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More Evidence of Lawless US Spying

By Stephen Lendman - Posted on 29 June 2013


More Evidence of Lawless US Spying


by Stephen Lendman


Post-9/11, unprecedented domestic spying began. It did so extrajudicially. It continues under Obama. It's institutionalized. It's warrantless. It's unconstitutional. 


It doesn't matter. It's sweeping and all-embracing. It prioritizes everyone Washington wants monitored. Phone calls, emails, web sites visited, and other personal information is routinely collected.


Doing so reflects police state lawlessness writ large. It's official US policy. Constitutional protections don't matter. Government by diktats supersede them. Alleged national security priorities don't wash. They're fabricated to justify policy.


On June 27, London's Guardian headlined "NSA collected US email records in bulk for more than two years under Obama," saying:


NSA "collect(ed) vast amounts of records detailing the email and internet usage of Americans, according to secret documents obtained by the Guardian."


They reveal lawless Bush administration domestic spying. NSA codenamed it Stellar Wind. It continues under Obama. An unnamed senior administration official said it ended in 2011. 


He lied. It continues. It's secret. It's more sweeping now than ever. It's done with technological ease.


A FISA court (FISC) judge approved Internet meta-data collection "every 90 days." Automatic renewals follow. Telecommunications are obtained the same way. Verizon, AT&T and other telecom companies provide them.


An NSA inspector general top secret report authorized "collection of bulk internet metadata (involving) communications with at least one communicant outside the United States or for which no communicant was known to be a citizen of the United States."


Targeting Americans followed. NSA's a power unto itself. It "analyze(s) communications meta-data associated with United States persons and persons believed to be in the United States."


A secret 2007 Justice Department memo revealed it. Internet meta-data collection continues. It "details the accounts to which Americans sent emails and from which they received emails."


"It also details the internet protocol addresses (IP) used by people inside the United States when sending emails - information which can reflect their physical location." Allegedly it "did not include the content of emails."


It's hard believing that's true. Washington's able to gather sweeping information. Prioritized targets are intensively monitored. Whatever's available is collected and stored.


In June 2011, Shawn Turner was appointed Director of Public Affairs for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). He handles National Intelligence communications.


Previously he was National Security Staff's Assistant Press Secretary for Foreign Affairs. He also worked for the Defense Department.


He lied saying "Internet metadata collection….authorized by the FISA court was discontinued in 2011 for operational and resource reasons and has not been restarted."


"The program was discontinued by the executive branch as the result of the interagency review." He didn't elaborate for good reason. The more explained, the clearer the fabrication.


Guardian-obtained documents show "collection of Americans' online records continues today." Last December, NSA began "analyz(ing) communications with one end inside the US, leading to a doubling of the amount of data passing through its filters."


Obama officials claim privacy rights are respected. Saying so defies reality. Deputy Attorney General James Cole defended lawless telecommunications spying, saying:


"Toll records, phone records like this, that don't include any content, are not covered by the fourth amendment because people don't have a reasonable expectation of privacy in who they called and when they called."


"That's something you show to the phone company. That's something you show to many, many people within the phone company on a regular basis."


This type reasoning turns constitutional rights on their head. A previous article cited United States v. US District Court (1972). The Supreme Court upheld Fourth Amendment protections in cases involving domestic surveillance targeting a domestic threat. Justices ruled unanimously.


In US v. Jones, Supreme Court, Justice Sonia Sotomayor acknowledged the need to update Fourth Amendment protections, saying:


"I would not assume that all information voluntarily disclosed to some member of the public for a limited purpose is, for that reason alone, disentitled to Fourth Amendment protection."


All constitutional rights matter. Congress may enact no laws violating them. Government agencies must respect them. Failure to do so flouts the law of the land.


Americans are protected against lawless searches and seizures. Personal information is private. Email content is routinely monitored. Internal government documents explain what's obtained.


"One 2008 document, signed by the US defense secretary and attorney general, states that the collection and subsequent analysis included 'the information appearing on the 'to,' 'from' or 'bcc' lines of a standard email or other electronic communication' from Americans."


It's hard "distinguish(ing) email meta-data from email content. Distinctions that might make sense for telephone conversations and data about those conversations do not always hold for online communications."


According to Cato Institute's Julian Sanchez:


"The calls you make can reveal a lot, but now that so much of our lives are mediated by the internet, your IP (internet protocol) logs are really a real-time map of your brain: what are you reading about, what are you curious about, what personal ad are you responding to (with a dedicated email linked to that specific ad), what online discussions are you participating in, and how often?"


"Seeing your IP logs - and especially feeding them through sophisticated analytic tools - is a way of getting inside your head that's in many ways on par with reading your diary."


A classified March 2009 draft NSA inspector general (IG) report said the Agency "analyzed networks with two degrees of separation (two hops) from the target."


In other words, NSA examines emails and other online communications between people who communicate with two or more others allegedly targeted.


NSA calls doing so "contact chaining." Others call it data-mining. Pre-9/11, a draft NSA IG report considered the practice off-limits, saying:


Data-mining was rejected when DOJ "told NSA that the proposal fell within one of the FISA definitions of electronic surveillance and, therefore, was not permissible when applied to metadata associated with presumed US persons."


Post-9/11, anything goes became policy. Sweeping surveillance followed. Big Brother watches everyone all the time everywhere. It does so lawlessly. Official denials don't wash. 


An unnamed senior Obama official tried having things both ways. On the one hand, online meta-data-mining was denied. On the other:


"I'm not going to say we're not collecting any internet meta-data" followed.


The 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) restricts telecommunications wiretaps. It prevents unauthorized government access to private online communications. 


It sets strict guidelines for search warrants. It protects stored online communications. It prohibits pen registering and/or trap and trace devices. 


They're used to record dialing, routing, addressing, and signaling information for processing or transmitting wire or electronic communications without court order. Emails may be subpoenaed lawfully. Warrantless authorizations are prohibited.


USA Patriot Act provisions changed things. They subvert ECPA restrictions. So does the 2008 FISA Amendments Act.


Meaningful oversight is lacking. Constitutional rights don't matter. Lawless spying is out-of-control. Checking it is essential. Reforms are urgently needed. Privacy is too important to lose. 


Government of, by and for everyone demands transparency. It requires obeying rule of law principles. It punishes violators.


Jennifer Granick is Director of Civil Liberties for Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society. Christopher Jon Sprigman is University of Virginia Professor of Law.


On June 27, they headlined their New York Times op-ed "The Criminal NSA," saying:


Meta-data-mining is lawless. Fundamental privacy rights are violated. The "letter" and "spirit" of "federal law" are "violate(d)."


"No (federal) statute explicitly authorizes mass surveillance." The Obama administration subverted legal provisions to permit it.


Strategy employed "consists of wordplay, fear-mongering and a highly selective reading of the law. Americans deserve better…"


Obama violates fundamental constitutional law he once taught. He defends the indefensible. Meta-data-mining is out-of-control. 


Probable cause proving likely criminality no longer applies. Anything goes replaced it. 


Representative James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R. WI) helped draft Patriot Act provisions. He's no civil liberties champion. He's no profile in courage.  


"Congress intended to allow the intelligence communities to access targeted information for specific investigations," he said.


Meta-data-mining isn't "targeted. How can every call that every American makes or receives be relevant to a specific investigation?"


Bush violated Patriot Act provisions. So does Obama. It's done egregiously. It's done extrajudicially. It's done unconscionably. Claiming the right to do so reflects "shockingly flimsy argument," said Granick and Sprigman.


"If all data (are) 'relevant,' it makes a mockery of the already shaky concept of relevance." 


Director of National Intelligence James Clapper committed perjury. He lied telling Congress NSA doesn't spy on Americans.


He told NBC news that NSA uses the word "acquire" when it pulls information from its sweeping communications database. It's not when it intercepts and stores it.


According to Granick and Sprigman:


"If there's a law against torturing the English language, James Clapper is in real trouble." Obama conceals "incidental" surveillance of Americans "behind fuzzy language." 


In late 2012, when Congress reauthorized the FISA Amendments Act for another five years, "legislators said Americans had nothing to worry about because surveillance could not 'target' American citizens or permanent residents."


Clapper said the same thing. They lied. Meta-data-mining evidence proves it. 


"There is simply no precedent under the Constitution for the government's seizing such vast amounts of revealing data on innocent Americans' communications," said Granick and Sprigman.


Obama and Congress "made a mockery" of fundamental constitutional protections. We may never know the full extent of mass surveillance. Coverup and denial reflect official policy.


We do "know this: 


"The administration has justified (mass spying) through abuse of language, intentional evasion of statutory protections, secret, unreviewable investigative procedures, and constitutional arguments that make a mockery of the government's professed concern with protecting Americans’ privacy." 


"It's time to call the NSA's mass surveillance programs what they are: criminal."


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 


His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."


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Alleged national security priorities don't wash. They're fabricated to justify policy.

Sure, just like Washington was the party most responsible for 9/11 but wouldn't avow to this since the former, not the latter, is un- and anti-constitutional as well as treachorous.  9/11 was the "needed" event sometimes referred to as the "New Pearl Harbor" and used as a pretext for the wars and fascist laws that followed.  Of course many Americans still fantasize about Washington being innocent in terms of the 9/11 attacks, for these Americans spend an awful lot of time watching stupid Disney movies that falsely portray the US as a good and noble or honorable country lead by a government of similar vein. Fantasies aren't for understanding the real world we live in though.

Wait a second. I have to make allowance for people who aren't "9/11 truthers" because all they've learned so far about this is like in Loose Change 1, a lot of nonsense.  If these people didn't also watch/listen to LC 3 and Final, plus haven't learned what good research from other sources provides about 9/11, then all they've seen, read, heard is nonsense.  It's either all or else mostly what they've gathered so far from the 9/11 truth movement, which very evidently has not only incompetent truthers but also govt shills working secretly as if they're real truthers.  These two groups have contributed to causing the overall movement to become discredited, but those who did this out of incompetence or carelessness are innocent and simply made mistakes, while the others are govt shills intentionally working to try to make a mockery of the truth movement.  We must definitely expect to have the presence of both, but also of very competent researchers, whose good work goes easily unnoticed due to these two other parties.

With that said, many Americans still wouldn't want to accept considering the fact that their govt has a history of committing false flag attacks and many other acts of deceit.  They want to believe that their govt couldn't possibly be run/administered by traitors.  Disney is their favorite version; falsely depicting the USA as "the land of the brave", while many, if not most, cowar away from critically paying attention and questionning their govt. Such cowardice and not bravery/courage is reality.

So the treachorous "leadership" gets carte blanche for fabricating all of the deceptions they desire and a majority of the population dreamfully believes to be noble while supporting continued massacres, mass murders with the use of drone warfare technology that keeps taxpayers' costs lower.  They psychopathically enjoy employing psychopathic cowboys sitting in Las Vegas driving warfare drones and shooting at anyone who might act like a terrorist.  All the victims need to do is to meet in a small group and cross a street, or perform jumping jacks.  Only terrorists do such things, right?

The following video is 13min.

"Signature Strike Investigation", uploaded by BraveNewFoundation on 19 June 2013

Don't worry your little consciences folks.  The US massacred an innocent group of around 40 tribal leaders of northern Pakistan joined together at a Jirga to discuss local issues and this is okay, right?  After all, it's for US national security that the US must massacre innocent people, right?  Come on now, cheer up and be supportive of your government, regardless of how hellbent psychopathic it is, boys and girls. Uncle Sam Wants You and don't worry about feeling embarrassed about his psychopathic killing spree committed in your names.  He'll come up with another excuse about national security in order to save you from embarrassment.  He'll say that it's a necessary evil to kill millions of people in order to get a handful of alleged terrorists; all in the name of your national security.  It's all done for you and that's why Uncle Sam needs to bleed you of income and viable economy.  Accept the sacrifices that US asks of you; it's all done for your own good, in your name, and based on national security.

They lied about WTC 1993, OKC 1995, 9/11, Gulf of Tonkin and Vietnam War, Korean War, Pearl Harbor attack, USS Maine, USS Liberty, and much more, so come on now, have faith in your government.  National security, rah rah rah! Come on, join the cheerleading team or else be a poor sport.

And, btw, when Uncle Sam spies on you, it isn't because he's a pervert; it's because he cares for and looks out after you.

Signing off now.  Uncle Sam "loves" you all. Kisses.


A classified March 2009 draft NSA inspector general (IG) report said the Agency "analyzed networks with two degrees of separation (two hops) from the target."

In other words, NSA examines emails and other online communications between people who communicate with two or more others allegedly targeted.

I'm not sure but would guess that the above isn't what's meant by hops.  In Internet or network communication a hop normally is a communication from one server to another. 

F.e., if you send an email from NYC to San Francisco, then it may take 3 or 4 hops before the email is received at the destination server.  In that case, your communication passes through 3 or 4 servers, each located in different cities and/or towns.  It isn't about communicating with 3 or 4 different people.  It can be one person to one other person, but given the distances between the two, any number of intermediate servers will be used to relay the communication. 

It's unlikely that you'd have only 1 hop over a distance like from NYC to SF.  F.e., a 2 hop communication between NYC and SF might pass through a server in Chicago.  I don't think only 1 intermediate server would be used over such a distance but will use this just for illustration.  The NYC server would send the email to a server in Chicago and that server would then pass the email on to the destination server in SF.  This would be 2 hops in IT terminology.  And it's only these servers that make up hops.

It excludes the number of people who're designated recipients of the email, but when there's more than one, then the number of hops may vary for each.  Etc.

It's about how many servers are used to transmit or communicate from point A to point B; not the number of people to whom an email or communication is sent.

There're software applications that permit tracing this.  One is called Traceroute or something like that.


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