NSA Refuses To Confirm That It Has Not Spied On Congress While Secret Court Renews Massive Surveillance Program

NSA logo smallBernieSandersSen. Bernie Sanders asked the National Security Agency (NSA) a question that one would have thought would be easy to answer: has the NSA spied on Congress with its massive surveillance programs? The answer that came back was chilling in what it did not say. The NSA would only assure Sanders that it has “the same privacy protections as all U.S. persons.” That must be a bit unnerving for Congress since it has allowed the NSA to strip citizens of the most basic privacy protections.


Sanders did not leave much room for wiggling by defining “spying” as “gathering metadata on calls made from official or personal phones, content from websites visited or e-mails sent, or collecting any other data from a third party not made available to the general public in the regular course of business.”

The agency responded to Sanders with the assurance of “NSA’s authorities to collect signals intelligence data include procedures that protect the privacy of U.S. persons. Such protections are built into and cut across the entire process. Members of Congress have the same privacy protections as all U.S. persons.”

Attorney General Eric Holder also deflected answering the same question at a congressional hearing last summer.

We could ask again how we came to this moment. There was a time when the failure to answer this question in the negative would have led to furious hearings and bipartisan investigations. However, once again, liberals and Democrats are largely silent — choosing personality over principle. It is yet another example of how Obama has divided the civil liberties movement in the United States.

In the meantime, the highly controversial secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (that is widely viewed as a rubber stamp for the intelligence community) renewed its approval of the National Security Agency’s telephone-records program on Friday — giving the government a new three-month window to collect data on all Americans’ phone calls. That is the 36th time the program has been approved by the FISA, which allows for no opposing counsel or public access to the court. Under the FISA law, the standard guarantees surveillance orders with virtually no articulated suspicion in comparison to the standards under the Fourth Amendment.

Source: CNN

75 thoughts on “NSA Refuses To Confirm That It Has Not Spied On Congress While Secret Court Renews Massive Surveillance Program”

  1. The rest of the text, minus the actual e-mails, which can’t be copied. The “scribd” link won’t post, either.

    “The documents returned in the records request pertain specifically to police preparations for the Million Mask March in Seattle, Washington. According to the documents, the protestors, many of whom identify as anarchists, set out to oppose “the corporate control of all aspects of our daily lives,” and “the use and expansion of the FBI, DHS, NSA and other government agencies for the sole purpose of silencing free speech, and treating us like terrorists.” Little did the activists know that ‘homeland security’ agencies were busy monitoring their protest preparations, in cooperation with one of the most powerful banks in the country.

    A 2013 report on corporate espionage directed against protest movements and NGOs asserted that as many as one in four corporate accountability activists might actually be a private spy.

    As the Bank of America corporate security VP said in her email to a Washington State trooper, “the Private-Public Partnership [works] great”! But who does it work for, the powerful or we the people?”

  2. Jill, I have no idea if this will work, but will try posting it in sections.

    Bank of America employs 20 full-time social media spies, watches anarchists and occupy protesters

    Submitted by sosadmin on Sat, 01/04/2014 – 16:22

    Bank of America works with fusion centers, the FBI, state and local police, and campus security to monitor public protest in the United States, newly disclosed documents confirm.

    A Washington state public records request has unearthed an email chain which includes a message from a Vice President of Global Corporate Security for Bank of America, describing efforts to combat economic justice organizing. The official explains that the powerful financial institution employs a staff of 20 full-time social media spies, and references public-private surveillance efforts directed at activists who aim to hold banks accountable for social crises like the foreclosure disaster.

    The bank official, Kimberly Triplett-Kolerich, says she is a former Washington State Patrol officer with 25 years of experience in law enforcement. On September 23, 2013, Triplett-Kolerich wrote:

    I am [now] the Operational Criminal Intel Analyst for Bank of America for the 14 western states and also am the NW Executive Protection Market Manager. From time to time I will see items that I believe will be of use to my friends at WSP–especially during session. May Day I will pick your brain for intel and I will give you a lot also–the Public-Private Partnership worked great last year and hopefully being ahead of the Anarchists will protect all of you from protests/arrests/injury.

    If you find any intel on Anarchists or Occupy Protesters please let me know–I will most likely find it first as Social Media trolling is not what the WSP does best–Bank of America has a team of 20 people and that’s all they do all day and then pass it to us around the country!!

  3. Above is the link to really important information. I have tried multiple times in multiple ways to post a short excerpt. Please read the link. I found it at naked capitalism. We need to understand how bad it is.

  4. “The page comes up black with a bunch of red lines where I had just typed something. Is this happening to others on this site?”

    Jill,

    I had a similar problem on Wikipedia on a couple of occasions. Rebooting seemed to solve the problem.

    Have you tried posting just the link, if there is one?

    How about retyping the information (“a pain” and time-consuming, but…)? I’ve run into hidden formatting issues that seem to pose a problem for WP.

    Having said all this, I’m not diminishing your concerns… As we both know, we’re living in some pretty strange times.

  5. I tried to post just a small bit of info without a link. No, even the information without the link will not go through.

    This happens to me all the time. When I try to write posts, half or more of what I am writing disappears. I cannot look back over what I wrote because it won’t be available to me until after I have posted. The page comes up black with a bunch of red lines where I had just typed something. Is this happening to others on this site?

    1. Jill, just a hint or tip re posting. In order to work around the sometimes lost posts compose your thoughts in a text document and then cut and paste the copy into the field.
      Gives you a better composing platform, history of your writing – if you choose to save the documents in a folder, and most of all, to be able to re-copy and re-send if things get lost as you describe here.

  6. No, it will not post. Evidently BOA, along with USGinc. has its own social media and blog watchers. They don’t want correct but damaging info in the public domain.

    JT, I believe your blog is monitored by USGinc. I have had so many posts that won’t go through because they contain information that this govt. or its corporate partners don’t like.

  7. http://privacysos.org/node/1293

    Bank of America works with fusion centers, the FBI, state and local police, and campus security to monitor public protest in the United States, newly disclosed documents confirm.

    A Washington state public records request has unearthed an email chain which includes a message from a Vice President of Global Corporate Security for Bank of America, describing efforts to combat economic justice organizing. The official explains that the powerful financial institution employs a staff of 20 full-time social media spies, and references public-private surveillance efforts directed at activists who aim to hold banks accountable for social crises like the foreclosure disaster.

  8. When I tried to post an excerpt of an article about Bank of America spying in concert with fusion centers against dissenters, it will not post. Gosh, is this site being monitored?

    Will someone grab it please? Thanks.

  9. Trevor Timm:

    “New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson probably said it best when she flatly stated last year, “No story about details of government secrets has come near to demonstrably hurting the national security in decades and decades.”

    Virtually any time newspapers print something the government doesn’t like, they will claim it hurts national security without providing any details or proof. This is standard operating procedure for them, and news organizations should not be scared to push back on such claims, without direct evidence to the contrary.” (Trevor Timm, link in previous comment @ 10:47 a.m.)

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