NSA Collecting Phone Data On Millions of Americans

Posted: June 6, 2013 by chad98036 in Uncategorized

Yesterday the Guardian revealed that Verizon has been secretly ordered to share data on all phone calls made between two persons within the United States. 


It was also ordered to share data about calls between a foreign entity and a person within the United States.


Calls between two foreign nationals were exempted.


I know what you’re saying, “But, Chad you’re a hypocrite.  You supported the NSA’s warrantless wiretap program when Bush was in office.”

Allow me to respond – You are correct I did, and do support the initial NSA Warrantless Wiretap program, but there were some difference between that program, as I understand it, and this court order.

As I understand the original program it was targeted at specific individuals or entities, and one party of the call had to be of foreign origin.  This is important because the purpose of the program was to prevent terrorist actions directed by foreign actors against the United States so one party of the call had to be of foreign origin.  The NSA doesn’t require a warrant to gather foreign intelligence that is it’s specific mandate.  It also had the purpose of gathering specific actionable intelligence, and did so.  An attempted attack using a British Airways plane was prevented under the original program. 

This program on the other hand is hoovering up data on all the calls made by Verizon customers in the US.  So it’s not looking at specific targets.  It is also targeting calls between two domestic entities, so it’s not gathering foreign intelligence. Finally it is just gathering call metadata, so it’s not gathering actionable intelligence, it is building social network maps.  Now if you were trying to break up a large terrorist cell this would be a valuable tool, but it seems to me that you would go about by identifying a specific target and then building outward from there.  This is working backwards – they are building a map of which node is in contact with which node so that when they come across a number they can instantly know who it has been in contact with and place that person under surveillance.  As I read the order this is all calls made through Verizon and since Verizon is the nations largest carrier that essentially means every call made in the US. 

(I don’t know that is what they are actually doing but that is what I would do with all that data)

That’s the difference specificity vs. just a general big brotherish operation.  It’s a fine line I know and as I have said before you have to be very careful about this sort of thing, this is the perfect example of why.

The bit about Verizon not having to disclose data about foreign calls is unfathomable because the NSA is officially a foreign intelligence agency and that would be the data that they would be most entitled to.

I should note that the specificity claim is disputed but I have not seen any evidence of data gathering of this nature under the original program.

  1. jokelly65 says:

    now consider, that their gathering this data was supposed to remain secret and not be made part o Public information. they have every number you called, every number that called you, the locations those calls were made from, time and date. they only thing they supposedly do not have are the contents of that conversation.

    now just for fun, consider with your number they can send a signal and have you phone come on with out the screen lighting up, it can then snap a picture and shut back down, with your number they can use a program to have your phone listen in on your conversations while streaming it to their computers for recording,

  2. chad says:

    They probably can do that. In my case they would get mighty bored mighty fast but that’s neither here nor there. It goes back to my point about specificity. In the original program there were specific targets. I am told that this variant started in 2005. I don’t recall that but if it did shame on me for not catching on then and shame on Bush et. al. for approving it.

  3. azmrmacs says:

    Why the frik was it the British newspapers breaking this story?!?!?! What ever happened to American journalism? Or are we living in the age of the Soviet Union, and the non-US news sources are the equivalent of Radio America, coming to us via the Internet?

    • MikeD says:

      Snowden took his story directly to Glenn Greenwald at the Guardian. They broke the story, because that’s who he took it to.

  4. jokelly65 says:

    Breaking news, The leak has been identified. and the government is scrambling to justify ignoring the constitution. Edward Snowden was NSA Prism leak source – Guardian

    the BBC article went on to add this ” On Friday, Mr Obama defended the surveillance programmes as a “modest encroachment” on privacy, necessary to protect the US from terrorist attacks.

    “Nobody is listening to your telephone calls. That’s not what this program is about,” he said, emphasising that the programmes were authorised by Congress. ”

    first Mr. Obama, there is no such thing as a modest encroachment. either follow the constitution or resign. Next yes you are listening, that program has been around for years and was expanded under the patriot act.

    Congress can do what they want, but that doesnt make it constitutional and your lacky judges and Supreme court justices can say what they want but it does not change reality its an invasion of privacy and unconstitutional.

    “Mr Clapper’s office issued a statement on Saturday, saying all the information gathered under Prism was obtained with the approval of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court (Fisa)” again this does not make it constitutional you clod.

    and claiming this revelation hurts the country is BS. if all you were doing was mapping nodes, big deal but that is not what you were doing, Node mapping is done all the time by various companies.

    what you were doing is monitoring US citizens, and this places the NSA in Violation of the law, their CHarter only allow allows them to operate overseas not domestically.

    your only regret is the public found out its the target of your surveillance and not the terrorists. otherwise you would not have tried to keep it a secret.

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