Learning To Love The Matrix: Feinstein Defends Warrantless Surveillance of All Citizens

225px-dianne_feinstein_official_senate_photoAs expected, in facing yet another attack on civil liberties by the Obama Administration, Democratic members are choosing personality over principle. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D., CA) has come out to assure the public that it is a good thing that the Administration is spying on them and encourage them to accept such surveillance as the new normal. In the meantime, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R, Ga), insists that the surveillance must be fine because “to my knowledge we have not had any citizen who has registered a complaint relative to the gathering of this information.” Of course, it has been secret and just last February the Administration succeeded in blocking an effort of dozens of citizens and groups challenging such surveillance programs before the Supreme Court.

Feinstein is notorious among civil libertarians as someone who knew of many of the abuses during the Bush Administration, including possible knowledge of the torture program and warrantless surveillance programs. However, the Administration is clearly putting the push on to get members in front of cameras to claim that that surveillance stopped a plot. It is an effort to get citizens to give up this core liberty. Of course, if you strip every civil liberty, you can claim additional plots. These members are responsible, again, for a failure to use oversight authority to protect civil liberties. They have clearly been given the message to try to change the story in the critical first 24-hours in classic Bush (now Obama) terms: yes we put everyone under surveillance but it paid off.  It is working.  Where the headlines began the day as “huge surveillance program,” media is now reporting the story as “surveillance program foiled terror plot.”  Once again the media is being played like a fiddle by our homegrown Neros.

Feinstein has continued her dubious record of leading the charge against liberty — a curious role for the Democratic senator from a state like California.

My favorite however is Chambliss who seems clueless that the Obama Administration has classified information needed to challenge these laws and no citizens had information to complain about . . . because Chambliss and his colleagues kept it from their constituents.

Then there is Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) fresh from his questioning whether bloggers have first amendment rights. Graham stated “I’m a Verizon customer. I don’t mind Verizon turning over records to the government if the government is going to make sure that they try to match up a known terrorist phone with somebody in the United States.” Most citizens would shudder at the thought of using either Feinstein or Graham as the barometer for civil liberties.

However, the spin is on. This is the ultimate test for Obama in seeing whether he can get citizens to give up not only the protection for the free press but their own privacy rights. This program is a critical step in the establishment of massive databanks on citizens. However, our members of Congress are lining up to embrace such a potential authoritarian tool.

Source: ‘Huff Post

110 thoughts on “Learning To Love The Matrix: Feinstein Defends Warrantless Surveillance of All Citizens

  1. None of this is new. Glenn Greenwald’s, “With Liberty and Justice for Some,” spelled it out a few years ago. Now he updated the information and made it more public, for those who did not read his frightening book.

    Barry Eisler, in his 2011 novel, “Deception,” fictionalizes so many real events that the only fiction in the book is the characters he created.

    How do we wake up enough of the citizenry to put us back on track to protect our constitutional rights?

    How do we wake up enough voters in California to recognize Feinstein for the traitor to her oath that she is?

  2. https://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/06/07

    Published on Friday, June 7, 2013 by Common Dreams

    The Bill of Rights Exists: An Open Letter to Dianne Feinstein
    by Norman Solomon

    Dear Senator Feinstein:

    On Thursday, when you responded to news about massive ongoing surveillance of phone records of people in the United States, you slipped past the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. As the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, you seem to be in the habit of treating the Bill of Rights as merely advisory.Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) acknowledge that the top secret court order for telephone records of millions of U.S. customers of Verizon is a three-month renewal of an ongoing practice.

    The Constitution doesn’t get any better than this: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

    The greatness of the Fourth Amendment explains why so many Americans took it to heart in civics class, and why so many of us treasure it today. But along with other high-ranking members of Congress and the president of the United States, you have continued to chip away at this sacred bedrock of civil liberties.

    As The Guardian reported the night before your sudden news conference, the leaked secret court order “shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of U.S. citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk—regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.”

    One of the most chilling parts of that just-revealed Surveillance Court order can be found at the bottom of the first page, where it says “Declassify on: 12 April 2038.”

    Apparently you thought—or at least hoped—that we, the people of the United States, wouldn’t find out for 25 years. And the fact that we learned about this extreme violation of our rights in 2013 instead of 2038 seems to bother you a lot.

    Rather than call for protection of the Fourth Amendment, you want authorities to catch and punish whoever leaked this secret order. You seem to fear that people can actually discover what their own government is doing to them with vast surveillance.

    Meanwhile, the Executive Branch is being run by kindred spirits, as hostile to the First Amendment as to the Fourth. On Thursday night, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper issued a statement saying the “unauthorized disclosure of a top secret U.S. court document threatens potentially long-lasting and irreversible harm to our ability to identify and respond to the many threats facing our nation.”

    That statement from Clapper is utter and complete hogwash. Whoever leaked the four-page Surveillance Court document to Glenn Greenwald at The Guardian deserves a medal and an honorary parade down Pennsylvania Avenue in the Nation’s Capital. The only “threats” assisted by disclosure of that document are the possibilities of meaningful public discourse and informed consent of the governed.

    Let’s be candid about the most clear and present danger to our country’s democratic values. The poisonous danger is spewing from arrogance of power in the highest places. The antidotes depend on transparency of sunlight that only whistleblowers, a free press and an engaged citizenry can bring.

    As Greenwald tweeted after your news conference: “The reason there are leakers is precisely because the govt is filled with people like Dianne Feinstein who do horrendous things in secret.” And, he pointed out, “The real story isn’t just the spying itself: it’s that we have this massive, ubiquitous Surveillance State, operating in total secrecy.”

    Obviously, you like it that way, and so do most other members of the Senate and House. And so does the president. You’re all playing abhorrent roles, maintaining a destructive siege of precious civil liberties. While building a surveillance state, you are patting citizens on the head and telling them not to worry.

    Perhaps you should have a conversation with Al Gore and ask about his statement: “Is it just me, or is secret blanket surveillance obscenely outrageous?” Actually, many millions of Americans understand that the blanket surveillance is obscenely outrageous.

    As a constituent, I would like to offer an invitation. A short drive from your mansion overlooking San Francisco Bay, hundreds of us will be meeting June 11 at a public forum on “Disappearing Civil Liberties in the United States.” (You’d be welcome to my time on the panel.) One of the speakers, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, could explain to you how the assaults on civil liberties and the wars you keep supporting go hand in hand, undermining the Constitution and causing untold misery.

    Senator Feinstein, your energetic contempt for the Bill of Rights is serving a bipartisan power structure that threatens to crush our democratic possibilities.

    A huge number of people in California and around the country will oppose your efforts for the surveillance state at every turn.


    Norman Solomon

  3. Stop sending me e mails. I have tried to unsubscribe. get me out of this mess.


  4. Inexcusable! Feinstein and Bush two peas in the same despotic pod. Don’t trash the Bill of Rights for a hand full of Billionaire business men’s Imperialistic ambitions !!! Vote out these nogoodniks and charge them with treason and crimes against humanity!!! Liberal Democracy NOW!

  5. o and i say to feinstien !!! i know u do not like muslims and took part in this ugly thing that u did to my innocent dear angel of a brother !!! by the way so u know that allah we deal with all those and u and any other fienstien!!! u will be in hell and u will call it ur home for ever !!! o and i want u to leave public service because u r not serving the public !!!! leave stein leave !!!

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