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. Obama and repubs agree on this program because it’s part of a corporate agenda to know what everyone is doing at all times; what we’re watching, buying, and planning; it’s less to do with terrrorsm than with the Occupy movement. In fact, I think the corptocracy doesn’t see any difference between the two.

  2. Bob,

    Mea culpa…. You’re right… Sorry for the misnamin…..

  3. Published on Jun 6, 2013
    Sen. Bernie Sanders Thursday criticized a secret domestic surveillance program that swept up millions of telephone records on calls by Americans who were not suspected of any wrongdoing.

    A court order demanding the records be turned over was obtained under a controversial interpretation of a provision in the so-called Patriot Act, which Sanders voted against when it was first enacted in 2001 and when it was reauthorized in 2006 and 2011.

  4. Soon, it won’t be called Wi-Fi it will be Di-Fi

    “All your metadatum are belong to us”

  5. A. Y.,
    Which McCarthy were you referencing? There’s Joseph McCarthy, who pursued ersatz Communists in the 1950s, and Eugene McCarthy, who challenged incumbent Lyndon Johnson at the Democratic primary in 1968.

  6. Glenn Greenwald Details ‘Menacing’ Reach Of NSA’s Invasion Of Google, Facebook, Apple Servers

    Published on Jun 6, 2013
    6/6/13 – Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald, who broke the story of the NSA’s data grab that has roiled the media in the past twenty-four hours, spoke to MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell Thursday night about the extreme reaction his story has produced. O’Donnell asked Greenwald about the possibility of leak investigations, which Dianne Feinstein has intimated would include Greenwald.

    “Let them go and investigate,” Greenwald said. “There’s this document called the Constitution. One of the things that it guarantees is the right of a free press, which means that as a citizen and journalist, I have the absolute Constitutional right to go and report on what it is that my government is doing in the dark, and inform my fellow citizens about that action.”

    “There is this massive surveillance state that the United States government has built up,” Greenwald continued, “that has extraordinary implications for how we live as human beings on the earth and as Americans in our country, and we have the right to know what it is that that government and that agency is doing. I intend to continue to shine light on that, and Dianne Feinstein can beat her chest all she wants and call for investigations and none of that is going to stop and none of it is going to change.”

    O’Donnell played Greenwald a clip of Lindsey Graham speaking in Senate chambers about how he didn’t mind that the government had his phone data, even if his number showed up on a terrorist’s phone.

    “I think it’s notable that one of the most right wing members of the United States Congress is stepping up to be the most vocal defender of what the Obama administration is doing and what the Bush administration did before that,” Greenwald said. “That’s a very right wing mentality. The idea is that the government should simply know everything that citizens in a free society are doing, regardless of whether there’s evidence that we have committed any crimes.”

    “The idea that, if you have nothing to hide, then there’s no reason you should care?” Greenwald continued. “People know instinctively that’s false. They put passwords on their e-mails, they put locks on their bedroom doors. There’s all kinds of value we have in having privacy as individuals that is destroyed when we allow the government to monitor and store everything that we’re doing. But, of course, the Lindsey Grahams of the world are thrilled with that, because that’s the mentality in which this is all rooted.”

    Greenwald also spoke on PRISM, a government program that accesses the content of Americans’ internet activities, knowledge of which compounded Greenwald’s scoop from yesterday.

    “This is a program in which the NSA takes its hands and sticks them directly into the servers of all of these internet giants,” Greenwald said, “Facebook, Google, Skype, Apple, Youtube, that people around the world use to have communications, and lets the NSA grab whatever it is they want—either stored e-mails or real-time communication—with nobody looking over their shoulder, nobody watching what they’re doing. Any analyst in the NSA sitting at a keyboard can at any moment go into the system and listen to whatever he wants, read whatever he wants, and then store it. It is extremely menacing, and there are no checks. This is how the world communicates, and the NSA is monitoring it at all times.”

  7. Published on Dec 3, 2012

    National Security Agency whistleblower William Binney explains how the secretive agency run its pervasive domestic spying apparatus in a new piece by Laura Poitras in The New York Times.
    Binney—one of the best mathematicians and code breakers in NSA history—worked for the Defense Department’s foreign signals intelligence agency for 32 years before resigning in late 2001 because he “could not stay after the NSA began purposefully violating the Constitution.”

    In a short video called “The Program,” Binney explains how the agency took part of one of the programs he built and started using it to spy on virtually every U.S. citizen without warrants under the code-name Stellar Wind.

    Binney details how the top-secret surveillance program, the scope of which has never been made public, can track electronic activities—phone calls, emails, banking and travel records, social media—and map them to collect “all the attributes that any individual has” in every type of activity and build a profile based on that data.

    “So that now I can pull your entire life together from all those domains and map it out and show your entire life over time,” Binney says.

    The 8-minute video, adapted from an ongoing project by Poitras that is to be released in 2013, has footage of the construction of the NSA’s $2 billion data storage facility in Bluffdale, Utah, which Binney says “has the capacity to store 100 years worth of the world’s electronic communications.”

    The purpose of the program, according to Binney, is “to be able to monitor what people are doing” and who they are doing it with.

    “The danger here is that we fall into a totalitarian state,” Binney says. “This is something the KGB, the Stasi or the Gestapo would have loved to have had.”

    Poitras, who has been detained and questioned more than 40 times at U.S. airports, has been working on a trilogy of films about post-9/11 America.

  8. If Lawyers aren’t going to fight for the Rule of Law…
    … Who will?

  9. that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion

    NATIONAL SECURITY!!!!!!!!!! (evasion of choice)

  10. I would like to hear her explanation as to HOW defending a free press is ALWAYS about unlimited spying on their sources, or how collecting ALL personal e-mail (an affect) doesn’t require a warrant as to the specific user, date and time sent… Or how gaining ATTORNEY/CLIENT electronic data is always about not bridging the privileges set fourth for ALL defendants. How about doctors and their online patient’s history, confidentiality and PRIVACY?

  11. Shorter Di-Fi:
    “Well, you see. Undermining the Constitution is how we ‘support and defend’ it.”

    The current oath was enacted in 1884:
    I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

    She’s defending the usurpation of our Bill of Rights… And CHOOSING to ignore her Oath to the People.

  12. Remember when…
    … A bus ride cost $.25 across town
    … Minimum wage put food on the table
    … And spying on Americans was un-American

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