Latest Post, Politics

Paul vows to return to Capitol Hill on Sunday to block bill, end NSA spying


Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul says he’ll try to block last-ditch efforts Sunday to renew NSA and other anti-terrorist and surveillance programs.

“I will force the expiration of the NSA illegal spy program,” Paul, also a 2016 presidential candidate, said Saturday. “I am ready and willing to start the debate on how we fight terrorism without giving up our liberty.”

The Libertarian-minded Paul led a filibuster-like effort over the Memorial Day weekend that helped block legislation to extend federal surveillance efforts but suggested upon leaving the Senate chambers that he might reconsider.

“It depends,” he said. “Sometimes things change as deadlines approach.”

Barring a last-minute deal in Congress, three post-Sept. 11 surveillance laws used against spies and terrorists will expire when Sunday turns into Monday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has called back the upper chamber for a rare Sunday session to decide on whether to accept a House-passed bill that extends the programs. Congress would then send the measure to President Obama to sign before midnight.

The House’s USA Freedom Act passed overwhelmingly in the Republican-controlled chamber but fell three votes short of the 60 needed to proceed in the Senate. And efforts in the upper chamber to extend the current law also have failed.

Much of the debate has focuses on the National Security Agency’s collection of Americans’ telephone calling records, authorized under one of the expiring provisions, Section 215 of the Patriot Act.

Independent evaluations have cast doubt on that program’s importance, and even law enforcement officials say in private that losing this ability would not carry severe consequences.

Yet the fight over those records has jeopardized other surveillance programs that have broad, bipartisan support and could fall victim to congressional gridlock.

The FBI uses Section 215 to collect other business records tied to specific terrorism investigations.

A separate section in the post-9/11 Patriot Act allows the FBI to eavesdrop, via wiretaps, on suspected terrorists or spies who discard phones to dodge surveillance. A third provision, targeting “lone wolf” attackers, has never been used and thus may not be missed if it lapses.

If the Freedom Act becomes law, the business-records provision and the roving-wiretap authority would return immediately. The NSA would resume collecting American telephone records for a six-month period while shifting to a system of searching phone company records case by case.

If no agreement is reached, all the provisions will expire.

A third possibility is a temporary extension of current law while lawmakers work out a deal, but House members have expressed opposition.

“I have fought for several years now to end the illegal spying of the NSA on ordinary Americans,” Paul also said in a statement released Saturday. “Let me be clear: I acknowledge the need for a robust intelligence agency and for a vigilant national security. I believe we must fight terrorism. …  But we do not need to give up who we are to defeat them.”

Failure to pass the legislation would mean new barriers for the government in domestic, national-security investigations, at a time when intelligence officials say the threat at home is growing.

Government and law enforcement officials, including Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, have said in recent days that letting the wiretap and business records provisions expire would undercut the FBI’s ability to investigate terrorism and espionage.

Lynch said it would mean “a serious lapse in our ability to protect the American people.” Clapper said in a statement Friday that prompt passage by the Senate of the House bill “is the best way to minimize any possible disruption of our ability to protect the American people.”

And President Obama used his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday to accuse opponents of hijacking the debate for political reasons. “Terrorists like al Qaeda and ISIL aren’t suddenly going to stop plotting against us at midnight tomorrow, and we shouldn’t surrender the tools that help keep us safe,” he said, using an acronym for the Islamic State group.

Civil liberties activists say the pre-Sept. 11 law gives the FBI enough authority to do its job. To bolster their case, they cite a newly released and heavily blacked out report by the Justice Department’s internal watchdog that examined the FBI’s use up to 2009 of business record collection under Section 215.

“The government has numerous other tools, including administrative and grand jury subpoenas, which would enable it to gather necessary information,” in terrorism investigations, the American Civil Liberties Union said in a statement.

Section 215 allows the FBI to serve a secret order requiring a business to hand over records relevant to a terrorism or espionage investigation. The FBI uses the authority “fewer than 200 times a year,” Director James Comey said last week.

The inspector general’s report said it was used in “investigations of groups comprised of unknown members and to obtain information in bulk concerning persons who are not the subjects of or associated with an authorized FBI investigation.”

But from 2007 to 2009, the report said, none of that material had cracked a specific terrorism case.

The report analyzed several cases, but most of the details are blacked out. In some cases, the FBI agent pronounced the 215 authority “useful” or “effective,” but the context and detail were censored.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

CONTINUE READING…

Advertisements
Latest Post, Save Our Freedom, ShereeKrider, SHEREEKRIDER

Make no mistakes…


 

 

sassy

 

In My Opinion

SMKrider

1/24/2014 8:35:49 PM

Make no mistake about it we are at war within our own country.  In fact the whole world is at war with each other.  Furthermore we have been at war in

Make no mistake about it we are at war within our own country. In fact the whole damn world is at war with each other.

Furthermore, we have been at war in our own country since the arrival of the Mayflower. But for this opinion I will only go back as far as September 11, 2001. The day the world changed forever for the citizens of the United States.

When the attack on the World Trade Center’s occurred on that day, we all assumed that it was a foreign entity which had cursed us with that attack. There are doubts about that scenario now. But it really does not matter what “entity” commanded that the attack take place. It only matters that it did and how it changed our perception of reality forever.

We were in shock. We were taken advantage of. We were misguided and conveniently suppressed of information. That information was the truth about what was about to happen us in the following ten years. In those years following we have become increasingly more oppressed and depressed as a general population.

We are becoming desperate as can be seen in the uprisings around the world, a general displeasure of the people can be seen across all countries, races, ethnic groups, civil rights advocates, and last but not least the OCCUPY movement which has went around the world. Violence is ever increasing.

The laws are ever changing and becoming more invasive of our private lives. Censorship and video surveillance have become the norm of our lives and freedom of speech although seemingly rampant and ongoing at the present online will meet its maker with passage of new laws to censor our every move across the World Wide Web.

“As if they haven’t been tracking us for the past ten years anyway”…

Like an owl swooping down on his prey, in the name of security we have lost almost all of our rights as U.S. Citizens. The Constitution is becoming nothing more than a historical document to put in a museum.

What happened to “government of the people, by the people and for the people”? It has become a plutocracy, “of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich”. How do we win this war? We won’t. They are smarter than us. We have proven that already by buying into the surveillance of virtually every moment of our daily lives via face book and other social networks. All of this technology came about for our convenience and we were naïve enough to carry it in through our front doors and even into our bedrooms. We are all walking tracking devices in one form or another or even multiple ways.

Who is running the government? We do not really know. Where did all the money go? We do not really know. Who ordered the attack on the World Trade Center’s? We don’t really know. Who can we trust? We do not know. Can you trust your bank? Can you trust your doctor or the pharmaceutical company that makes the real snake oil of this millennium? Probably not. If you can, you are one of the lucky few.

So now that we have spent the last 40 odd years protesting for one thing or another and all the faith, hope and respect has faded in the grave what do we do now? We have effectively completed their mission for them by creating the very thing that they needed to invoke “security for the country”. Do we have a voice? Yes. Do they hear us? Yes. Do they care what we think? Absolutely not. They are into their own agenda of the NWO and that is all there is to it. There is no stopping the bastards. They have more money, more “security forces” conveniently brainwashed into their agenda, and a lot more bullets than we, the people, could ever come up with. It would be another bloody civil war that would make the last one look like a walk in the park. They have us lock, stock and barrel.

You may argue the point that we still have our voting rights. And that would be a valid point. However, for some unknown reason most of the country still chooses not to exercise that right. The vote hasn’t been legitimate for many years and ignorance is or at least was bliss. It isn’t anymore.

So plant your gardens. Stock up on necessities as much as you can. And make an “escape” plan, (with an alternate plan “B”) just in case chaos breaks out near you. That is providing martial law hasn’t been invoked yet and your neighborhood isn’t staked off.

Say your prayers and ask forgiveness for your sins. Plan for the worst and hope and pray for the best.

Then just sit back, relax and watch what happens.

  “We know you can see us

Latest Post

Anger swells after NSA phone records collection revelations


outrage

 

Senior politicians reveal that US counter-terrorism efforts have swept up personal data from American citizens for years


NSA taps in to internet giants’ systems to mine user data, secret files reveal

 

The scale of America’s surveillance state was laid bare on Thursday as senior politicians revealed that the US counter-terrorism effort had swept up swaths of personal data from the phone calls of millions of citizens for years.

After the revelation by the Guardian of a sweeping secret court order that authorised the FBI to seize all call records from a subsidiary of Verizon, the Obama administration sought to defuse mounting anger over what critics described as the broadest surveillance ruling ever issued.

A White House spokesman said that laws governing such orders “are something that have been in place for a number of years now” and were vital for protecting national security. Dianne Feinstein, the Democratic chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee, said the Verizon court order had been in place for seven years. “People want the homeland kept safe,” Feinstein said.

But as the implications of the blanket approval for obtaining phone data reverberated around Washington and beyond, anger grew among other politicians.

Intelligence committee member Mark Udall, who has previously warned in broad terms about the scale of government snooping, said: “This sort of widescale surveillance should concern all of us and is the kind of government overreach I’ve said Americans would find shocking.” Former vice-president Al Gore described the “secret blanket surveillance” as “obscenely outrageous”.

The Verizon order was made under the provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (Fisa) as amended by the Patriot Act of 2001, passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. But one of the authors of the Patriot Act, Republican congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, said he was troubled by the Guardian revelations. He said that he had written to the attorney general, Eric Holder, questioning whether “US constitutional rights were secure”.

He said: “I do not believe the broadly drafted Fisa order is consistent with the requirements of the Patriot Act. Seizing phone records of millions of innocent people is excessive and un-American.”

The White House sought to defend what it called “a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats”. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Fisa orders were used to “support important and highly sensitive intelligence collection operations” on which members of Congress were fully briefed.

“The intelligence community is conducting court-authorized intelligence activities pursuant to a public statute with the knowledge and oversight of Congress and the intelligence community in both houses of Congress,” Earnest said.

He pointed out that the order only relates to the so-called metadata surrounding phone calls rather than the content of the calls themselves. “The order reprinted overnight does not allow the government to listen in on anyone’s telephone calls,” Earnest said.

“The information acquired does not include the content of any communications or the name of any subscriber. It relates exclusively to call details, such as a telephone number or the length of a telephone call.”

But such metadata can provide authorities with vast knowledge about a caller’s identity. Particularly when cross-checked against other public records, the metadata can reveal someone’s name, address, driver’s licence, credit history, social security number and more. Government analysts would be able to work out whether the relationship between two people was ongoing, occasional or a one-off.

The disclosure has reignited longstanding debates in the US over the proper extent of the government’s domestic spying powers.

Ron Wyden of Oregon, a member of the Senate intelligence committee who, along with Udell, has expressed concern about the extent of US government surveillance, warned of “sweeping, dragnet surveillance”. He said: “I am barred by Senate rules from commenting on some of the details at this time, However, I believe that when law-abiding Americans call their friends, who they call, when they call, and where they call from is private information.

“Collecting this data about every single phone call that every American makes every day would be a massive invasion of Americans’ privacy.”

‘Beyond Orwellian’

Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union, said: “From a civil liberties perspective, the program could hardly be any more alarming. It’s a program in which some untold number of innocent people have been put under the constant surveillance of government agents.

“It is beyond Orwellian, and it provides further evidence of the extent to which basic democratic rights are being surrendered in secret to the demands of unaccountable intelligence agencies.”

Under the Bush administration, officials in security agencies had disclosed to reporters the large-scale collection of call records data by the NSA, but this is the first time significant and top-secret documents have revealed the continuation of the practice under President Obama.

The order names Verizon Business Services, a division of Verizon Communications. In its first-quarter earnings report, published in April, Verizon Communications listed about 10 million commercial lines out of a total of 121 million customers. The court order, which lasts for three months from 25 April, does not specify what type of lines are being tracked. It is not clear whether any additional orders exist to cover Verizon’s wireless and residential customers, or those of other phone carriers.

Fisa court orders typically direct the production of records pertaining to a specific, named target suspected of being an agent of a terrorist group or foreign state, or a finite set of individually named targets. The unlimited nature of the records being handed over to the NSA is extremely unusual.

Senators Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, and Saxby Chambliss, the vice chairman, speak to reporters about the NSA cull of phone records.

Senators Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, and Saxby Chambliss, the vice chairman, speak to reporters about the NSA cull of phone records. Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Feinstein said she believed the order had been in place for some time. She said: “As far as I know this is the exact three-month renewal of what has been the case for the past seven years. This renewal is carried out by the [foreign intelligence surveillance] court under the business records section of the Patriot Act. Therefore it is lawful. It has been briefed to Congress.”

The Center for Constitutional Rights said in a statement that the secret court order was unprecedented. “As far as we know this order from the Fisa court is the broadest surveillance order to ever have been issued: it requires no level of suspicion and applies to all Verizon [business services] subscribers anywhere in the US.

“The Patriot Act’s incredibly broad surveillance provision purportedly authorizes an order of this sort, though its constitutionality is in question and several senators have complained about it.”

Russell Tice, a retired National Security Agency intelligence analyst and whistleblower, said: “What is going on is much larger and more systemic than anything anyone has ever suspected or imagined.”

Although an anonymous senior Obama administration official said that “on its face” the court order revealed by the Guardian did not authorise the government to listen in on people’s phone calls, Tice now believes the NSA has constructed such a capability.

“I figured it would probably be about 2015” before the NSA had “the computer capacity … to collect all digital communications word for word,” Tice said. “But I think I’m wrong. I think they have it right now.”

Daily Email

Get the Guardian’s daily US email

Our editors’ picks for the day’s top news and commentary delivered to your inbox each morning.

Sign up for the daily email

Continue Reading…