Barack Obama doesn't just think James Rosen and the AP are threats, he wants to know about everyone! And he's using the cloak of national security to find out who we're all talking to so he can put it in the big database and do something sinister with it, especially to the tea baggers. Or to distract from the IRS scandal he knew was coming.
Well, maybe. He's that arrogant. But it's a pretty big leap into the risk/reward pool.
Two-pronged, and lots to go around. Yes, the BushCheneyBurton regime started this program, so it's hypocritical to simply point to Obama. But never in their wildest dreams would they have been able to get away with a dragnet of the entire nation. They had it down to known terrorist numbers overseas and the numbers calling them from here and vice-versa.
On the flip side Obama campaigned against this kind of stuff, as did many in his party. Now he wears the biggest surveillance hat and it's all OK because the evil Bush is no longer doing it. Oddly, we've been told the Global War on Terror is almost won and AQ is on the run, so this seems a bit overreaching. Which begs a question that will be addressed below.
But perhaps the biggest hypocrites reside in the American mainstream media, who once again got scooped on a big story in the Obama era by a foreign newspaper, using an American journalist no less. These same intrepid reporters won Pulitzer Prizes for exposing a smaller, less intrusive program during the Bush era, but now they hang out in the tall grass, playing water squirter with Obama in the presidential backyard when not attacking Fox News for asking any mildly tough questions.
Why would 1) a FISA judge authorize a dragnet this massive and 2) how does this relate to Boston? We don't know how far back this extends but the most recent warrant started after the Marathon bombings. What are they afraid of? It sounds pretty big. There have been some very bizarre stories coming out of the Boston area and Florida since the attack, such as seven suspicious Muslim students found near the reservoir that provides most of Boston's water, including a recent incident where padlocked gates were cut; a small unmarked plane circling endlessly near Quincy, Mass, which the FAA and FBI refused to explain. The plane looks like a standard Cessna 182 but it has a small apparatus on the bottom, presumably to collect something.
There's also the extremely weird case of Tamarlan Tsarnaev's friend killed in Florida by an FBI agent during a supposed interrogation session.
All of this, presumably including the phone warrant, have occurred since the Marathon bombing. If there is a bigger follow-up plot in the works would the release of these details speed it along? Or are they trying to spook whoever's spooking them by allowing this to be released?
The explanation given is that they are trying to troll to see who called someone known. Perhaps it was someone in the Tsarnaev network or something else, but since they are only taking metadata and not actual voice what do they do when they get a 'hit'? Do they go back to the NSA vault and ask to hear all the transmissions of a certain subscriber who called terrorist X? How does the data get handled? Can someone in the FBI ask for a history on John Boehner, who he secretly suspects is in cahoots with domestic hillbillies to overthrow America, thereby getting all his political communications, or any sidebars, like calls to a potential mistress or bookies? Who oversees that process to make sure the info is targeted and not abused?
As to Verizon, well we now know it's all of them, which was a no-brainer.
The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time.National Security America, in other words (and yes, they see this and know who I am, hello guys).
So what's the bottom line? Well, since we've been told that terrorism isn't a big threat anymore, which justifies our retreat from Afghanistan and Iraq and our ambivalence about Muslim Brotherhood governments taking over Arabia or entities crossing red lines in Syria, this must be another domestic scandal, just another flim-flam to gather info on Tea Partiers and Fox News reporters under the cover of security. Right?
REMAIN CALM! 6/7/13
NBC is reporting a 'whoops' moment in the anals of PRISM history:
..in one instance in 2009, analysts entered a phone number into agency computers and “put one digit wrong,” and mined a large volume of information about Americans with no connection to terror.Yes, probably those working at Fox News and the Limbaugh show.
The judges “were really upset about this,” said the former official. As a result, Attorney General Eric Holder pledged to the judges that the intelligence agencies would take steps to correct the problem as a condition of renewing the NSA’s surveillance program.This really sounds like an NBC/Isikoff leak, doesn't it? Those judges were PISSED, baby! And Eric Holder, that modern Moses of truth and justice, destroyed the ill-gotten gains and promised never to do it again. It's the liberal version of the Ashcroft hospital drama, this time with 'Ashcroft' playing the bad guy role, but one who is able to redeem himself and save the 4th Amendment and the nation.
Except that a few months later he judge-shopped amongst those same pissed off judges and found one who could be convinced that James Rosen might be an enemy sympathizer and flight risk. So give us a break.
Meanwhile the preezy somehow managed to get the teleprompter going to tell us that he's not listening to our phone calls, just tracking every fricken number we call, but hey--chill. That's the trade-off between liberty and security. Funny he scored points with that meme to win the 2008 election, but now it's different. Go ahead and blame Bush.
And by the way, don't think after all of this they don't have voice calls recorded in some big hard drive somewhere. Yes, apparently they have to get a warrant for something sinister to dive deeper (or convince a judge that a major reporter is a terrorist) but when they get one it appears to be open season--they are looking at cat jpegs you sent three years ago.
Here's the thing. Somehow, some way we need the ability to preempt these crazy Muslims from Boston-bombing the entire country, or worse. I'm making jokes here, but it's certainly dead serious and Obama's message about drawing the balance is a vexing problem. Yes, too bad he never brought it up when it mattered, like before the election(s), but it's a conversation the country should have.
Is letting the government track all phone logs tolerable? Or is it--as when Bush explained his TSP program--only palatable when they are watching known numbers from terrorists overseas calling numbers in America or vice versa?
Clearly that's not expansive enough, though, because both terrorists could be in the country. To me a dragnet of all numbers called isn't the same as listening to calls, reading emails, tracking Google searches or opening snail mail. The phone company already has the call log info and they don't require security clearances for employees preparing your monthly bill. If that data is just vacuumed up and stored until a warrant is issued I would be partially OK with it. Or I would have, until the past month and all the latest revelations about the IRS, AP and Fox. They are going to have to find a better way, or we as a people are going to have to understand that massive losses of innocent Americans may be a price to pay to maintain the America our forefathers founded. No politician will ever have that conversation, though.