NSA: They’re Listening In, Reading – WITHOUT Warrants – WITHOUT Breaking the Law – UPDATED!

Breaking today, very big news that not only has the National Security Agency (NSA) been listening to the phone calls of Americans, they are doing so WITHOUT a warrant, and when they do so, they’ve broken NO laws because a warrant IS NOT NEEDED – exactly the opposite of what we’ve been told. Over the last week we’ve been assured by many members of Congress that the simple little phone number (yours and mine), secreted away in their billion dollar facility, has no “content,” meaning the phone number just sits somewhere, stored away, until given a reason to ask a Judge for a warrant to listen-in. We were led to believe the issuing of a warrant, ‘warrants’ their spying, but NO WARRANT IS NECESSARY – emails, texts and instant messages included. Don’t you wonder what the FISA judges were thinking this week, after we were told they had to approve a warrant for spying – and knowing it was all a lie?

UPDATE JUNE 16, 2013, 10:38 pm CDT: Ah well, Rep. Nadler believes he heard it wrong in that super-secret Capitol Hill meeting.  The NSA is certainly not listening to your phone calls or reading your emails, etc. Source: The Hill

“I am pleased that the administration has reiterated that, as I have always believed, the NSA cannot listen to the content of Americans’ phone calls without a specific warrant,” Nadler said in a statement to several news outlets.

The Atlantic Wire believes they have the mess sussed out and they have printed an exchange between Nadler and FBI Director Robert Mueller. Apparently Nadler drew his conclusion that NSA can listen to phone records without a warrant, and without breaking a law from a conversation with Mueller during the super-secret Capitol Hill briefing. The conversation revealed by The Atlantic Wire comes after the super-secret meeting. Nadler clearly believes he heard what is revealed in my original story below.

Nadler clearly believes Mueller’s two stories are in conflict. Mueller said he will check it out and get back to the Congressman. If you DID NOT say a warrant is not needed, wouldn’t you know it? Would you have to check your notes? I’d love to hear from others (brave souls, please speak out) in the meeting. Some exited the meeting saying they were shocked at what they heard. Nadler’s first version was, indeed, shocking because so many in Congress have claimed extreme measures are needed to intrude on our privacy in this way. Nadler’s version shocking, but not surprising – we’ve been speculating about it for years. The Atlantic Wire is relying on the second exchange with Mueller and has the video, but does not have access to the super-secret meeting transcript.

An update in the above linked article clarifies that the Government cannot “target” the phone calls of “Americans anywhere in the world.” Right.

Traitors are in the Chambers

Traitors are in the Chambers

According to this report, the information was revealed in a “secret Capitol Hill” briefing.

The National Security Agency has acknowledged in a new classified briefing that it does not need court authorization to listen to domestic phone calls.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, disclosed this week that during a secret briefing to members of Congress, he was told that the contents of a phone call could be accessed “simply based on an analyst deciding that.”

If the NSA wants “to listen to the phone,” an analyst’s decision is sufficient, without any other legal authorization required, Nadler said he learned. “I was rather startled,” said Nadler, an attorney and congressman who serves on the House Judiciary committee…

Because the same legal standards that apply to phone calls also apply to e-mail messages, text messages, and instant messages, Nadler’s disclosure indicates the NSA analysts could also access the contents of Internet communications without going before a court and seeking approval.

I’ve been on vacation and having fun with visiting family for the last few weeks and haven’t been online as much as usual, so admit that I may not be as familiar with all the conversation about what Edward Snowden revealed –  that NSA has grabbed and stored, daily, the communications of 3 Billion Americans. My conclusions may not be as informed as that of others who have had more time to think about it, but today’s news adds a new dimension.

As I’ve pondered the question of: is Snowden a whistleblower or a traitor, I’ve not been able to get past “whistleblower,” even though he skipped to Hong Kong. I can’t buy into the idea that, at this point, he has revealed anything that puts America in jeopardy. I see nothing helpful our enemies can glean from knowing that the massive data is being stored, unless the Utah data center is now a target. If they couldn’t have imagined it possible, as we didn’t imagine it possible and certainly not lawful, they have no vision or understanding of the power of the U.S., just as you and I have not fully understood the lengths this administration is willing to go to, to render our right to privacy irrelevant.

Just this minute, I see former Vice-President Dick Cheney on television saying Snowden is a “traitor,” and George W. Bush is defending the Obama administration. How many times have we heard it, mainly from establishment Washington, D.C.? On the Republican side, it’s a caution to cover their own butts. I want the “select” Congressional members identified who received full briefings in the past – before last week’s briefing. If we assume the “full” briefing included today’s news, and they’ve known about it for many months and kept quiet about it. We must deal with this Government. Some of our elected are the traitors, not Snowden, unless he outs more that does pose a danger.

If all al-Qaeda knows is that the ability is there to trace, listen to and read a phone call, email, text or instant message, it can’t change much. They know this is the goal and has been for a decade. They have to communicate in some way, and there are only a few options. Perhaps the danger is that now they will resort to “runners,” as did bin Laden and that takes them completely underground, but “runners” are not an efficient method of planning jihad. Really. What do they do now that changes anything?

We hear that Snowden revealed more than we’ve been told, and perhaps the journalist he squawked to will reveal something traitorous. At this point, the traitors are in Congress and the administration, at the highest levels.

Proof at Proof Positive, a smart guy and a measured thinker, thought through the spying before today’s news was revealed. I don’t know if the latest revelation changes anything, but his article, The NSA and the Fruit of the Poisonous Tree makes some excellent points, bouncing off of the first World Trade Center bombing. Here’s a snippet, and I hope you will read it all:

The NSA has been keeping records on…everybody it seems….Defendants of the administration and the status quo, tell us that it’s only “metadata”, that no one is actually listening to our calls, so it’s no big deal!

But, is it? A big deal, I mean? One proponent tried to compare the metadata to…the Dewey Decimal System. They go into your library, but don’t read any of the books. They just copy down the Dewey Decimal information from the spines of the books. And they tell us that all they’re only looking for “patterns”. See? Harmless? One question: who gave you permission to go into my library?

I wasn’t opposed to the first Patriot Act but have become increasingly wary and alarmed, even without knowing how far this administration has officially taken the shredding of our privacy – today’s news being the stunner that is close to unbelievable until you understand that we are ruled by a Marxist on track to set the country up for submission. The roiling question: who in Congress has known warrants are not required? Surely those persons are on the Intelligence Committees. See Senate members here, House members here and here. Yet today, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, insists there is no listening, there is no recording, and says if there is, it is illegal. The second roiling question: Did Nadler make it all up?

Update: Linked at The Lonely Conservative – thanks!

Update: Linked at Grumpy Opinions – in an unrelated story, read IRS to Pro-Life Group: ‘Keep Your Faith to Yourself’


    • Hey Angel, it’s time we recognize the Rule of Law and make our elected Representives do the hard lifting.

  • Bloggers have been posting about this for years. Why would a $2 Billion Utah Spy data center be build without congress approving it. What did they plan on doing with it. One of the Generals at the last hearing, when the Maine Senator asked, yes or no, does NSA listen to phone calls. He said no. But if listening closely, he says the info is turned over to the FBI, so they listen. Whats the difference?

    • bunkerville, it’s a sad reality that some of our Military leaders, at the highest levels, are liars and followers. You’ve posed excellent questions. Since this administration it has become clear that Congress has willingly abdicated their duties and obligations without a whimper.

  • First of all, thanks for the kind words! The most disturbing part of this to me, is not that an analyst has the power and authority to eavesdrop on phone calls texts and emails without a warrant, for the sake of pursuing terrorists. What person in their right mind would try to eavesdrop on billions of calls from millions of people, many of which consisted of instructions to bring home milk, pick up Billie from soccer practice and OMG! Did you see the way that boy looked at me??!!??

    But, as we learned with the IRS, these powers would then be subject to governmental and political abuse. “Enemies” of a particular party or those opposed to big government in general could be targeted, and it is the potential for abuse that is the most disturbing.

    Most people have, perhaps a false sense, of an expectation of privacy in their communications, whether it be phone, email or snail mail. No one expects the Postmaster to steam open letters at random to see what you had to say. Because intercepting electronic communication leaves fewer fingerprints, it may be a more insidious means of snooping.

    The other expectation that people have, is that if the government suspects them of wrongdoing, there is a prescribed set of laws that govern the circumstances in which that privacy may be violated.

    For the government to eavesdrop on presumably private conversations without a warrant, even for a supposedly good cause, is to turn the expectation of privacy, confidence in the rule of law and trust in government on their head.

    Congress needs to act quickly to end these abuses.

    • I couldn’t agree more with your comment. The expectation of privacy is a thing of the past in America. The government seems to believe it has the right and the obligation to eavesdrop at its own whim. The Bill of Rights is being trampled on with great disdain.

      • LD, we must make certain that their disdain can’t come close to measuring up to our disdain.

    • Proof, what is yet to come is my concern as well. I said as much in posts about the first Patriot Act. When you look at how Obama got to Congress, you know what he is willing to do. I DO believe it possible that this administration will use the info against every political opponent, just as they found a way to illegally release Mitt Romney’s tax information. This could make Watergate look like child’s play. Other than breaking and entering (and I guess the theft of some cash to make it look like burglary) the wiretapping of the DNC is no worse than the ability to read any American’s emails, texts and listen to phone records.

      We may not have the expectation to privacy, but we should have the expectation to privacy. If not, then why the Fifth Amendment?

      • Of course, this kind of corruption is not new with Obama. Remember the hundreds of FBI files the Clintons had illegally? Obtained allegedly by a staffer that no one would admit to hiring?

        • Proof, yes I do remember that, and I remember the Rose Law Firm files disappearing and showing up in Hillary’s closet:

          Shortly after Vince Foster’s death on July 20, 1993, a group of files were moved from his office to a closet near Hillary’s office in the Clintons’ personal quarters on the third floor of the White House.

          One item which may have been among those files were the billing records from the Rose Law Firm which documented Hillary Clinton’s legal work on Jim McDougal’s Castle Grande real estate deal. These records had been the subject of various investigative subpoenas but had been missing for over two years. They mysteriously resurfaced in January 1996 when Carolyn Huber, a White House aide, came upon them in her office and recognized them as the missing files. She later testified that she had moved them to her office from Hillary’s book room six months earlier while straightening up, but had not realized their significance at the time.

          Source: Frontline

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  • Richard

    For all of those interested enough should realize 1) NSA was first established as a separate intelligence agency within the DOD in the early 1950’s and remained unknow to the public until 1970’s , and 2) By law, NSA’s intelligence gathering is limited to foreign communications, although there have been some incidents involving domestic collection, including the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy. G. W. Bush was the first president to use NSA to spy on the American public because of 9/11. Bush, Cheney Hayden, and Tenet conspired to subvert the Constitution and the constitutional process of checks and balances. They didn’t tell the courts about this program, and they didn’t solicit any approval from the courts. And they also only told four people initially in Congress, that were the were the chiefs and deputies of the Intelligence Committee. That was in the House, including Porter Goss and Nancy Pelosi.

    • Richard, the tangled and wicked webs. At every turn, we find one. Thanks for the background.

      • Richard

        t is nice to have you back. Cabo is a little too commercialized for me, but the people in La Paz are great. Thomas Sowell has a great article “The Loss of Trust”.

        • Thanks Richard, it’s nice to be back. We’ve been going to Cabo since 1995 – missed only the year of the swine flu when the alert was elevated the night before we were to leave. We should have gone because there was no swine flu in Cabo.

          There was no highway in 1995 and we turned down a dirt road to our hotel. We crossed our fingers that it would be alright. We are directly across from Lands End and the Arch. We have an ocean view – no elevators, 1200 sq feet in our Villa – it’s like home to us. We’ve come to know many of the guests over the years and even email with some of the them. An American architect designed the place and it is very special. It’s still owned by the same American family. I’ve been to LaPaz but I like the small town feel of Cabo, which is much smaller. I also know some of the merchants. I’ve watched the “linen lady” grow her family and know her three children and husband by name. Same with some of the restauranteurs.

          I will say, that had things with Mexico been what they are today, we would not have bought there, but we did…and we feel safe there.

          I’ll look for Sowell’s article.

          • Richard

            Maggie, now you have made me jealous. I was fortunate to spend a month touring Mexico on two separate occasions. On both times (1990 and 1992) I started at Tijuana crossing at La Pa to the mainland and then exiting at the border; one time by motorcycle and the other by pickup. “Roads” in Baja have a whole new meaning, as you know.

            It sounds like you have a great place in a beautiful part of the country. I understand what you mean about small towns. Away from the border towns (and Mexico City) much of Mexico has a whole different “feel”. Real Mexican food is to “die for”. The best fish tacos I ever ate were in Ensenada. I believe both of us feel about the same concerning immigration – many Mexican people are very wonderful and they make great neighbors (in Mexico and the US). But, if they want to be US citizens then they should do it legally.

            Mas Tarde!