New York Times: Government Conducting Broader Searches Of Emails and Text Messages Than Previously Reported

President_Barack_ObamaOn the heels of President Barack Obama again assuring that public that there is no domestic surveillance programs on their communications, the New York Times is reporting even broader surveillance by the Administration than previously reported.

The New York Times is reporting this morning that the National Security Agency is “searching the contents of vast amounts of Americans’ e-mail and text communications into and out of the country.”

This includes people referencing names or emails according to this newspaper. Government officials are saying that it is all perfectly legal because Congress has given them carte blanche in the area. It is certainly true that Democrats have joined Republicans in stripping privacy to the bone. What is most striking is how our politicians, including Obama, continue to misinform the public despite these weekly reports and confirmations of surveillance. The disconnect is truly Orwellian. As shown by his appearance on Jay Leno, the President appears now to be relying entirely on his hold over many Democrats with a pitch that amounts to “who are you going to believe me or your own eyes?” The fact that the most detailed statements of the President would come on a comedy talk show only captures our current theater of the absurd.

Source: NY Times

37 thoughts on “New York Times: Government Conducting Broader Searches Of Emails and Text Messages Than Previously Reported”

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  2. The question I have, and the discussion that I believe should be had, is what are the threats that the President and the national security establishment see, that we do not, that lead them to insist on this surveillance society and undermining of civil liberties that have been such core tenets of our society?

    Freedom comes at a price, therefore we should not be sacrificing wholesale our way of life for terror threats that are containable and modest. Zero tolerance at unlimited cost is foolish. Juxtapose the threat and cost, even in lives, of small isolated terror incidents, to the number of people lost each year to smoking, auto accidents and gun violence, let alone to obesity and other risks. If we took the same extraordinary action for these preventable risks, we cold save tens of thousands of lives per year, yet we do little and this becomes mere background in our lives unless we are directly effected by one of them.

    With this in mind, it suggests, if there is thoughtfulness and restraint within the process that leads to these decisions, that there are threats that keep our leadership up at night, of much larger magnitudes, such as a nuclear device being smuggled and used within a U.S. city or a biological attack utilizing some virulent and deadly infectious contagion.

    If this is it the case, perhaps we should as a country, be discussing this, and what we are prepared to do. In the end, we may not be preventing such an occurrence, rather just working to postpone it. That is, it may not be a matter of if, but when. And, if we believe if these threats may persist indefinitely, rather than their being transitory during a unique historical period, if we think we can prevent them completely, then perhaps we should introspectively judge our success against the type of surveillance society we have created that could enable such an absolute and unlikely regime of prevention and what we give up for it.

  3. This president is not only the deepest disappointment ever, but by doubling down on Bush policy, he has raised “war criminal” and Stasi corruption to a level, such that, had they had the capacity, the old Soviets would have been green with envy. The police state knows no bounds. Look what he’s doing to whistleblowers; we need them because the govt. only lies. Never trust a politician, no matter how straight his necktie is (or how “blue” it is). He or she is only there to enrich him or herself. Govt of, for, and by the Corporation.

  4. NSA loophole allows warrantless search for US citizens’ emails and phone callsExclusive: Spy agency has secret backdoor permission to search databases for individual Americans’ communications
    James Ball and Spencer Ackerman
    theguardian.com,
    Friday 9 August 2013 12.08 EDT
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/09/nsa-loophole-warrantless-searches-email-calls

    Excerpt;
    The National Security Agency has a secret backdoor into its vast databases under a legal authority enabling it to search for US citizens’ email and phone calls without a warrant, according to a top-secret document passed to the Guardian by Edward Snowden.

    The previously undisclosed rule change allows NSA operatives to hunt for individual Americans’ communications using their name or other identifying information. Senator Ron Wyden told the Guardian the NSA’s authorities provide loopholes that allow “warrantless searches for the phone calls or emails of law-abiding Americans”.

    The authority, approved in 2011, appears to contrast with repeated assurances from Barack Obama and senior intelligence officials to both Congress and the American public that the privacy of US citizens is protected from the NSA’s dragnet surveillance programs.

  5. OS,
    pretty scary stuff. Let’s hope Lavabit is successful in its appeal of the apparent gag order.

  6. I’ve been quietly reading this blog and enjoying the conversations for quite some time now. So many people have added helpful links related to the stories at hand. The more we know, the better we can rein in the government.

    Related to the blog post at hand about broader searches and President Obama shamelessly lying to the American public (and world) is a story out of the Guardian about “the email service reportedly used by surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden abruptly shut down on Thursday after its owner cryptically announced his refusal to become “complicit in crimes against the American people.”

    The article at the Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/aug/08/lavabit-email-shut-down-edward-snowden

    It’s a double-whammy, too. He wants to use his First Amendment rights to tell his customers why he closed his company abruptly but “Congress has passed laws that say otherwise. As things currently stand, [he] cannot share [his] experiences over the last six weeks, even though [he has] twice made the appropriate requests.” See Lavabit’s website for the letter to his customers.

  7. As I have said many times, do not vote for an R or a D for a national (or even state level?) office in November 2014. Give another party a chance at screwing up our country. Can they do worse than the Rs and Ds have done in the past 20 years?

  8. Hey, O-Bummer, jam your nose up here………..boy, I’ve got a bunch of sh*t for you

  9. I am oddly heartened by this blatant lie. The govt. appears afraid. Its members seem unable to act calmly, rationally or in touch with reality. They seem unable to even pretend these things (as in the past). We should keep demanding this govt. behave according to our Constitution, and don’t back down.

  10. Between these type searches and law enforcement officers doing “cavity” searches – is there anywhere we can put legal “private” matter/issues/items and feel at liberty to have same?

    I’m just sayin………

  11. There exists technology today that would effectively grant every internet user a VPN (virtual private network, what businesses use to secure telecommuniting employees) that does not rely the internet service provider, which is where most of this nonsense takes place.

    Congress must act. They granted these powers, time to yank them back. Demand for encrypted tech that bypasses the ISP is here and demand will only be going through the roof. Then you have a case where “some people” are protected and others are not, the basis for this becoming the new civil rights issue of our time.

    Seat grand juries today, beginning with James Clapper’s ridiculous lies.

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