than I can. Here are a few choice ones:

83 Responses to “Report: NSA Secretly Collecting Phone Records of Millions of Citizens Suspected of No Wrongdoing Whatsoever”

  1. Can’t WAIT to read the defenses.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  2. No credit to the douchebag who got the story?

    steve (369bc6)

  3. Can’t WAIT to read the defenses.

    You’ll have to wait a little longer. No one in the government knew about this until this morning when they read it in the newspaper.

    Hadlowe (33cc56)

  4. It’s my fault. I switched to Verizon a while back and the government just needed to know what advice my sister in law gave me for when the baby was constipated. I’m sorry, everybody. I could switch back to AT&T but then the government would just drop Verizon and tap AT&T instead. BTW, WTF is Verizon doing voluntarily giving this s**t to the NSA?

    nk (875f57)

  5. I am curious that if it took a super secret court order to get Verizon on board, how many others agreed to roll over voluntarily?

    JD (b63a52)

  6. Partly take that last sentence back — maybe Verizon did not totally cave and is appealing although that’s not mentioned.

    nk (875f57)

  7. the pervert Roberts court really should’ve made clear they took this constitution thing seriously when they had the chance

    this pitiful little country is just a fascist food stamp fiefdom anymore

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  8. When you devolve into a banana republic all you have left is gallows humor. Speaking of which, exactly how dark comedy ludicrous is it that we need a foreign newspaper to bring this sort of thing to light? Our media has its collective head so far up Obama’s arse they’d need the jaws of life to extricate themselves. Orwell couldn’t have envisioned much less written a novel about our media; it would have been deemed too far fetched even for dystopian fiction.

    There’s also an important lesson here for erstwhile and putative conservatives, although sadly and quite ironically to a large extent it’ll be lost on them. Politics has real world consequences. It’s neither a coffee klatch nor a sewing circle. There’s a lot more involved than single issues and pet peeves. And it sure as hell matters for whom you vote. And for whom you don’t vote.

    William Scalia (89a442)

  9. And it’s the FBI, not the NSA. Sorry, again.

    nk (875f57)

  10. I guess if the order is sooper seekrit the appeal would be too?

    nk (875f57)

  11. I think Bobbi Dooley would be better and more sensible than the current occupant of the Oval Office.

    Mark (cda46a)

  12. Booosh did it too!

    Drink.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  13. Now we find out that our wonderful, modern constitutional right to privacy only applies to “women’s health”

    Amphipolis (e01538)

  14. Well, obviously, this is a complete outrage. Next thing you know, the government will require me to tell it: what I do for a living; exactly how much I make; where I live; what stocks I buy and sell, and for how much; what I pay in property taxes; and how much profit I make on my investments. If we just sit still like sheep, we’ll end up having to disclose our birthdates — and, God help us, even our Social Security numbers.

    – Patterico, 5/15/2006 , sarcastically responding to pretty much the same story (except it was being done by the Bush Administration)

    Kman (5576bf)

  15. How Verizon handles this with their employees, customers, shareholders and the public opinion will be quite interesting. Yet, it does not seem logical that only Verizon and Verizon customers were targeted, does it? I’ll tell you this–Ma Bell (pre-divestiture) would never never never have allowed this to happen or gone along with it.

    elissa (e32d90)

  16. What’s even more galling about the whole thing is when a rabidly anti-American, pro-Sharia-law-spouting, terrorist-sympathizing person like Nidal Hasan — within the context of the US military, no less! — is clearly guilty of a politically related bloody rampage, the excuse mongering of evil-Youtube-video-producer is rolled out. Or “what difference does it make!” Not to mention the apparent bumbling, stumbling approach to the bombers in Boston.

    So, yea, spying on the phone calls of millions of people throughout America really will be helpful.

    I think we all need to shut off the liberal lunacy swirling throughout society by moving to and living behind the gated security of the Western Homeowners Estates.

    Mark (cda46a)

  17. I think we all need to shut off the liberal lunacy swirling throughout society by moving to and living behind the gated security of the Western Homeowners Estates.

    Stay off my lawn, and we’ll get along just fine.

    :-)

    My Sharia Moor (59f74c)

  18. Absolutely unacceptable and totally disturbing.

    Leviticus (b98400)

  19. Things have gotten a little out of whack.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  20. That’s what I say, Mark! When you ignore terrorists like the Boston Bros and Hasan, what justification can you have for tapping the whole population???

    Unless they’re looking for right wing groups. Noooo, they would never do that!

    I’m dropping Verizon and going back to Blackberry anyway. I hate that little green android man and being relentlessly tracked and annoyed by Google. Or maybe a contract phone. If the feds think we are criminals, might as well act like one.

    Patricia (be0117)

  21. I am contacting Verizon wireless for a statement Their online chat folks said they do not have an official statement, so I’m going to follow up on the phone line.

    OmegaPaladin (4ba63b)

  22. I read about this in the morning newspaper—just like Barry Obama !

    Elephant Stone (6a6f37)

  23. If anyone here is a Verizon shareholder it’d be interesting to call there and see what they say. The people manning shareholder lines of any company are usually higher end and better equipped/prepared for unexpected and tragic events than the regular “customer service” line operators.

    elissa (e32d90)

  24. When NSA says they’re trying to snoop on terrorists, they mean tea party patriots.

    Elephant Stone (6a6f37)

  25. Maybe Verizon will have access to the phone records of the White House so we can find out what happened with Benghazi as well as the I.ntimidate R.epublicans S.ervice.

    Nah, they’ll probably just reveal that Barry called Tiger to set up a golf date.

    Elephant Stone (6a6f37)

  26. Now hang on a minute, all they’re getting is the pen register, which the Supreme Court ruled a long time ago is not covered by the fourth amendment, because there’s no expectation of privacy. They’re not getting the contents of the calls.

    Milhouse (3d0df0)

  27. I wonder what Obama 2006-2008 had to say about this.

    JD (20406c)

  28. Milhouse, have a sense of humour, friend.

    Elephant Stone (6a6f37)

  29. I spoke with Customer Support, and here’s what they said:

    They have no idea where the Guardian is getting this from, and they did not have an official comment yet on the article.

    They are going to be posting a statement soon, but they have not specified an exact time for the release.

    OmegaPaladin (4ba63b)

  30. “Mr. President, can you hear me, now ?”

    Elephant Stone (6a6f37)

  31. You hang on a minute. Meta data stays meta only as long as the analysts with access are honest and are scrupulously following the law. Secret orders signed by judges under the threat that Verizon can not divulge even the existence of such orders feels a little nefarious, no? The IRS mess has made people quite a bit more likely to mistrust “the government’s” intent with respect to using data.

    President Obama, come clean. Tell the American people what you’ve been doing, tell us that you intend to keep doing it, tell us you deem it legal as an expansion under the Patriot Act, and tell us that all phone companies are currently equally under order. We, and our legislators will take it from there.

    elissa (e32d90)

  32. This is state sponsored terror. The Democrat and Republican parties are ENEMIES of the American people. They are ENEMIES of the Constitution of this country. Every single member of congress and the executive should be arrested and put on trial for treason and executed.

    mom (751dae)

  33. Calm down mom. Not helping.

    elissa (e32d90)

  34. More data-mining resources for Axelfraud’s next campaign.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  35. Terminate with Extreme Prejudice!

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  36. When you devolve into a banana republic all you have left is gallows humor.

    Yes, make a joke about Dear Leader, and be led to the gallows.

    BTW, I see that Leno remarked last night about the Powerball winner’s $500+ Million, that the IRS can’t determine the winners’ taxes as they haven’t seen her voter registration yet.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  37. Why did no one flip out about Greenwald’s, previous, much creepier story last month?

    Are all telephone calls recorded and accessible to the US government? A former FBI counterterrorism agent claims on CNN that this is the case

    Scrutineer (0b6bc0)

  38. Considering that Barry Obama has long been pals with actual terrorists and terrorist sympathizers such as Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn, Rashid Khalidi, Frank Marshall Davis (deceased), Louis Farrakhan, and Jeremiah Wright, maybe Barry’s phone records need to be looked over.

    Elephant Stone (6a6f37)

  39. ES, those are State Secrets that cannot even be leaked to the NYT.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  40. It’s not going to stop. We need it to defend against terrorism because we don’t have any better way.

    Laugh about it, shout about it
    When you’ve got to choose
    Every way you look at it you lose

    Here’s to you Mr. Robinson.

    nk (875f57)

  41. Has Barry seen the papers yet today?? I bet he’ll be outraged when he finds out what’s going on!

    Patricia (be0117)

  42. This has been going on since 2006?

    JD (20406c)

  43. DOJ to investigate …. The leak.

    JD (20406c)

  44. A people of the government, by the government, and for the government. A bill of rights that protects the government’s rights.

    Welcome to the new age.

    Amphipolis (96ff9b)

  45. How many years before they start seizing actual people? Ten…twenty….?

    Patricia (be0117)

  46. This report reads more like a press release than a whistleblower’s leak. A well-planted story like this prepares the political battlefield for revising/repealing the Patriot Act and/or the AUMF now that America’s War on Terror is at an end. Maybe we all should take a deep breath and think about who this leak benefits before getting all lathered up.

    crazy (d60cb0)

  47. 32. I was totally with you right up until “President Obama, come clean”.

    Now I’m unsure what any of it meant.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  48. Comment by Patricia (be0117) — 6/6/2013 @ 12:02 pm

    Nokoula is still in jail.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  49. 33. Mom still knows best, ask dad.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  50. Comment by crazy (d60cb0) — 6/6/2013 @ 12:05 pm

    Elements of the Dem Party may wish to repeal the PATRIOT Act, but not the President as it gives him great power.
    The AUMF is another story.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  51. If this was actually a planned leak, then it is despicable, but general surveillance needs to stop.

    I support vigorous surveillance of suspected terrorists or people with connections to terrorism. This is general surveillance of the population. There is a difference there, and not just in degree.

    OmegaPaladin (bbd784)

  52. Who knew we all had Obamaphones?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  53. Maybe this is like $4.50/gallon gasoline: so absurd that when it got down to a mere $3.50/gallon, we all rejoiced.

    So Obama is trying to drown us all in scandals, hoping that when he goes back to wrecking the economy, handing out sweetheart deals to his supporters, taking over entire industries, and harassing companies that are a threat to the companies run by his cronies, we’ll all be happy.

    bridget (84c06f)

  54. Garfinkel. “Database Nation”. Read it.

    mojo (0583bf)

  55. Big data goes … really big!

    Now really, raise your hand if you didn’t wonder if this was going on.

    Am I the only one who remembers the ECHELON fuss?

    htom (412a17)

  56. Who knew that Obamaphony – the collecting of telephone information about One’s political opponents, also had an equally accurate and applicable homophone, which is a descriptive truism – Obama phony ! ?

    Alasdair (867c8a)

  57. William Scalia #8 – our media have not been practising journalism for a while … nowadays, they are practising Internal Auditing … who knew they could be so limber and yet so relaxed ? (And, as a bottom-line benefit, they can check themselves for polyps, while doing so ! Ain’t Obamacare wunnerful ?)

    Alasdair (867c8a)

  58. And the second shoe drops …

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/us-intelligence-mining-data-from-nine-us-internet-companies-in-broad-secret-program/2013/06/06/3a0c0da8-cebf-11e2-8845-d970ccb04497_story.html

    As with the Verizon story this reads more like a story planted to restrain existing post 9/11 efforts to fight terrorism and return to the pre 9/11 law enforcement model. NSA and CIA are not the problem. FBI, DHS and IRS abuses domestically are entirely different and much more problematic.

    crazy (d60cb0)

  59. So the headline yesterday was that this administration abuses its authority to unlawfully leak information about political foes, as well as target them for harassment and unlawful investigations. The headline today is that the administration has far, far more information about everyone than we once thought. Feinstein says this is OK because we might one day become a terrorist. I wonder what she means by terrorist, though.

    Some of these democrats act like we’re in a cold civil war, or perhaps act like they would like to engage in one.

    Dustin (303dca)

  60. now get serious
    go get the damn Islamists
    Can you hear me now?

    Colonel Haiku (180a66)

  61. A note about what i have heard-
    some have said this is more of a distraction from the other real scandals
    Hewitt says “so what”, that all of the data is collected, but it is not mined/analyzed unless FISA says so, in which case they can trace contacts to a phone number they know is a problem

    so, is this a problem per se? a problem only because it is more intrusive than what was done under bush that everyone went nuts over? a problem because we can’t trust the data to be used appropriately once collected

    i don’t know

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  62. Excellent link, crazy. The feds may be getting only the pen register from Verizon (I doubt that) but they are getting a lot more than that. The WaPo article links to an NSA powerpoint presentation that’s truly chilling.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/prism-collection-documents/

    They are getting the contents of your online communications. And audio of your phone calls if one person is using VoIP.

    Steve57 (7895a0)

  63. and this conversation too!

    crazy (d60cb0)

  64. Well back in the day, they had this, which included the technical specs of the hardware involved;

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/homefront/view/

    narciso (3fec35)

  65. Well, yes, but then I don’t think any of us have an expectation of privacy while participating in a discussion on a public forum.

    But it’s true that they can watch you type on what you may presume to be a private chat.

    Steve57 (7895a0)

  66. It is a distraction and a waste of energy because nothing will be done about it. Somewhere, Osama bin Laden is laughing his head off.

    nk (875f57)

  67. Obama Follows Bush’s Lead On National Security says National Soros Radio cheerily

    as if they hadn’t pitched a propaganda slut hissy fit for 8 years about Bush’s national security policies

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2013/06/06/189266242/on-national-security-obama-follows-bush-s-leadx

    In any event, that the telecommunications surveillance has continued so robustly on Obama’s watch is just another example of how the president’s aggressive stance has helped to erase the longtime Republican advantage on national security issues — an edge the GOP will have trouble regaining, so long as the current occupant of the White House has any say in it.

    happyfeet (c60db2)

  68. Except for that matter in Boston, and a certain military base in Texas, ‘workplace violence’ they called it,

    narciso (3fec35)

  69. swagbag of scandal
    dumbass videos and more
    great gosh almighty!

    Colonel Haiku (198f23)

  70. When you ignore terrorists like the Boston Bros and Hasan, what justification can you have for tapping the whole population???
    — Comment by Patricia

    When NSA says they’re trying to snoop on terrorists, they mean tea party patriots.
    — Comment by Elephant Stone

    That’s why even pro-national-security, law-and-order type people, who tend to be of somewhat conservative bent, should be very cynical about the appropriateness of massive amounts of eavesdropping, certainly in light of it being managed by those who have the sympathies and background of Obama, et al.

    I’ve sometimes wondered about pro-safety, anti-crime folks in countries like Mexico having to adjust their opinions and sentiments when the law-enforcement agencies throughout such nations are notoriously corrupt and dishonest. I’m starting to get a glint of how those people must feel and react.

    Mark (0a4abe)

  71. ferris teh sphincter
    rat fink of teh IRS
    and more eavesdropping

    Colonel Haiku (198f23)

  72. This will all be blamed on Bush.

    Curly (bbb692)

  73. 73.Except for that matter in Boston, and a certain military base in Texas, ‘workplace violence’ they called it,

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 6/6/2013 @ 4:55 pm

    They won’t have much luck sticking with that lie considering Nidal Hasan’s “brilliant” defense strategy.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2013/0605/With-Nidal-Hasan-bombshell-time-to-call-Fort-Hood-shooting-a-terror-attack?nav=87-frontpage-entryNineItem

    The admission by Army Maj. Nidal Hasan on Tuesday that he attacked Fort Hood in 2009 in defense of “the leadership of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the Taliban” has suddenly undermined the Obama administration’s previous contention that the murders of 13 soldiers at the Texas base constituted an act of “workplace violence.”

    I especially liked this part of the report.

    Osborn, the court-martial judge, is set to decide Wednesday whether to allow Hasan another three months to expand on his “defense of others” argument. The basic reasoning is that he attacked the soldier readiness center on Nov. 5, 2009, because soldiers there were about to be deployed to Afghanistan on a mission to kill Taliban.

    Legal experts say it will be tough for Hasan to prevail using that argument, because he won’t be able to prove that those soldiers who were shot posed an imminent or direct threat to individual Taliban leaders.

    What kind of deranged world is this when a military court will even entertain the idea that a soldier turned traitor and killed other soldiers in defense of this nation’s enemies?

    And if he could prove these other soldiers posed an imminent or direct threat to individual Taliban leaders his argument would have merit? Hey, they’re soldiers! There supposed to form a threat to the Taliban leadership. Otherwise why deploy them.

    Great. So had a Muslim SEAL fragged other SEALs while participating in the Abottabad raid he could have justified his actions based on the fact the other SEALs really did pose in imminent and direct threat to the “emir” of AQ.

    Steve57 (7895a0)

  74. Pardon my simplemindedness, but was he not a soldier of the US and had he not sworn to defend the US and its Constitution?

    So, unless he had already renounced his US citizenship and was in enemy uniform, he’s just a traitor, yes?

    Unless freedom of religion for a Muslim includes killing other Americans who are not Muslim.

    I don’t think he can plead insanity, but the military officers who let him stay in until this happened probably are more suspect in their reality testing.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  75. Of course, he was willing to plead guilty and pay the cost of his decision to fight the nation he was sworn to protect.
    Again, evidence suggests he has a better grasp of reality than the officials in charge of his prosecution.
    Of course, those immediately “in charge” are likely not the ones really “in charge”.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  76. He’s not pleading guilty, he’s raising a defense. The judge would rather he did it in three months when the judge has transferred out. Hasan is just creating a circus and nobody really wants to deal with it.

    nk (875f57)

  77. R.I.P. Esther Williams

    Icy (e6f6e4)


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