NSA targeted Americans' domestic calls, tried to wiretap Representative

NSA targeted Americans' domestic calls, tried to wiretap Representative

Summary: NSA targeted Americans for warrantless surveilliance, even tried to wiretap a Member of Congress.


The National Security Administration significantly and systematically abused its warrantless wiretapping powers by targeting Americans, listening in on purely domestic conversations, even trying to wiretap a U.S. representative without a warrant, the Times reported this week.

The revelations largely come from an FBI agent who detailed "significant misconduct" in the program, including targeting Americans with insufficient suspicion that they were engaged in terrorism.

This just shows what many of us suspected: Domestic spying is a give-an-inch-take-a-mile proposition. The spy agencies will always say they are doing this under strict parameters. They will always abuse those parameters. It's just too tempting. And invariably oversight depends on the agencies coming forward - as they finally did here - with the proof of their own misbehavior. This is driven by the change in administrations, but don't think for a minute that ANY administration can be trusted to monitor its own adherence to the law.

Look for upcoming House and Senate investigations.

e have received notice of a serious issue involving the N.S.A., and we’ve begun inquiries into it,” a Congressional staff member said.

The Justice Department says the problems were technical -- they didn't really know how to distinguish between overseas and domestic calls among the millions of calls it intercepted with the willing help of the phone companies -- but they have been solved.

Justice “took comprehensive steps to correct the situation and bring the program into compliance” with the law and court orders, according to a statement.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is using the article as the basis for a new round of fundraising around illegal wiretaps.

It is imperative that there be strict oversight to ensure that the government does not abuse its unprecedented access to our domestic communications networks. Increasingly, the courts -- and in particular, EFF's lawsuits against the NSA and the telcos -- appear to be our only hope for government accountability and transparency when it comes to warrantless wiretapping.

Topics: CXO, Government, Government US, Telcos, IT Employment

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  • Glad the wiretaps took place

    With the express purpose of preventing future terrorist activities, I'm glad the feds aggressively looked. With the current regime, I fear the future is going to be very different; an "enemy of the state" is now going to be someone who doesn't agree with the administration on cap and trade, or health care, or abortion, or any of a number of hot-button issues. DHS has already telegraphed the direction they are going to go.

    Add to that a new civilian security force The One has indicated He wants and you have a very scary environment. Brownshirts, anyone?
    • You're confusing fascism with losing

      It was your side that would have traitors out of dissenters. Actually, those who would stifle dissent are the traitors to our traditions. There's no basis in reality for your "fear" that Obama dissenters will be made enemies of the state. Probably you are projecting what you would have done with the national mandate Obama was given.

      "Conservatives: When they have a club in their hands, no one is more sadistic. When the club is removed, no one is more whiney."
      Glenn Greenwald
      • Blind idiot!!!

        Richard, you're ideologically BLINDED!! Go read the DHS report!!! I have. EVERYONE should be alarmed by this new direction of allowing partisanship to paint political foes as extremists and potential terrorists.

        Besides, what is really lacking is the awareness on your part that THE LEFT and their philosophies (or lack of coherent ones thereof) are what is CAUSING a breakdown in order in U.S. society -- NOT the conservative philophies. Leftists are the ones who have removed prayer from schools, are now pushing to remove God from every vestige of public life, what has brought us the breakdown of the family with "no-fault" divorce, the idea that "personal life doesn't affect my job" (i.e. Clinton on Monica), and many more. The basic gist of leftist thought is that each can come up with his/her own set of values that "is right for me." Which really translates to lowest common denominator -- and we are seeing "how low can we go". Today's anniversary is but one sample of the results you get from the above.

        Oh, by the way -- let's talk about who actually are "domestic terror" threats: which groups disrupted WTO talks in Seattle, with violence? Oh...leftist Eco-terrorists! Who attacked elderly getting off a bus at the RNC last year? Yep -- Dem activists. And who were making death threats, assaulting people, and vandalizing churches following Prop 8 in Cali? Yep -- your friendly local left-wingers. By contrast, over 1 million people participated in Tea Parties in several hundred locations last week -- and there was ONE KNOWN ARREST. Conservatives bind themselves to good behavior by their own following of moral principles. Leftists who don't believe in "absolute truths", but instead believe that "the end justifies the means" (though they may not like those words, they OFTEN practice exactly that -- see embryonic stem cell debate for but one more example), that philosophy leads them to poor behavior.

        You're on the losing side of this debate, Richard. And you REALLY ought to investigate it. Don't take my word for it. Go find the stats on demonstrations and arrests. Look at the correlation between juvenile crime rates and the removal of prayer from schools, etc. Go do some REAL research. You will find that the left is about tyranny, not diversity.
        • Is God a Democrat or a Republican?

          You sure know an awful lot about leftists.

          Why doesn't God punish all those bad leftists? What about the leftists from 50 years ago? The leftists from 100 years ago? Are the leftists mightier than God?
        • Give me the link

          You want me to read this stuff, give me the
          link. Not promising that I will, of course.
        • Amen, techboy.. thank you

          You said it better than I could have.

          Oh, and how about THIS piece of food for thought?

      • You're confusing fascism with Conservatism

        It is the liberals, whose base is in the Progressive era, that are fascists. The reason for this is that the Progressive era politics were based in classical fascism.

        And the easiest method to show how the liberals are actually fascists is the way they demonize everyone who disagrees with them. If you are not sold on global warming then you're demonized -- how dare you not care about the planet. You are ignorant. Yet there are scientists who are not sure, either.

        And Universal Healthcare -- you don't think everyone should have healthcare? You must hate people. You're evil spirited. Even though no argument against universal healthcare is that cut and dry.

        The list goes on and on.

        Bigger government leads to more abuse of power. If you're going to complain about NSA wiretapping, then fix the problem at its source -- the government has become too big.

        Conservatives (real ones: grassroots) believe in small, limited government with the majority of decisions left to the states. This is the exact opposite of what recent (including current) administrations and congresses have supported.

        You cannot be a liberal and support liberal ideas while in the same sentence be upset these warrantless wiretappings are occurring.
        • Bigger government leads to more abuse of power.

          So what does no Government lead to?
          • Total lack of ability to alter the course of events

            Um, Somalia?

            Again - look at the U.S. in 29-32. Government
            did nothing. Things got bad, and worse, and
            worse and worse. A total absence of policy, of
            attempts to stimulate the economy, of giving
            tax breaks for investment, or providing
            unemplopyment benefits, and the result was
            unmitigated disaster.

            Consider the ramifications of government
            failure before you so blithely toss it off.

        • While I could easily give you a list

          of demonizing things the right has said about
          Democrats and even moderates (if you disagree
          with our policies you are giving aid to
          terrorists - that's practically right out of
          Cheney's mouth), the fact is that saying mean
          things about the other side isn't called
          Fascism, it's called politics.
      • Your are confusing your ideological beliefs ...

        ... with reality. It was the Obama administration that refuses to call radical Islamists as terrorists but has no no problem calling our war veterans terrorists. It is the Obama administration that is embracing the dictators of Cuba and Venezuala. It is the Obama administration that is suppressing disent!
        • Show me one link

          where Obama calls veterans terrorists!

          I'd like to see that.
          • Nice dodge!

            You know damn well that it was his appointee and not President Obama. That is why I said his administration. It is kind of like when you argued everything that occured during President Bush's administration was his fault. It seems that you are not only disingenuous but also intellectually dishonest.
          • I'll take a link

            I'll take a link, show me one link where Obama immediately rebuked the statements.
            Anything later than immediate, is spin. The remarks came from his administration; his appointees; are his responsibility. His favorite tired refrain of "I inherited it from the previous administration" just won't play.
  • Warrants??? Hahaha...much deeper than just warrants!

    This government is soooo OUT...OF...CONTROL...

    Did you think warrants were even an issue for it anymore??? Those days are passe'. Projects like "Echelon" filter and parse ALL voice & data traffic, no matter the subjects on either end. They think they have this right, and justify it by saying "it's necessary to protect the American people." B.S.!!!

    Time to get back to foundational philosophy -- one of the fundamental principles of ethics is "the end doesn't justify the means." That STILL holds true -- and is VERY applicable here.

    Our federal government is O.O.C., and needs DRASTIC DOWNSIZING:

    Close the IRS. (Is there any bigger violation of our privacy than the requirement to disclose our entire financial life and family detail to a tax agency?). Close HUD. Close Dept. of Education (is there any more worthless agency at the Federal level???)

    Close "Homeland Security" -- we already have the CIA, FBI, and ATF to handle intelligence, crime, and control of dangerous/banned items. We don't need DHS, whose only apparent use is to write partisan reports listing everyone who doesn't agree with leftist dogma as a potential terrorist, including returning vets!

    Close the NY office of the U.N. -- why do we host it? Why are we IN it? There may have been some logic at its inception, but now, the U.N. is a hugely bureaucratic, inept, politically-correct organization, with many member nations seeking only to use it to hamstring the U.S. and others who would oppose their tyrannical behaviors. It is unable and unwilling to enforce resolutions; hell, half the time we can't get a needed resolution, due to the nature of the security council. And it is a congregating of power to the global level...further and further away from the people, and without election. Corruption reigns, as partnerships between more powerful security council nations like Russia and China are enjoined with smaller rogue states like Iran and North Korea -- their minions to accomplish their goals while giving plausible deniability; we've seen the corruption in regards to Iraq -- while the left yelled "No blood for oil" and denigrated Bush, we found out that Russia, China, and France were selling night-vision equipment, anti-aircraft equipment, etc. to Iraq -- right up to the beginning of the war; we found that "No Blood For Oil" was the wrong mantra -- the REAL CORRUPTION was in the U.N., and its "Food For Oil" program! U.S. OUT OF THE U.N. NOW!!!

    Folks, wake up. Take your country back from the overgrown government, and globalist cabal!!!
    • Remember the Depression

      The government you espouse is not that different from what existed in the 1920s, when the govt had no power to engage in fiscal policy. When depressions hit in the 19th and early 20th century, we had to go hat it hand to JP Morgan to establish fiscal policy to prevent depressions. When that couldn't work any more, it was the expansion of the govt under FDR that allowed us to bring some control and management of the economy.

      Minimal government means turning the country over to big business. Bad idea!
      • It was a world war that ...

        ... brought us out of the depression not the expansive government brought about by FDR. Try knowing a little history before using it in your arguements.
        • You don't know your history.

          Do you think we jump started our huge industrial potential on Dec. 7, 1941? Our country was stead fast against joining another European war. That was Dec. 6, 1941. FDR had to walk on eggshells around the issue of armaments and war. In spite of that our armaments industry was already gearing up and we were selling material to Great Britain and the USSR. To illustrate the point. Every aircraft that we used during WWII was already in the procurement phase before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
          • B.S!

            We were not building aramaments prior to the outbreak of the war. I would call your conclusions revisionist history but that would be giving you too much credit.
        • I have

          The truth is far more detailed than WWII
          brought us out. For one thing, it's not just a
          matter of the official end of "Depression."
          It's a question of where is the economic
          activity, what is the impact on people's lives,
          employment, housing food, etc. It's also a
          question of how business is stimulated. Go take
          a look at the economic fortunes over the decade
          and you will see that economic stimulus greatly
          improved matters and attempts to balance the
          budget (that is, reducing govt spending) sent
          the delicate economy back into depression.

          What is WWII? A massive, shocking level of
          stimulus. New Deal would have worked sooner but
          FDR gave in to fiscal conservatives.