ALL Digital Communications In The United States Are Being “Captured” By Government Surveillance Systems

Mac Slavo

SHTFPlan.com
May 9, 2013

You may be reading this article in the privacy of your own home, but somewhere in a National Security Agency control center your every move is being tracked. What time you logged on this morning, the web site you visited, how long you stayed and even what you said in the comments section – all of it – has been cataloged and possibly even flagged for suspicious activity.

Several years ago, to the disbelief of many, we discussed the tracking and archivingcapabilities of advanced monitoring systems being implemented by the government. We noted that everything you do on a daily basis is being tracked.

Since then, the government has further expanded their capabilities. In fact, their ability to monitor Americans has increased to such an extent that they’ve built a data center so  massive that it can store over a yottabyte of information; that’s 1 trillion terrabytes, or about 100 trillion high definition DVD’s worth of information. The NSA’s new data center is such a game changer, that it prompted one whistle blower to come forward:

Domestically, they’re pulling together all the data about virtually every U.S. citizen in the country and assembling that information, building communities that you have relationships with, and knowledge about you; what your activities are; what you’re doing.

We’re talking about every digital data bit in existence here. If it crosses an internet pipeline (and that includes your phone calls), it’s being logged.

Many Americans may not realize this, but nothing that you do on your cell phone or on the Internet will ever be private again. According to the Washington Post, the NSA intercepts and stores an astounding amount of information every single day…

Every day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications. The NSA sorts a fraction of those into 70 separate databases.

But even the Washington Post may not have been aware of the full scope of the surveillance.  In fact, National Security Agency whistleblower William Binney claims that the NSA has collected “20 trillion transactions” involving U.S. citizens…

In fact, I would suggest that they’ve assembled on the order of 20 trillion transactions about U.S. citizens with other U.S. citizens.

What’s even more frightening is not that they can log and cross reference this information, but that they have the ability to monitor these data flows in real-time.

What does this mean?

As noted by Liberty Blitzkrieg, it means that all digital communications – that includes phone calls, text messages, emails and even live internet chat – are being actively monitored and captured, and they can be recalled at the push of a button.

This isn’t some new and emerging technology; it’s happening right here and now.

It’s not just a theory. It’s fact. It has been confirmed time and again, most recently by former counter intelligence FBI agent Tim Clemente:

On the National Security side of the house we have assets. There’s lots of assets at our disposal throughout the intelligence community. And also, not just domestically but overseas. Those assets allow us to gain information and intelligence on things that we can’t use ordinarily in a criminal investigation, but are used for major terrorism investigations or counter-intelligence investigations.

I’m talking about all digital communications are… there’s a way to look at digital communications in the past. I can’t go into detail of how that’s done or what’s done.

I can tell you that no digital communication is secure. These digital communications will be found out, the conversation will be known.

(Video via Liberty Blitzkrieg and The Daily Crux)

What’s more is that they are not logging this information just for the heck of it. They are using advanced algorithmic systems to cross-reference all of this information in such a way that they can easily connect the dots to determine everything from your purchasing habits to who you hung out with at the local watering hole yesterday evening.

And before you say, ‘well at least they don’t know what I was talking about when hanging out with friends last night’, understand that in all likelihood you have a personal monitoring device right in your pocket or purse. Should an interested party have reason to do so, they can easily activate the microphone and camera on your cell phone without your knowledge, so everything you say in confidence during a private conversation can be listened to by a third-party without your knowledge. This covert listening technology has been available to the FBI and other agencies for at least a decade.

The real question is, why does the government need these capabilities? They’ll argue that it’s to protect America from terrorists. But considering that that we’re talking about the real-time, 24/7 surveillance of every single citizen in this country, one has to wonder whether there is an ulterior motive.

Couple this with the massive ramp up in the militarization of domestic police forces across the United States, and the only answer that makes sense is that elements within the U.S. government are pursuing a strategy that aims to completely lock this country down and move it from a Republic in which an individual is free to do as they please without interference from the State, to a tyrannical regime where our every move and conversation is monitored to ensure our actions are not subversive to the control infrastructure.

In due course this fairly passive surveillance may well be utilized to identify “domestic terrorists” as broadly defined by the Patriot Act. Once an individual or group has been marked as extremist, the next order of business will be to detain them “legally” under the National Defense Authorization Act, which allows the government to seize an American citizen and hold them indefinitely without charge or trial.

Of course, they’d never do such a thing and something like that would require massive prison camps to be a viable strategy. And we all know those don’t exist. They’re also not stocking up billions of rounds of ammunition.

 

This article was posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 4:23 am

 

___________

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

FBI thinks they don’t need warrants to spy on email, Facebook and other electronic communication

image: cliff1066/Flickr

Madison Ruppert
Activist Post

New documents reveal that the Department of Justice takes a similar stance to that of the IRS in claiming that they do not necessarily need warrants to spy on emails, Twitter direct messages, Facebook chats and other private communications of Americans.

In the case of the IRS, the head of the agency said last month that they would abandon their policy that claimed the authority to read the emails of Americans without a warrant. However, the agency did not say that they would extend the new policy to all private electronic communications.

The new documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are excerpts from the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide (DIOG) of 2008 and 2012.

The fact that the two guides both say that FBI agents don’t need a warrant for unopened emails or other electronic communications if they’re over 180 days old is incredibly important.

Between the time the two guides were published, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in theUnited States v. Warshak case. That ruling states that the government has to obtain a probable cause warrant before they force email providers to hand over messages to law enforcement.

Unfortunately, as the ACLU points out, that decision only applies in the four states covered by the Sixth Circuit.

Therefore, the ACLU filed their Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request “to find out whether the FBI and other agencies are taking advantage of a loophole in the outdated Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) that allows access to some electronic communications without a warrant. Distressingly, the FBI appears to think the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement doesn’t always apply.”

The 2012 guide, which was published two years after the Warshak decision, does not so much as mention the ruling nor does it mention that the Fourth Amendment might in fact require a warrant before any email can be read.

“In enacting the ECPA, Congress concluded that customers may not retain a “reasonable expectation of privacy” in information sent to network providers,” the 2012 DIOG states.

“[I]f the contents of an unopened message are kept beyond six months or stored on behalf of the customer after the e-mail has been received or opened, it should be treated the same as a business record in the hands of a third party, such as an accountant or attorney. In that case, the government may subpoena the records from the third party without running afoul of either the Fourth or Fifth Amendment,” the guide continues.

However, the FBI claimed that they’re just following the law and the guidelines set for them.

“In all investigations, the FBI obtains evidence in accordance with the laws and Constitution of the United States, and consistent with Attorney General guidelines,” the FBI said in a statement, according to CNET. “Our field offices work closely with U.S. Attorney’s Office to adhere to the legal requirements of their particular districts as set forth in case law or court decisions/precedent.”

“Our FOIA request was the FBI’s chance to produce any policy documents, manuals, or other guidance stating that a warrant is always required, but they failed to do so,” the ACLU states. “Instead, the documents we received strongly suggest that the FBI doesn’t always get a warrant.”

Interestingly, the ACLU notes that the fact that the FBI is reading some emails without a warrant has been confirmed in court.

Hidden within an opinion issued by a federal magistrate judge in Texas dealing with the FBI’s attempt to secretly infect a target computer with spyware is a statement which proves that this email surveillance indeed occurs without a warrant.

“[T]he Government also sought and obtained an order under 18 U.S.C. § 2703 directing the Internet service provider to turn over all records related to the counterfeit email account, including the contents of stored communications,” the opinion states.

That means, “as recently as March of this year, the FBI went after emails without a warrant. This is an affront to the Fourth Amendment,” according to the ACLU.

The IRS’s policy was sharply criticized in a letter signed by a dozen Republican and Democratic senators last month. “We believe these actions are a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures,” the senators said.

Will similar outcry be heard now that we know the Department of Justice thinks similar activities are permissible under the law? Only time will tell.

On top of the FBI documents, the ACLU obtained records from six offices of U.S. Attorney sin California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan and New York.

They also obtained documents from the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, which gives legal advice to both federal prosecutors and law enforcement agencies. Unfortunately, the Criminal Division actually withheld more documents than they released to the ACLU.

The documents from these offices revealed “a confusing picture of federal policy,” as the ACLU puts it.

The ACLU only received two paragraphs from the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. The paragraphs are from an unidentified document with no cover page or any contextual information, making it impossible to know if it reflects current policy.

However, the document states that law enforcement can obtain “opened electronic communications or extremely old unopened email” without a warrant.

Excerpts from an October 2012 document from the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois states that a warrant is indeed required for text messages, voicemails, emails, Facebook communications and “private tweets” on Twitter, showing that there is a clear difference between offices.

However, the document does not have explanatory information or a cover page, making it impossible to know if it is considered binding policy for prosecutors or how broadly the procedures are applied.

While the ACLU states that the “six U.S. Attorneys’ offices also told us in this email that since Warshak, they have not authorized a request to a court for access to the contents of electronic communications without a warrant,” the Texas magistrate judge’s opinion shows that at least one U.S. Attorney’s office authorized such a request this year.

Suffice it to say, even with the documents obtained by the ACLU, “the government’s actual position is far from clear.”

Indeed, it is rife with contradictions and policies that vary from office to office with no clear federal policy holding to the Fourth Amendment.

The ACLU and many other groups contend that Congress needs to reform the ECPA in order to make it abundantly clear that a warrant is indeed required for law enforcement to access all electronic communications.

“Reform legislation is making its way through the Senate now, and the documents released by the U.S. Attorney in Illinois illustrate that the law can be fixed without harming law enforcement goals,” the ACLU states. “If you agree that your email and other electronic communications should be private, you can urge Congress to take action here.”

Indeed, even though the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed the ECPA reform legislation, much is left to be done. Without taking action, no one can have any legitimate expectation of any change whatsoever.

I’d love to hear your opinion, take a look at your story tips and even your original writing if you would like to get it published. Please email me at Admin@EndtheLie.com

Please support our work and help us start to pay contributors by doing your shopping through our Amazon link or check out some must-have products at our store.

This article first appeared at End the Lie.

Madison Ruppert is the Editor and Owner-Operator of the alternative news and analysis database End The Lie and has no affiliation with any NGO, political party, economic school, or other organization/cause. He is available for podcast and radio interviews. Madison also now has his own radio show on UCYTV Monday nights 7 PM – 9 PM PT/10 PM – 12 AM ET. Show page link here: http://UCY.TV/EndtheLie. If you have questions, comments, or corrections feel free to contact him at admin@EndtheLie.com

___________

Former FBI Counterterrorism Agent: “All Digital Communications” and Phone Calls are Recorded

May 7th, 2013

(VigilantCitizen) – In a CNN interview about the Boston Bombings investigations, a former FBI counterterrorism agent admitted a startling (yet unsurprising) fact: “all digital communications” are recorded and stored. All of them. All phone calls, all e-mails and all social media interactions. According to him, there is definitely a way of retracing and listening to any phone call made on US soil. While most Americans ignore or deny this reality, the shaping of the USA into a heavily monitored police state is complete. Here is part of the CNN interview.

The aftermath of the Boston Bombings caused the American police state to rear its ugly, repressive head. However, since U.S. citizens are still  traumatized from the bombings, they do not oppose it. From the imposition of martial law to the admission of illegal spying of U.S. citizens, “terrorism” is being used to justify illegal, invasive and unconstitutional actions by law enforcement.

Here’s a great article from The Guardian about the true extent of surveillance in the U.S.

Are all telephone calls recorded and accessible to the US government?

A former FBI counterterrorism agent claims on CNN that this is the case

The real capabilities and behavior of the US surveillance state are almost entirely unknown to the American public because, like most things of significance done by the US government, it operates behind an impenetrable wall of secrecy. But a seemingly spontaneous admission this week by a former FBI counterterrorism agent provides a rather startling acknowledgment of just how vast and invasive these surveillance activities are.Over the past couple days, cable news tabloid shows such as CNN’s Out Front with Erin Burnett have been excitingly focused on the possible involvement in the Boston Marathon attack of Katherine Russell, the 24-year-old American widow of the deceased suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. As part of their relentless stream of leaks uncritically disseminated by our Adversarial Press Corps, anonymous government officials are claiming that they are now focused on telephone calls between Russell and Tsarnaev that took place both before and after the attack to determine if she had prior knowledge of the plot or participated in any way.

On Wednesday night, Burnett interviewed Tim Clemente, a former FBI counterterrorism agent, about whether the FBI would be able to discover the contents of past telephone conversations between the two. He quite clearly insisted that they could:

BURNETT: Tim, is there any way, obviously, there is a voice mail they can try to get the phone companies to give that up at this point. It’s not a voice mail. It’s just a conversation. There’s no way they actually can find out what happened, right, unless she tells them?

CLEMENTE: “No, there is a way. We certainly have ways in national security investigations to find out exactly what was said in that conversation. It’s not necessarily something that the FBI is going to want to present in court, but it may help lead the investigation and/or lead to questioning of her. We certainly can find that out.

BURNETT: “So they can actually get that? People are saying, look, that is incredible.

CLEMENTE: “No, welcome to America. All of that stuff is being captured as we speak whether we know it or like it or not.”

“All of that stuff” – meaning every telephone conversation Americans have with one another on US soil, with or without a search warrant – “is being captured as we speak”.

On Thursday night, Clemente again appeared on CNN, this time with host Carol Costello, and she asked him about those remarks. He reiterated what he said the night before but added expressly that “all digital communications in the past” are recorded and stored:

Let’s repeat that last part: “no digital communication is secure”, by which he means not that any communication is susceptible to government interception as it happens (although that is true), but far beyond that: all digital communications – meaning telephone calls, emails, online chats and the like – are automatically recorded and stored and accessible to the government after the fact. To describe that is to define what a ubiquitous, limitless Surveillance State is.

There have been some previous indications that this is true. Former AT&T engineer Mark Klein revealed that AT&T and other telecoms had built a special network that allowed the National Security Agency full and unfettered access to data about the telephone calls and the content of email communications for all of their customers. Specifically, Klein explained “that the NSA set up a system that vacuumed up Internet and phone-call data from ordinary Americans with the cooperation of AT&T” and that “contrary to the government’s depiction of its surveillance program as aimed at overseas terrorists . . . much of the data sent through AT&T to the NSA was purely domestic.” But his amazing revelations were mostly ignored and, when Congress retroactively immunized the nation’s telecom giants for their participation in the illegal Bush spying programs, Klein’s claims (by design) were prevented from being adjudicated in court.

That every single telephone call is recorded and stored would also explain this extraordinary revelation by the Washington Post in 2010:

Every day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications.

It would also help explain the revelations of former NSA official William Binney, who resigned from the agency in protest over its systemic spying on the domestic communications of US citizens, that the US government has “assembled on the order of 20 trillion transactions about US citizens with other US citizens” (which counts only communications transactions and not financial and other transactions), and that “the data that’s being assembled is about everybody. And from that data, then they can target anyone they want.”

Despite the extreme secrecy behind which these surveillance programs operate, there have been periodic reports of serious abuse. Two Democratic Senators, Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, have been warning for years that Americans would be “stunned” to learn what the US government is doing in terms of secret surveillance.

tia logo

Strangely, back in 2002 – when hysteria over the 9/11 attacks (and thus acquiescence to government power) was at its peak – the Pentagon’s attempt to implement what it called the “Total Information Awareness” program (TIA) sparked so much public controversy that it had to be official scrapped. But it has been incrementally re-instituted – without the creepy (though honest) name and all-seeing-eye logo – with little controversy or even notice.

Back in 2010, worldwide controversy erupted when the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates banned the use of Blackberries because some communications were inaccessible to government intelligence agencies, and that could not be tolerated. The Obama administration condemned this move on the ground that it threatened core freedoms, only to turn around six weeks later and demand that all forms of digital communications allow the US government backdoor access to intercept them. Put another way, the US government embraced exactly the same rationale invoked by the UAE and Saudi agencies: that no communications can be off limits. Indeed, the UAE, when responding to condemnations from the Obama administration, noted that it was simply doing exactly that which the US government does:

“‘In fact, the UAE is exercising its sovereign right and is asking for exactly the same regulatory compliance – and with the same principles of judicial and regulatory oversight – that Blackberry grants the US and other governments and nothing more,’ [UAE Ambassador to the US Yousef Al] Otaiba said. ‘Importantly, the UAE requires the same compliance as the US for the very same reasons: to protect national security and to assist in law enforcement.’”

That no human communications can be allowed to take place without the scrutinizing eye of the US government is indeed the animating principle of the US Surveillance State. Still, this revelation, made in passing on CNN, that every single telephone call made by and among Americans is recorded and stored is something which most people undoubtedly do not know, even if the small group of people who focus on surveillance issues believed it to be true (clearly, both Burnett and Costello were shocked to hear this).

Some new polling suggests that Americans, even after the Boston attack, are growing increasingly concerned about erosions of civil liberties in the name of Terrorism. Even those people who claim it does not matter instinctively understand the value of personal privacy: they put locks on their bedroom doors and vigilantly safeguard their email passwords. That’s why the US government so desperately maintains a wall of secrecy around their surveillance capabilities: because they fear that people will find their behavior unacceptably intrusive and threatening, as they did even back in 2002 when John Poindexter’s TIA was unveiled.

Mass surveillance is the hallmark of a tyrannical political culture. But whatever one’s views on that, the more that is known about what the US government and its surveillance agencies are doing, the better. This admission by this former FBI agent on CNN gives a very good sense for just how limitless these activities are.

– Source: The Guardian

You’ve read correctly, “AT&T and other telecoms had built a special network that allowed the National Security Agency full and unfettered access to data about the telephone calls and the content of email communications for all of their customers.” This was revealed in 2007 yet most people are still calling those who claim that the US has turned into a police state “conspiracy theorists”.

The 4th Amendment clearly states:

“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 U.S. Constitution, created specifically to prevent the United States from turning into an oppressive dictatorship is under attack. From all sides.

Source: Vigilant Citizen

__________

 

Advertisements

About this entry