Posts tagged Patriot Act
FBI pressures Internet providers to install surveillance software
The U.S. government is quietly pressuring telecommunications providers to install eavesdropping technology deep inside companies’ internal networks to facilitate surveillance efforts.
FBI officials have been sparring with carriers, a process that has on occasion included threats of contempt of court, in a bid to deploy government-provided software capable of intercepting and analyzing entire communications streams. The FBI’s legal position during these discussions is that the software’s real-time interception of metadata is authorized under the Patriot Act.
Attempts by the FBI to install what it internally refers to as “port reader” software, which have not been previously disclosed, were described to CNET in interviews over the last few weeks.
Senator Wyden: 2 Patriot Acts, the one one can read and the “real” version which one can not
An effort is underway in the House (Thanks to Justin Amash, the Republican congressman from Michigan) to defund part of the NSA. Special interests within and around the agency are concerned. For pretty much forever the agency has been seen as untouchable.
And though the attached article doesn’t touch on this aspect, it is important for people to remember that there is a massive complex of government contractors which work for and /or supply the NSA which wields lots of power on the Hill. The amounts which flow to these “private” interests is likely huge. (Judging from their buildings which litter Northern Virginia and southern Maryland, we don’t get to see actually how much they get as the information is classified.)
But neither the agency nor its many private satellites probably need to worry too much. For all the attention the NSA is getting at this moment, for all the calls for greater transparency, Diane Feinstein says she has the NSA’s back. As she is the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee that matters. The dollars will likely keep flowing as before.
We can only hope that people like Mr. Amash in the House, and Mr. Wyden in the Senate will keep the light burning on this issue. The establishment wants America to be OK with the NSA spying on them. I’m thankful at least a few people in the Capitol care enough to say and do something even if the rest of Congress quietly bows and pretends that the Bill of Rights isn’t being violated.
“If we do not seize this unique moment in our constitutional history to reform our surveillance laws and practices, we will live to regret it,” he (Wyden) said.
“Sen. Mark Udall and I tried again and again to get the executive branch to be straight with the American public, but under the classification rules observed by the Senate, we are not even allowed to tap out the truth in Morse code,” he said. “And we tried just about everything else we could think of to warn the American people.”
“I tell Oregonians that there are effectively two Patriot Acts,” he said. “The first is the one they can read on their laptop in Medford or Portland, analyze and understand,” Wyden said. “Then there’s the real Patriot Act – the secret interpretation of the law that the government is actually relying on.”
About Nick Sorrentino
Nick Sorrentino is the co-founder and editor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. A political and communications consultant with clients across the political spectrum, he lives just outside of Washington DC where he can keep an eye on Leviathan.
NSA holds emergency hearing to fight off anti-surveillance amendment in Congress
The National Security Agency has invited certain members of Congress to a top secret, invitation only meeting to discuss a proposed amendment that could end the NSA’s ability to conduct dragnet surveillance on millions of Americans.
A letter circulated only to select lawmakers early Tuesday announced that NSA Director General Keith B. Alexander would host a question and answer session with members of Congress in preparation of a Thursday vote on Capitol Hill expected to involve an amendment introduced last month by Rep. Justin Amash (R-Michigan).
That amendment, a provision tacked along to a Department of Defense Appropriations Act along with nearly 100 others, aims to greatly diminish the NSA’s domestic spying powers in the wake of disclosures attributed to Edward Snowden, a 30-year-old former employee of Booz Allen Hamilton currently fighting extradition to the US where he faces charges of espionage for his role in leaking state secrets.
One of the leaked files released by Snowden to the UK’s Guardian newspaper details how the government’s interpretation of the PATRIOT Act’s Section 215 has allowed the NSA to collect call logs and other so-called “telephony metadata” pertaining to millions of Americans on a regular basis. If the Amash amendment is approved, it would end that authority.
The amendment, as it appears on the House of Representatives Committee on Rules website, “Bars the NSA and other agencies from using Section 215 of the Patriot Act to collect records, including telephone call records, that pertain to persons who are not subject to an investigation under Section 215.”
“It’s not a partisan issue. It’s something that cuts across the entire political spectrum,” Amash told the Rules panel. “In order for funds to be used by the NSA, the court order would have to have a statement limiting the collection of records to those records that pertain to a person under investigation,” Amash said, according to Politico. “If the court order doesn’t have that statement, the NSA doesn’t receive the funding to collect those records.”
Amash’s suggestion isn’t unheard of in the wake of a massive public backlash caused by Mr. Snowden’s disclosures, but it certainly isn’t sitting pretty with the NSA. According to Huffington Post, a letter circulated on Tuesday only hours after the Amash amendment was confirmed to be in order and expected to go up for vote this Thursday.
“In advance of anticipated action on amendments to the DoD Appropriations bill, Ranking Member C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger of the House Intelligence Committee invites your Member to attend a question and answer session with General Keith B. Alexander of the National Security Agency,” HuffPo quoted from the invitation.
The meeting, added journalist Ryan Grim, was scheduled to be held at a security level of top secret/SCI and was only open to certain lawmakers, echoing the secrecy involved in the very programs Amash aims to shut down.
In preparation for Amash’s amendment going up for vote, the activism group Demand Progress has http://act.demandprogress.org/letter/nsa_amash/a campaign in hopes it will encourage Americans to ask their representatives to vote in favor of the bill.
“As the NSA spying revelations continue to unfold, we increasingly find ourselves facing the reality that — at any moment — the federal government could be listening to our phone calls, watching our email traffic, keeping tabs on our Internet browsing, or worse,” the website reads. “But now we have our first real chance to fight back.”
Speaking to Huffington Post, Demand Progress executive director David Segal said, “To invoke that expert on surveillance George W. Bush: After this vote we’ll finally know who is with us in the cause to protect civil rights — and who is against us.”
A spokesperson for Rep. Amash told TIME Magazine on Tuesday afternoon that debate over the amendment is scheduled for Wednesday evening, with lawmakers expected to move for a vote the following morning. The amendment is being cosponsored by Rep. John Conyers, a Democrat from Amash’s home state of Michigan.
DC Report – Congress to Limit NSA Spying?
Published by NextNewsNetwork
Although NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden remains both in exile and in limbo, his disclosures regarding the National Security Agency’s pervasive surveillance program may lead to significant changes on Capitol Hill.
Republican Congressman Justin Amash of Michigan has proposed an amendment to the 2014 Defense Authorization Bill that would end the NSA’s mass collection of telephone records.
Democratic Congressman Rick Larsen of Washington is promoting a measure that would require telecom companies to make public disclosures of the type and volume of data they are required to turn over to the federal government.
A bipartisan group of 32 congressmen, led by Representatives Amash and Michigan Democrat John Conyers, backs a plan to restrict data collection under the so-called PATRIOT Act and to require more transparency on the part of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees the NSA’s eavesdropping program.
Roll Call reports that Republican leaders in the House of Representatives are “scrambling to quell a quiet libertarian rebellion” that may block consideration of the Defense appropriations bill unless there is a vote on Amash’s NSA amendment, as well as votes on ending military aid to Egypt and to Islamist rebels in Syria.
Fatal Consequences of Living in the NSA Surveillance State – Marcy Wheeler
Published by NextNewsNetwork
When Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the consequences of living in the NSA Surveillance State, Marcy Wheeler, known to civil libertarians by the cyber-nickname “Emptywheel,” had something to say about it. She has been a full-time commentator on individual liberties issues since 2007.
She holds a Bachelor’s Degree and a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Michigan.
Through her blog, Emptywheel.net, Ms. Wheeler has provided in-depth analysis of documents dealing with Guantanamo Bay, torture, personal privacy issues, and many other subjects of extreme importance to those who cherish individual freedom and the Bill of Rights.
We’re very grateful that she joins us today to discuss recent revelations regarding the NSA’s surveillance program.
Written by Ron Paul
If You Like the Surveillance State, You’ll Love E-Verify
The mandatory E-Verify system requires Americans to carry a “tamper-proof” social security card. Before they can legally begin a job, American citizens will have to show the card to their prospective employer, who will then have to verify their identity and eligibility to hold a job in the US by running the information through the newly-created federal E-Verify database. The database will contain photographs taken from passport files and state driver’s licenses. The law gives federal bureaucrats broad discretion in adding other “biometric” identifiers to the database. It also gives the bureaucracy broad authority to determine what features the “tamper proof” card should contain.
Regardless of one’s views on immigration, the idea that we should have to ask permission from the federal government before taking a job ought to be offensive to all Americans. Under this system, many Americans will be denied the opportunity for work. The E-Verify database will falsely identify thousands as “ineligible,” forcing many to lose job opportunities while challenging government computer inaccuracies. E-Verify will also impose additional compliance costs on American businesses, at a time when they are struggling with Obamacare implementation and other regulations.
According to David Bier of Competitive Enterprise Institute, there is nothing stopping the use of E-Verify for purposes unrelated to work verification, and these expanded uses could be authorized by agency rule-making or executive order. So it is not inconceivable that, should this bill pass, the day may come when you are not be able to board an airplane or exercise your second amendment rights without being run through the E-Verify database. It is not outside the realm of possibility that the personal health care information that will soon be collected by the IRS and shared with other federal agencies as part of Obamacare will also be linked to the E-Verify system.
Those who dismiss these concerns as paranoid should consider that the same charges were leveled at those who warned that the PATRIOT Act could lead to the government collecting our phone records and spying on our Internet usage. Just as the PATRIOT Act was only supposed to be used against terrorists but is now used to bypass constitutional protections in matters having noting to do with terrorism or national security, the national ID/mandatory E-Verify database will not only be used to prevent illegal immigrants from gaining employment. Instead, it will eventually be used as another tool to monitor and control the American people.
The recent revelations of the extent of National Security Agency (NSA) spying on Americans, plus recent stories of IRS targeting Tea Party and similar groups for special scrutiny, demonstrates the dangers of trusting government with this type of power. Creation of a federal database with photos and possibly other “biometric” information about American citizens is a great leap forward for the surveillance state. All Americans who still care about limited government and individual liberty should strongly oppose E-Verify.
DC Report – Revisiting the “Patriot” Act
Published by NextNewsNetwork
The ongoing controversy regarding the NSA’s wiretapping and data-mining program has refocused attention on the USA PATRIOT Act, which was enacted shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The NSA claims that their programs are fully authorized by the PATRIOT act by the FISA Amendments Act.
However, Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, who was the chief sponsor of the PATRIOT act, has condemned the NSA program as both improper and counterproductive. He says that the NSA’s surveillance program goes “far beyond what we intended with the law,” and notes that it did nothing to prevent the recent terrorist attack in Boston.
Senator Diane Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, dismisses concerns over the NSA’s snooping program, saying that it is subject to congressional oversight.
However, as Roll Call notes, Feinstein and her colleagues haven’t been all that diligent in reviewing the impact of the PATRIOT Act: In 2010, when the Senate took up the issue of extending the measure, the floor debate lasted all of twenty seconds.
Ben Swann – NSA’s Criminal Activity
Published on Jun 20, 2013
Ben Swann Full Disclosure is asking the questions the rest of the media is ignoring. Even by the overreaching standards of the Patriot Act, Ben Swann demonstrates how the NSA’s Prism program is clearly illegal.
Judge Napolitano Discusses Latest Edward Snowden Revelations
Posted by MichaelSavage4Prez Jun 13, 2013
Written by Adam Dick
US Government Spying: Constructing a ‘Turnkey Totalitarian State’?
The Washington Post reports that the ranking minority member of the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence seems not too concerned about the United States government collecting information about our phone conversations:
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, said, “This is nothing particularly new…. Every member of the United States Senate has been advised of this.”
He added: “It is simply what we call metadata that is never utilized by any government agency” unless an agency goes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges for further review of the information.
Using section 215 of the PATRIOT Act federal government agencies can require companies to hand over this and other personal information without the government establishing reasonable grounds, much less the constitutionally required probably cause, that the people whose information is sought are engaged in criminal activity.
When section 215 came up for re-authorization in 2011, Sens. Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, also members of the Senate Intelligence Committee with access to classified briefings on the US government’s use and interpretation of section 215 powers, warned that Americans would be concerned about the powers being exercised and promoted unsuccessful efforts to limit the exercise of these powers. Declan McCullagh detailed the senators’ concerns and legislative efforts.
Further, Sen. Chambliss’s suggestion that the FISA court will protect us from government snooping provides little comfort. That court ordered Verizon to hand over millions of individuals’ personal phone records. Indeed, the US Department of Justice reported to Congress that in 2012 the FISA court did not deny any of 1,789 applications for monitoring electronic communications.
National Security Agency whistleblower William Binney reminds us in the Washington Times that US government snooping on the “metadata” and content of vast amounts of email and phone calls has been ongoing for over a decade. For more explanation from Binney about the secret US government spying on our private lives check out James Bamford’s investigative report from last year in Wired that also goes into the details of the multi-year, billions-upon-billions of dollars build-up of facilities, technology, and manpower to spy on our activities on an unprecedented scale. The US government’s snooping has reached the point that Binney gives the following warning in Bamford’s article:
Sitting in a restaurant not far from NSA headquarters, the place where he spent nearly 40 years of his life, Binney held his thumb and forefinger close together. “We are, like, that far from a turnkey totalitarian state,” he says.
Written by Adam Dick