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Posts tagged ‘NSA warrantless surveillance controversy’

Pew Survey: Americans More Skeptical of NSA and Snowden.

Image: Pew Survey: Americans More Skeptical of NSA and Snowden

By Elliot Jager

A majority of Americans would like to see Edward Snowden prosecuted for leaking classified government information even though increasing numbers of Americans disapprove of the way the National Security Agency collects telephone and Internet data, according to the latest poll by the Pew Research Center and USA Today.

Compared to a Pew survey in July 2013 when 44 percent disapproved, now 53 percent of 1,504 adults polled Jan. 15-19 are against the NSA’s approach to data-collectionwhile 40 percent approve.

President Barack Obama’s Jan. 17 speech making some changes to NSA surveillance practices did not have much of an impact on those surveyed, Pew also reported.

The survey also found that Obama’s approval ratings since last month were essentially unchanged. Forty-nine percent of those surveyed continue to disapprove of how he is handling his job.

Americans were divided over whether Snowden’s leaks of NSA information has had any impact on the country, with 45 percent saying his revelations served the public interest and 43 percent saying they did some harm. However, a solid 57 percent of young people between 18 and 29 years of age said Snowden’s revelation about NSA domestic surveillance was definitely in the public interest.

Nevertheless, 56 percent of those surveyed wanted to see Snowden brought up on criminal charges for leaking the classified information to the press while 32 percent were opposed. Young people in the poll were split 42 percent to 42 percent on the question.

The poll also found that support for the NSA overall is down across party lines, with partisan differences slowly narrowing. In June, 58 percent of Democrats supported NSA data collection compared to 45 percent for Republicans. Today, approval of the programs has fallen to 46 percent for Democrats compared to 37 percent for Republicans.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

High-Ranking NSA Official Admits That America Has Become A Police State.

Last year, high-ranking NSA official Bill Binney said, “We are, like, that far from a turnkey totalitarian state.” Now, Binney says that the U.S. has already become a full-blown police state.

Binney told Washington’s Blog on Wednesday that:

“The main use of the collection from these [NSA spying] programs is for law enforcement. [See the 2 slides below].”


“These slides give the policy of the DOJ/FBI/DEA etc. on how to use the NSA data. In fact, they instruct that none of the NSA data is referred to in courts – cause it has been acquired without a warrant.”


“So, they have to do a ‘Parallel Construction’ and not tell the courts or prosecution or defense the original data used to arrest people. This I call: a ‘planned programed perjury policy’ directed by US law enforcement.”

“And, as the last line on one slide says, this also applies to ‘Foreign Counterparts.’” “This is a total corruption of the justice system not only in our country but around the world. The source of the info is at the bottom of each slide. This is a totalitarian process – means we are now in a police state.”

Binney, a 32-year veteran of the agency, was instrumental in the creation of the NSA’s surveillance program for digital information. He also served as the NSA’s senior technical director.

As a result, he’s been sought after by a multitude of media outlets, like CBSABCCNNNew York TimesUSA TodayFox News, and PBS. Concerning the collection of data by federal agencies mentioned by Binney, Washington’s Blog added that:

“By way of background, the government is spying on virtually everything we do.”

All of the information gained by the NSA through spying is then shared with federal, state and local agencies, and they are using that information to prosecute petty crimes such as drugs and taxes. The agencies are instructed to intentionally “launder” the information gained through spying, i.e. to pretend that they got the information in a more legitimate way … and to hide that from defense attorneys and judges.”source – CNS News.

by NTEB News Desk.

NSA Data Mining Has Scant Impact on Preventing Terrorism: Study.

The NSA’s controversial data mining surveillance program has had almost zero impact on preventing acts of terrorism, according to a study released Monday by New America Foundation, a non-partisan public policy institute.

“Our review of the government’s claims about the role that NSA ‘bulk’ surveillance of phone and email communications records has had in keeping the United States safe from terrorism shows that these claims are overblown and even misleading,” the report said.

The Washington Post reported last month that the National Security Agency tracks the locations of nearly 5 billion cellphones every day overseas, including those belonging to Americans abroad.

The non-profit think-tank analyzed 225 al-Qaida or al-Qaida inspired terrorism cases since 9/11 and under section 215 of the Patriot Act, data mining initiated only 1.8 percent of these cases, “at most.”

There is “no discernible impact on preventing acts of terrorism,” the report stated.
The metadata collection includes calls made and received from Americans on their phones, includes time and date of those calls, but not their content.

The foundation said the NSA program involving the surveillance of non-U.S. citizens outside of the U.S. under the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) played a role in only 4.4 percent of terrorism cases that were examined.

“Traditional investigative methods using informants, tips, and targeted intelligence operations provided the initial impetus for investigations in the majority of cases, while the NSA’s bulk surveillance programs to these cases were minimal.”

It added that telephone metadata did not expedite “the investigative process” in any of the cases they studied.

“The overall problem for U.S. counterterrorism officials is not that they need vaster amounts of information from the bulk surveillance programs, but that they don’t sufficiently understand or widely share the information they already possess that was derived from conventional law enforcement and intelligence techniques.

“This was true for two of the 9/11 hijackers who were known to be in the United States before the attacks on New York and Washington, as well as with the case of Chicago resident David Coleman Headley, who helped plan the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai,” the report says.

“And it is the unfortunate pattern we have also seen in several other significant terrorism cases,” the report said.

The Obama administration has been trying to do damage control since NSA leaker Edward Snowden revealed the extent of the NSA’s surveillance programs.

Intelligence officials have insisted the bulk surveillance program has been essential in crushing at least 50 potential terrorist events.

President Obama is expected to announce changes to the National Security Agency’s metadata surveillance program before he makes his State of the Union address on Jan. 28.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Cynthia Fagen

Obama Under Pressure to Move Soon on NSA Reform.

Image: Obama Under Pressure to Move Soon on NSA Reform

Lawmakers expect President Barack Obama to announce changes to the National Security Agency’s metadata surveillance program before he makes his State of the Union address on Jan. 28.

The president met in private session with 16 members of the House and Senate Thursday,reports The Hill, and while he did not endorse any specific reforms, he said the NSA’s surveillance programs will have to undergo reform, said lawmakers after the meeting.

“Close to half the members of Congress” think reforms and reductions should be made to Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which allows the NSA to collect bulk data on phone calls inside the United States, said Colorado Democratic Sen. Mark Udall.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama is still considering options, reports CBS News.

“He’s not yet finished with that and he is still soliciting input, which he did today, sort of reviewing the scope of the matter and some of the ideas that were presented,” Carney said.

Some parts of the program will still require reviews beyond the next few weeks, even if Obama makes an announcement, he added.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said after the meeting that he “wouldn’t be surprised a bit” if Obama makes an announcement next week.

“Many of us made clear our belief that the bulk collection of Americans’ phone calls must end,” Leahy said in a press statement. “This is consistent with the recommendations made by the President’s Review Group.”

Leahy acknowledged there are differences of opinion among lawmakers, “but at least the president knows where we stand.”

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has said she will kill legislation sponsored by Leahy and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., to end the phone records collections.

The Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology last month proposed ending the government’s storage of metadata. After the meeting, Feinstein bashed that plan, saying it could cost phone carriers as much as $60 million a year to store records.

But lawmakers said Obama is more likely to take other actions, including adding a public advocate on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Other senators at Thursday’s meeting included Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., the ranking GOP member on the intelligence panel; Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss.; Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.; and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. However, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., a prominent NSA critic, was not invited.

House members present were House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers , R-Mich.; House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.; Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich.; Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J.; Rep. Peter Visclosky, D-Ind.; Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.; and Sensenbrenner.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

CIA Whistle-blower Jim Garrow Survives Assassination Attempt And Tells All.

Desperate Times 

Right here on this show, on October 6, 2013, Dr. Jim Garrow revealed to the world for the first time anywhere, that he had spent 45 years working as a covert secret operative at the highest levels of government.



That revelation ignited a firestorm that led to the failed assassination attempt on his life just a few weeks ago. On tonight’s show, Dr. Jim has more to say..(are you listening, Obama?)..plenty more. Whatever you do, don’t miss this show.

With your radio host and bible teacher, Geoffrey Grider of Now The End Begins.

“Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7

by NTEB News Desk

Rand Paul: No Clemency for Snowden, But Just ‘A Few Years in Prison’.

Image: Rand Paul: No Clemency for Snowden, But Just 'A Few Years in Prison'


By Greg RichteR

While he doesn’t agree that NSA leaker Edward Snowden should be granted clemency for the national security secrets he has leaked, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., would like to see him get a sentence less than death or life in prison.

In a wide-ranging interview Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” Paul defended a statement he has taken heat over: that Snowden and National Intelligence Director James Clappershould “share a prison cell.” 

Clapper lied to Congress, Paul maintains, when he said in 2013 that the National Security Agency doesn’t gather intelligence on Americans.  Snowden’s revelations just weeks later showed Clapper’s words to be untrue, though the government maintains it must take in all phone and email records in order to get those of foreign terrorists.

Snowden doesn’t deserve a life sentence or death penalty, Paul said, because courts have ruled that his revelations show the intelligence community committing illegal acts. Paul added, however, that Snowden should get “a few years in prison” because it is not OK to leak state secrets.

Snowden will only voluntarily return to the United States from temporary asylum in Russia if he is offered a “fair trial” with a “reasonable sentence,” Paul said. Some of the people defending Clapper’s actions have said “off with his head or he should be hung from the nearest tree,” in reference to Snowden, he said.

History will show that Snowden revealed “great abuses of our government and great abuses of our intelligence community,” Paul said.

Paul also sees Clapper as “a patriotic person who wants to stop terrorism.” But by lying to Congress he discredited U.S. intelligence agencies with the public, he said.

Paul announced last week he was filing a class action lawsuit over the NSA spying activities. One single warrant should not apply to all Americans, Paul told ABC, but one of Snowden’s released documents showed that one warrant to Verizon applied to all their customers’ records.

“That, to my mind, smacks of a generalized warrant, and that’s what we fought the Revolutionary War over,” Paul said.

On other subjects:

Paul said he is not opposed to renewing the extension of long-term unemployment benefits, but he wants to make sure they are paid for before doing so.

“I think it’s wrong to borrow money from China or simply to print up money for it,” he said.

Paul said he is still having trouble enrolling in Obamacare, and isn’t even sure he and his family currently have insurance. The state of Kentucky automatically enrolled his son in Medicaid even though he was trying to sign up for insurance he would pay for, Paul said, holding up the Medicaid card issued to his son.

“This is an unfolding disaster,” he said of the Affordable Care Act.

On immigration reform, Paul said he opposes a bill by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., because it limits work visas and creates incentive for more illegal immigration.

The House of Representatives, Paul said, is not ready to grant blanket citizenship. He says Democrats should be willing to meet Republicans halfway. The sticking point, he said, will be whether Democrats insist on giving immediate voting privileges to people who came to the United States illegally.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Obama’s Second-Term Ratings: A Continuous Spiral Down.

Image: Obama's Second-Term Ratings: A Continuous Spiral Down


By Cathy Burke

President Obama’s second term has been marked by steadily dropping job approval ratings, a Gallup monthly chart released Friday shows.

The president ended 2013 with an average 41 percent approval rating in December, unchanged from November, the survey noted.

But Obama’s month-to-month rates crept consistently lower through most of the year, including a sharp 3-point drop in March, the analysis showed.

Gallup noted controversies involving the IRS, the National Security Agency and therough rollout of the Affordable Care Act all likely contributed to the poor showing.

In its breakdown, Gallup noted Obama’s approval rating averaged 52 percent, in what would be his yearly high — despite a dip into the 40s after his gun control proposals following the Newtown, Conn., school shootings.

The February average was 51 percent, but it sank to 48 percent in March following the budget sequestration. His rating improved in April to 49 percent, where it held in May as well, Gallup said.

But in June, when reports of the National Security Agency spy program surfaced, based on documents leaked from ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden, Obama’s approval took another hit, averaging 47 percent and then sinking a point per month, hitting 44 percent in September, the poll showed.

October’s government shutdown and the disastrous rollout of Obamacare pushed the ratings slide further, Gallup said; in late October “Obama brushed up against his own record-low approval rating of 38 percent” from 2011, Gallup noted. He ended the month with a 43 percent average.

Gallup noted a historical precedent for further decline after years of ratings drops; President George W. Bush saw a big decline in his fifth year in office amid the increasingly unpopular Iraq War, and his ratings never rebounded, Gallup said.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Sen. Paul Says He’s Suing over NSA Policies:

Sen. Rand Paul said Friday night he’s filing a class-action lawsuit against the Obama administration over the National Security Agency’s far-reaching data-collection policies.

In an interview on Fox News, the Kentucky Republican said he started the effort aiming it to “apply to millions of people … to say ‘No, you can’t have our records without our permission’.”

Paul said the “potential for the abuse exists” in the spy agency’s massive collection of cell phone data, including data from millions of unwitting Americans.

“We now have an administration … that has used the IRS to go after people,” he told Fox News. “… we wonder if they would use the [National Security Agency] that way… Even if a president isn’t going to abuse the power …. I’m concerned the president thinks he has the power.”

The announcement came on the same day the top-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court reauthorized the NSA to haul in phone records in bulk for 90 more days.

The NSA telephone metadata program, publicly leaked by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden, has been authorized 36 times over the past seven years, CNN reported.
Paul told Fox News he’s collected “several hundred thousand” people who will be part of the class-action lawsuit.

“We think everybody who has a cellphone would be eligible,” he said, urging people to sign up for inclusion in the legal action on his Facebook page.

“We want to overwhelm the government,” he said. “We object to the government looking at our records without our permission.”

Paul said he was particularly concerned about the collection of metadata that contains “private matters,” including medical, health and lifestyle information.

“The government should only look at that metadata with a warrant,” he argued.

Paul says the lead lawyer in the suit is Virginia’s former attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli.

“We’re hoping … to take it all the way to the Supreme Court,” he told Fox News.

“We want them to protect the Fourth Amendment, to protect the right of privacy… We think we can have security, defend ourselves against terrorism… without giving up our privacy.”

Paul said FISA rulings ought to be subject to appeal in “a public court.”

“We don’t think a question of constitutionality should be decided in secret,” he said.

Paul said he’s concerned the Obama administration is “going to whitewash this.”

“This has to be decided publicly by the Supreme Court,” he said.

Paul also criticized Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who testified no collection of Americans’ data was done intentionally, saying “lying to Congress is a felony.”

“I frankly think it would be enlightening to have James Clapper and Snowden share a prison cell.”

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© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Ex-Homeland Security Boss Napolitano: No Clemency for Snowden.

Image: Ex-Homeland Security Boss Napolitano: No Clemency for Snowden


By Cynthia Fagen

Former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Friday she “would not put clemency on the table at all” for exiled NSA leaker Edward Snowden, The Hill’s Briefing Room blog reports.

“I think Snowden has exacted quite a bit of damage and did it in a way that violated the law,” Napolitano said in an interview airing on “Meet the Press” this Sunday.

She said damage from Snowden’s actions will be felt for years to come.

Asked if the administration should consider a deal that would allow the former NSA contractor to avoid jail time in return for unreleased documents, Napolitano said she couldn’t judge without knowing what information Snowden still had.

“But from where I sit today, I would not put clemency on the table at all,” she said.

The New York Times in a Jan 1 editorial referred to Snowden as a “whistleblower” who “has done his country a great service” and said that clemency should be taken into consideration.

“Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service,” the Times wrote.

“It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the runaway intelligence community.”

On Thursday, Anne-Marie Slaughter, the former State Department director of policy planning, tweeted she agreed with the Times that Snowden was “clearly justified in believing that the only way to blow the whistle on this kind of intelligence-gathering was to expose it to the public and let the resulting furor do the work his superiors would not.”

But “On Face the Nation” last month Michael Hayden, former head of the NSA and the CIA, blasted Snowden as a “traitor.”

Also last month, Richard Ledgett, who heads a National Security Agency task force handling unauthorized disclosures, suggested in a “60 Minutes” interview that the U.S. should consider a deal offering Snowden amnesty in exchange for returning additional documents outlining the government’s top-secret surveillance programs.

“My personal view is, yes, it’s worth having a conversation about,” Ledgett said. “I would need assurances that the remainder of the data could be secured, and my bar for those assurances would be very high. It would be more than just an assertion on his part.”

But White House press secretary Jay Carney was quick to re-enforce the administration’s position on Snowden had not changed at all, and that the rogue contractor needed to come home from self-imposed exile in Moscow to face criminal charges.

“Mr. Snowden has been accused of leaking classified information and he faces felony charges here in the United States,” Carney said.

President Obama is spending his winter vacation in Hawaii reviewing a report commissioned by the White House that recommends dozens of steps the administration could take to increase transparency or impose limits on the nation’s intelligence programs, including ending the collection of Americans’ phone records, additional scrutiny when the decision is made to monitor foreign leaders, and new safeguards requiring the administration to obtain judicial approval before reviewing a citizen’s financial or phone records.

Obama is expected to announce his decision on the recommendations later this month.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


Sen. Sanders Wants to Know if NSA Has Spied on Congress.

Image: Sen. Sanders Wants to Know if NSA Has Spied on Congress

By Cynthia Fagen

A U.S. senator wants the National Security Agency to reveal if it has ever spied on members of Congress, Talking Points Memo reports.

“I am writing to you today to ask you one simple question. Has the NSA spied, or is the NSA currently spying, on members of Congress or other American elected officials?” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) wrote in a letter sent to NSA Director General Keith Alexander on Friday.

Sanders said he was “deeply concerned” about the recent revelations that the NSA is “collecting enormous amounts of information about phone calls that Americans make, emails that we send, and websites that we visit.

“In my view, these actions are clearly unconstitutional.”

Sanders slammed the embattled agency’s tactics as “almost Orwellian,” adding it was “equally disturbing was to learn that the NSA has been involved in listening in on phone calls made by government leaders of countries such as Brazil, Germany, France, Mexico and other U.S. allies.

“This particular revelation has caused serious foreign policy setbacks for the United States, weakened our ability to work cooperatively with our allies, and caused an increase in anti-American sentiment throughout the world.

“Indeed, we must be vigilant and aggressive in protecting the American people from the very real danger of terrorist attacks. I believe, however, that we can do that effectively without undermining the constitutional rights that make us a free country.”

The senator has not yet received an answer from the agency.

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