Well, well, well, now the left is suddenly in high dudgeon over Obama and his band of thugs snooping on Americans. Welcome to the party, folks. We don’t recall any cacophony of outrage when it was discovered Obama and Holder put Fox News reporter James Rosen and his parents under surveillance, but now it’s different, apparently.
The National Security Agency (NSA) is collecting the telephone records of millions of Verizon customers under a top secret court order, according to the Guardian.
The British newspaper obtained the order, which requires Verizon to give the NSA information on all of its customers’ phone calls—not just those under any suspicion of wrongdoing. The order covers the numbers of both callers, the time and duration of the calls and other identifying information. The order does not cover the contents of conversations or text messages.
The order by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court covers all Verizon call information between April 25 and July 19. Verizon is barred from discussing the order.
The American Civil Liberties Union said the program was put in place under a controversial provision of the Patriot Act.
“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,” Jameel Jaffer, the ACLU’s deputy legal director, said in a statement. “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.”
Michelle Richardson, an ACLU legislative counsel, called the program unconstitutional and urged Congress to launch a full investigation.
To refresh your memories: If an NSA surveillance program tracks all international communications (or all international communications to al Qaeda hotspots such as Afghanistan), it does not target specific individuals as required by 1801(f)(1). If the communications are intercepted outside the U.S., the NSA program falls outside the definitions in 1801(f)(2) and 1801(f)(4). If the program excludes intentional capture of purely domestic communications, it falls outside the scope of 1801(f)(3).
Bottom line: a massive surveillance system that intercepts millions or billions of international calls and e-mails may not constitute electronic survellance as defined by FISA, provided that the interception occurs outside the United States and neither specific individuals nor purely domestic calls are targeted.
Under Bush, collection of purely domestic calls was rare or inadvertent — by the New York Times’ own admission.
Under Obama, massive, blanket collection of data involving purely domestic calls placed by Americans to other Americans is the intended objective, not an accident.