6/20/2013

Lies,damned lies and government officials -The Nature of the Beast

The Nature of the Beast

In part one we pointed out that government officials lie. they lie for various reasons but like all human beings they are suseptable to corruption. Here let's go a bit further an see how lies and deception by Government officials even with the best of intentions create slippery slopes to tyranny.

On several occasions before the recent revelations of NSA vacuuming up of the nation's phone records General Kenneth Alexander, head of the NSA and a DC establishment hero if there ever was one, has denied that the NSA is doing what we now know they are doing.
[I]n testimony Tuesday [March 12.2012] in front of the House Armed Services subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, Alexander responded to questions about the program, saying the NSA did not have the capability to monitor, inside the United States, Americans’ text messages, phone calls and e-mails. He added that if the NSA were to target an American, the FBI would take the lead and fill out the paperwork.
What exactly did he say in response to a question on e-mail monitoring?
“We don’t have the technical insights in the United States. In other words, you have to have [...] some way of doing that either by going to a service provider with a warrant or you have to be collecting in that area. We’re not authorized to do that, nor do we have the equipment in the United States to collect that kind of information.”
In July of last year he specifically said “We don’t hold data on U.S. citizens." But of course they do, and now they admit it
NSA Deputy Director John Inglis said that 22 NSA officials are authorized to approve requests to query an agency database that contains the cellphone metadata of American citizens. (Metadata includes the numbers of incoming and outgoing calls, the date and time the calls took place, and their duration.) Deputy AG Cole also said that all queries of this database must be documented and can be subject to audits. Cole also said that the the NSA does not have to get separate Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) approval for each query; instead, the agency merely has to file a monthly report with the court on how many times the database was queried, and how many of those searches targeted the phone records of Americans.

This one paragraph on the testimony of National Security big wigs raises a host of other questions.  Who are these 22 NSA officials? They are not judges, they are not elected representatives of the people they are NSA officials. Leading up to this new transparency the American public was led to believe that additional scrutiny of our phone records or e-mails or whatever required an additional warrant, But that is not true at all. It does not require the FBI or whoever to go before a judge only that theyget permission from one of twenty two NSA officials. I am sure they are all dedicated conscientious civil servants like well like Lois Lerner.

But even before you get to these 22 NSA officials, who exactly is able to make a request for a query?  Primarily the FBI  makes most requests especially on American citizens and remember this is a request to 1 of 22 unknown officials at the NSA, not a Federal Judge. The Federal Judge has already given that authorization through a warrant like the one revealed in the Verizon case.

So let's say the FBI's boss, The Attorney General makes a request of the NSA official to query Sharyl Attkisson's of CBS News phone or E-mail records because she has foreign sources in Libya.  Will these NSA government officials over rule the Attorney General of the United States?

Remeember this: the NSA does not have to get separate Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) approval for each query; instead, the agency merely has to file a monthly report with the court on how many times the database was queried, and how many of those searches targeted the phone records of Americans. Does that mean that the FISC court does not even know the specifics of the query? Only the quantity?

We are told all of this is subject to audit. "Deputy AG Cole also said that all queries of this database must be documented and can be subject to audits."  Who audits all of this? A judge? Congress? No it is the Department of Justice of course.

 So would the unknown DOJ official(s) responsible for "auditing" an Attorney Generals request to query Sharyl Atkisson's phone and e-mail records blow the whistle on him? And exactly how would they go about doing that anyway? Report him to the FBI? What happens when an audit reveals misuse of the system? Who is informed and how do they resolve this?

But without even getting into conspiracy theories about the Attorney General, what we have here is the FBI, a division of the Department of Justice, making request of NSA officials to query Americans records without showing probable cause to a judge. Then to insure that the system is not abused the same Department of Justice audits those requests and queries. Does anyone see a potential problem here? There is no real checks and balances here at all, everything is basically done in house and the fox is guarding that hen house.

But there are even more interesting questions to be asked like why if this is how the system works even have the NSA keep this information in the first place? After all if they are just some sort of giant depository of our records to be accessed once the FBI or whoever has suspicions, why can't they just go to the providers for the information?

 The answer is quite simple actually, in order to track down foreign threats, they have to have all communications from everyone.  As has been pointed out, in order to find a needle in a haystack you first must have a haystack. So rater than have hundereds of haystack to sift through they have decided to make one giant one.

 All of our personal records are that haystack and the farmer is the NSA. A giant haystack that does not require governemnt officials to go to a court on each individual case to show probable cause, but one giant haystack that has its own rules outside the tradional American judicial system.  What a wonderful police tool they have created and are expanding upon and now are atempting to sell to the American people under the guise of Naional Security.

But in order to protect our nation is it really neccessary to sell the soul of our nation? Is not indvidual freedom and limitations on the intrusion of government on our lives the very soul of America? I fear this is precisely what is ocurring and at an accelerated pace. Americans are being sold on the idea that in order to be safe we must consent to government intrusion into all aspects of our lives. The dots they are connecting today in order to protect us will inevitably be used by government to enslave us.

It is the nature of the beast.



1 comment:

  1. "Is not individual freedom and limitations on the intrusion of government on our lives the very soul of America?"

    Yes. In my opinion, you're exactly right.

    As has been pointed out, there are too many departments and their offspring for Congress to monitor. If the government has our personal records, including and especially medical records, they will be used to control us.

    Thanks for the effort you put into these posts, Jer. You bring the current questions back to the fundamental ideas of life and liberty, and we need that focus and reminder.

    ReplyDelete