New Massive Surveillance Program Revealed Of Emails, Photos, and Other Communications Of U.S. Citizens

President_Barack_ObamaIn the wake of the disclosure of a massive surveillance program ordered by the Obama Administration of all calls by all citizens using Verizon, there is a new disclosure of an equally large data-mining operation where the government has seized e-mail, photos and other private communications from some of the biggest Internet companies.  Even in the wake of the attack on the free press and the surveillance of all citizens in the Verizon scandal, Democratic leaders are rallying around Obama in the rejection of the least remnants of principle in the party.  We are now at the tipping point for a free nation as President Obama and leaders like Dianne Feinstein assure citizens that there is nothing to fear in our new fishbowl society.


According to the media reports, the government demanded and received access to nine major firms, including Microsoft, Apple, Google, Yahoo and Facebook under the program called PRISM. The article states that the program has been running since 2007 and has undergone “exponential growth.”

When confronted over the massive government surveillance, Feinstein was dismissive and said “It’s called protecting America”. Others would call it the harbinger to an authoritarian state but Feinstein has long been criticized for her presumed knowledge of the torture program and other abuses of civil liberties.

These programs reveal the creation of huge databanks that can be used to make the movements and associations transparent to the government. After years of apathy and blind loyalty to Obama, these scandals will test whether Americans have any remaining commitment to privacy and civil liberties in the face of the mantra (repeated today by the Administration) that these programs make them safer.

As in the past, Congress has proven a willing participant in the erosion of civil liberties. It will be up to citizens whether we go quietly into this night. As I previously wrote, it is becoming increasingly difficult to call this the “land of the free” as we allow the rise of security state in this country.

By the way, you may remember Obama running for president the first time in the aftermath of reports of the NSA mining Internet communications. He promised voters: “For one thing, under an Obama presidency, Americans will be able to leave behind the era of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and “wiretaps without warrants.” He would now make Richard Nixon blush.

Source: CNN

125 thoughts on “New Massive Surveillance Program Revealed Of Emails, Photos, and Other Communications Of U.S. Citizens”

  1. Elaine,

    I know Mike personally…. I don’t like Mike personally… He is worse than what you read about….

  2. Greenwald shreds Rep. Rogers’ spying defense: He’s ‘exactly the reason’ we need transparency
    By Stephen C. Webster
    Sunday, June 9, 2013
    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/06/09/greenwald-shreds-rep-rogers-spying-defense-hes-exactly-the-reason-we-need-transparency/

    Appearing on CNN with host Howard Kurtz on Sunday, Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald responded to Rep. Mike Rogers’ (R-MI) allegation that he doesn’t really “have a clue” about what’s going on with the National Security Agency’s massive spying programs, saying that people like Rogers are “exactly the reason” why this whole process requires transparency.

    “First of all, to the extent that politicians like Republican Mike Rigers are running around boating that only they know, but not the rest of us know, about what the U.S. government is doing in terms of spying on its own citizens, that to me is exactly the reason why transparency is so vital here,” he said. “We shouldn’t have a massive spying aparatus being constructed completely beyond democratic accountability and beyond the knowledge of the citizens on whom it is spying… That’s exactly why, as a journalist, I think it’s so vital to shine light on what it is that the government is doing.”

    Greenwald also responded to Rogers’ other claim: that he’d done real damage to U.S. national security by helping reveal the widespread nature of the NSA’s spying dragnet.

    “Every terrorist on the planet already knows, and has known for a long time, that the United States is trying to surveil their communications, eavesdrop on their telephone calls, read their emails. Any terrorist who isn’t already aware of that is a terrorist incapable of tying their shoes, let alone detonating a bomb successfully in the United States. That isn’t anything about what we disclosed.”

    “What we disclosed is that the American government is surveilling its own citizens, people who are suspected of no wrongdoing,” he went on. “The only thing that has been damaged here is not national security. What has been damaged is the reputation and credibility of the political officials who want to hide behind top secret designations to conceal their own wrongdoing, and that’s really what they’re angry about.”

  3. Does anyone recall Biden claimimg the HOP wanted to put black voters in chains? Ironic, our latest client state, Egypt, removed the language in the old Constitution forbidding slavery.

    Citizena of the US gave tax breaks to ISPa for faster, better internet service, not so we could be data mined e.g. We are paying for our own chains.

  4. This article is a decent explanation of why I’m gobsmacked that any “oppose oppressive government” wing of the NRA has not been campaigning against Government/NSA data harvesting.
    http://kieranhealy.org/blog/archives/2013/06/09/using-metadata-to-find-paul-revere/

    The writer explains how the British Government could have used metadata to identify Paul Revere – and presumabaly arrest him and others before any unpleasantness could arise. And no bell-ringing for you Sarah Palin!

    “What a nice picture! The analytical engine has arranged everyone neatly, picking out clusters of individuals and also showing both peripheral individuals and—more intriguingly—people who seem to bridge various groups in ways that might perhaps be relevant to national security. Look at that person right in the middle there. Zoom in if you wish. He seems to bridge several groups in an unusual (though perhaps not unique) way. His name is Paul Revere.”

  5. I knew I had this before. check the date:

    http://yahoo.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-05-10-nsa_x.htm

    excerpt:
    By Leslie Cauley, USA TODAY
    The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.

    The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans — most of whom aren’t suspected of any crime. This program does not involve the NSA listening to or recording conversations. But the spy agency is using the data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity, sources said in separate interviews.

    It’s the largest database ever assembled in the world,” said one person, who, like the others who agreed to talk about the NSA’s activities, declined to be identified by name or affiliation. The agency’s goal is “to create a database of every call ever made” within the nation’s borders, this person added.

    For the customers of these companies, it means that the government has detailed records of calls they made — across town or across the country — to family members, co-workers, business contacts and others.

    The three telecommunications companies are working under contract with the NSA, which launched the program in 2001 shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the sources said. The program is aimed at identifying and tracking suspected terrorists, they said.

  6. article includes video interview.

    http://www.boston.com/politicalintelligence/2013/06/09/leaker-nsa-program-can-good-conscience-allow-the-government-destroy-privacy/XRdy3yUfaYZM0EP7kWJiZO/story.html

    A British newspaper Sunday revealed the source of the leak revealing the NSA’s extensive surveillance of US communications.

    Edward Snowden, a former CIA technical assistant who now works for a defense contractor with ties to the National Security Agency, asked the Guardian newspaper to reveal his identity.

    “I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong,” he told the newspaper in a remarkable, rambling interview that touched on his reasons for the leak, how he took precautions in not revealing documents that could harm particular people, how he became disillusioned, and how he expects his life as he knows it to end. “I don’t want the story to be about me. I want it to be about what the US government is doing.”

    “I’m willing to sacrifice all of that because I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, Internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.”

    The Guardian first disclosed that the NSA has been collecting cellphone metadata — time of calls, their length, their destination, but not the contents of the conversation — for many business calls within the United States and from the United States to foreign countries. Since the disclosure, President Obama and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper have acknowledged the program, saying it is an essential tool for revealing possible patterns that could lead to discovering terrorism plots. They said the program was overseen by a secret spy court.

    “My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.” said Snowden, who added that he has been holed up in a hotel room in Hong Kong and hopes to receive asylum, possibly from Iceland.

  7. On This Week Greenwald said expect more … more information about Big Brother’s voyeurism is in the mail.

  8. Mel Brooks is laughing himself to the Goldman Sachs bank! Barack (Barry) Obama (Soetoro) is Cleavon Little. To quote the “Blazing Saddles” screenplay: “The Sheriff’s a N****r.” Over and out.

  9. “No healthy democracy can endure when the most consequential acts of those in power remain secret and unaccountable.” -Glenn Greenwald

    It’s so much worse than many believe…

  10. ‘4 Intelligence Officials’ Allegedly Joke Of ‘Disappearing’ NSA Leaker, Reporter

    Posted: 06/08/2013 10:57 pm EDT

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/08/intelligence-officials-nsa-leak_n_3409726.html

    Excerpt:

    Leading foreign policy analyst Steve Clemons said he witnessed a rather disturbing conversation while waiting for a flight at the Dulles airport on Saturday.

    According to Clemons, four men sitting near him were discussing an intelligence conference they had just attended, and turned to the topic of the NSA leaks. One said that both the reporter and leaker should be “disappeared,” a term used to describe secret murders and abductions carried out by authoritarian governments. Clemons said on Twitter the suggestion seemed to be “bravado” and a “disturbing joke.” He said that the officials were talking loudly, “almost bragging.”

    HuffPost asked Clemons via Twitter how he could be sure they were in the intelligence community and he noted that “one wore a white knit national counterterrorism center shirt.” But more importantly, he said, the conversation led him to conclude that they were certainly in the community, especially given the conference they talked about attending. They discussed former Ambassador John Negroponte as having been in attendance. (If you know what conference that was, email openreporting@huffingtonpost.com.)

    Clemons, who is editor at large at The Atlantic, said he did not know who the officials were or what agency they were with. He recorded part of the conversation and took some photos, which he plans to post online.

  11. Yea, Losutter could face more time than the rapists, who after 2-3 months in a state facility will likely be moved later this month to a “privately run residential rehabilitation center” called the Lighthouse Youth Center at Paint Creek, which “has no bars or fences outside on their 33-acre property.”” Meanwhile, the grand jury looking into the possibility of other attendant crimes, like a cover-up by coaching staff, has been empaneled since late April but taken more time off than it has spent working.

    This whole situation kind of looks like there’s a guardian angel with heavy influence looking out for the high-school/football team. I wonder if the FBI just swoops in to pick low hanging fruit or favors were called in? I suppose anything with the name “Anonymous” attached is fair game if you’ve declared war on whistle blowers.

    http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/04/steubenville-search-warrants-grand-jury/64627/

    http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/06/steubenville-hacker/65976/

  12. Off Topic:

    FBI Raid On Deric Lostutter, AKA KYAnonymous, Was In Connection With Steubenville Hack
    By Hunter Stuart
    Posted: 06/07/2013
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/07/deric-lostutter-raid-kyanonymous-steubenville_n_3403000.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

    Excerpt:
    A 26-year-old Kentucky man has revealed that his home was the subject of an aggressive raid by a group of FBI agents last month in connection with an Anonymous hack that helped publicize key social media events in the Steubenville rape case.

    Deric Lostutter, also known by his screen name KYAnonymous, told The Huffington Post over the phone that on April 15, FBI agents raided the Winchester, Ky., house he shares with his girlfriend and brother and that he was told he could face jail time if he let the story get out.

    Lostutter, a self-employed IT security consultant and self-described Anonymous member, said on his blog that he’d just returned from a turkey hunt when he noticed what appeared to be a FedEx truck in his driveway.

    “As I open the door to great [sic] the driver approximately 12 F.B.I. Swat Team agents jumped out of the truck screaming for me to ‘Get The F**k Down’ with m-16 assault rifles and full riot gear armed safety off, pointed directly at my head,” Lostutter wrote.

    “They seized my laptop, my girlfriend’s laptop, flash drives, music CDs, an external hard-drive, two cell phones and my brother’s xbox 360 for some reason,” Lostutter told HuffPost.

    The soft-spoken 26-year-old, who’s also known by his hip-hop moniker, Shadowrapz, says he was a key figure in hacktivist collective Anonymous’ efforts to publicize what happened the night an intoxicated 16-year-old Ohio girl was raped by two high school football players.

    Lostutter says he was the one who published a trove of incriminating social media photographs, videos and messages that had been posted by Steubenville football players and that documented and ridiculed the victim.

    “The tweets, screenshots, Instagrams. … Pretty much everything you’ve seen in the media, that came through me,” Lostutter said.

    Lostutter also told HuffPost that the cache of social media posts was sent to him by Michelle McKee, who had received them from Alexandria Goddard, an activist and blogger, who had originally tracked down the posts, which at the time were publicly available and weren’t obtained by hacking…

    The FBI’s search warrant for Lostutter’s home states that he may have committed federal crimes such as “computer crimes” and “aggravated identity theft,” as well as “identity theft, attempt and conspiracy.”

    Lostutter told HuffPost he received an email from the FBI saying he would receive a “target letter” indicting him for a federal offense as part of a federal grand jury trial. He has hired a lawyer from the Whistleblower Defense League, a legal activist group that defends journalists, whistleblowers and hackers.

    If convicted of federal computer crimes, Lostutter could face up to 10 years in jail, Mother Jones reports. Meanwhile, convicted rapists Ma’lik Richmond and Trent Mays were sentenced to only one year and two years, respectively.

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