“US declassifies phone program details after uproar”

My thoughts on the current surveillance flaps:

When the military has new weapons, it wants to use them.

When the National Security Agency has new ways to gather and store audio, video, email, photographic and Internet information, it wants to use it.

Time to reread George Orwell’s 1984 and Sinclair Lewis, It Can’t Happen Here?

Yes, I know government surveillance of US citizens goes back to at least Nixon. And I know the Marathon bombers were picked up, after the fact, thanks to photos and videos (largely from the public and from business, not prior surveillance).

We’re not talking now about chasing after active terrorists, but about government stockpiling citizens’ personal information. Think of how Watergate would be conducted today, and how hard it would be to expose.

I learned yesterday that the government is storing satellite images of the earth’s surface so detailed that a 2-inch object shows up, and with such high-power computer analysis that a given car’s path two weeks ago can easily be retraced.

People can say: “I have nothing to hide, I don’t mind if they track me.” But who’s to say the definition of “nothing to hide” will always be what we might think?

re: “US declassifies phone program details after uproar,” Daily Local News AP story, 6/7/13:

…Clapper offered new information about the phone program and another one that collects the audio, video, email, photographic and Internet search usage of foreign nationals overseas who use any of the nine major Internet providers, including Microsoft, Google, Apple, Yahoo and others.

“I believe it is important for the American people to understand the limits of this targeted counterterrorism program and the principles that govern its use,” he said.

James Clapper

Clapper offered new information about the phone program and another one that collects the audio, video, email, photographic and Internet search usage of foreign nationals overseas who use any of the nine major Internet providers, including Microsoft, Google, Apple, Yahoo and others.

“I believe it is important for the American people to understand the limits of this targeted counterterrorism program and the principles that govern its use,” he said.

Among the previously classified information about the phone records collection that Clapper revealed:

The program is conducted under authority granted by Congress and is authorized by the Foreign intelligence Surveillance Court which determines the legality of the program.

The government is prohibited from “indiscriminately sifting” through the data acquired. It can only be reviewed “when there is a reasonable suspicion, based on specific facts, that the particular basis for the query is associated with a foreign terrorist organization.” He also said only counterterrorism personnel trained in the program may access the records.

The information acquired is overseen by the Justice Department and the FISA court. Only a very small fraction of the records are ever reviewed, he said….

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About politicswestchesterview

Nathaniel regards himself as a progressive Democrat who sees a serious need to involve more Americans in the political process if we are to rise to Ben Franklin's challenge "A republic, madam, if you can keep it," after a passerby asked him what form of government the founders had chosen. This blog gives my views and background information on the local, state, and national political scenes. My career in higher education was mainly in the areas of international studies, foreign languages, and student advising, most recently at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, from which I retired in 2006. I have lived in West Chester since 1986.
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2 Responses to “US declassifies phone program details after uproar”

  1. Pingback: “US declassifies phone program details after uproar” | progressivenetwork

  2. Pingback: Security, legality, and the least untruthful untruths | politicswestchesterview

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