|Anthony Freda Art|
Every single day, the U.S. government gathers and stores more than a billion phone calls, emails, text messages, photographs and Internet searches. Just about every form of electronic communication that you can possibly imagine is being harvested. In fact, it has been reported that NSA personnel gather 2.1 million gigabytes of data every hour. This is being done even though it is a blatant violation of the U.S. Constitution. Sadly, most Americans do not even know what the Fourth Amendment actually says.
For those that do not know, the Fourth Amendment says the following: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Unfortunately, our leaders have totally abandoned the Constitution. They seem to believe that they have the right to look through our electronic communications any time they want and that we should not complain about it. As you will see below, workers at the NSA have even eavesdropped on very intimate conversations between soldiers serving in Iraq and their female loved ones back home. What kind of sick person would do such a thing? Sadly, the truth is that we have allowed ourselves to become a “Big Brother society”, and we are an utter disgrace to the millions of brave men and women who have died to defend our freedoms.
There was an explosion of outrage on Thursday when the Guardian reported on a leaked document that shows that the Obama administration is collecting the phone records of millions of Verizon customers every single day…
The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.
The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an “ongoing, daily basis” to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.
The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.
The White House responded by calling this program “a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats”, and White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters the following…
The intelligence community is conducting court-authorized intelligence activities pursuant to public statute with the knowledge and oversight of Congress
So obviously the Obama administration sees nothing wrong with this at all.
Will some of our other “leaders” step forward and condemn this blatant violation of the U.S. Constitution?
Sadly, so far most of our politicians are rigorously defending the program. Just check out how some prominent members of Congress responded to this story…
Senator Dianne Feinstein: “There is nothing new in this program. The fact of the matter is, that this was a routine three-month approval under seal that was leaked.”
Senator Saxby Chambliss: “This is nothing particularly new. This has been going on for seven years under the auspices of the (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) authority and every member of the United States Senate has been advised of this.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: “Everyone should just calm down and understand this isn’t anything that is brand new. It’s been going on for some seven years. And we’ve tried often to try to make it better, and we’ll continue to do that.”
But the collection of phone call metadata is just the tip of the iceberg.
The truth is that government surveillance of Americans citizens goes far beyond what you are being told.
In fact, the Washington Post has just come out with an article about a highly classified program known as PRISM that involves the federal government “tapping directly into the central servers” of nine top Internet companies…
The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time.
The highly classified program, code-named PRISM, has not been disclosed publicly before. Its establishment in 2007 and six years of exponential growth took place beneath the surface of a roiling debate over the boundaries of surveillance and privacy. Even late last year, when critics of the foreign intelligence statute argued for changes, the only members of Congress who knew about PRISM were bound by oaths of office to hold their tongues.
So what Internet companies are involved? Most of the names will be extremely familiar to you…
The technology companies, which participate knowingly in PRISM operations, include most of the dominant global players of Silicon Valley. They are listed on a roster that bears their logos in order of entry into the program: “Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple.” PalTalk, although much smaller, has hosted significant traffic during the Arab Spring and in the ongoing Syrian civil war.
Dropbox , the cloud storage and synchronization service, is described as “coming soon.”
The capabilities of this system are apparently awesome. Fortunately, one “career intelligence officer” was so disgusted with how our privacy rights were being violated that he decided to leak information about PRISM to the Washington Post…
Firsthand experience with these systems, and horror at their capabilities, is what drove a career intelligence officer to provide PowerPoint slides about PRISM and supporting materials to The Washington Post in order to expose what he believes to be a gross intrusion on privacy. “They quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type,” the officer said.
Another whistleblower, former NSA code breaker William Binney, has come forward with some astounding details about what is actually happening over at the NSA. The following is from a recent Business Insider article…
Binney — one of the best mathematicians and code breakers in NSA history — worked for the Defense Department’s foreign signals intelligence agency for 32 years before resigning in late 2001 because he “could not stay after the NSA began purposefully violating the Constitution.”
He’s detailed how, ever since 9/11, the NSA has run a top-secret surveillance program that amasses electronic data — phone calls, GPS information, emails, social media, banking and travel records, entire government databases — and analyzes the information “to be able to monitor what people are doing” and who they are doing it with.
Overall, Binney claims that the NSA has gathered approximately “20 trillion transactions” involving U.S. citizens.
And other NSA whistleblowers claim that the agency “has the capability to do individualized searches, similar to Google, for particular electronic communications in real time through such criteria as target addresses, locations, countries and phone numbers, as well as watch-listed names, keywords, and phrases in email.”
But this is not supposed to be happening. The NSA is not supposed to be spying on U.S. citizens and it is a clear violation of the U.S. Constitution.
But they are doing it. In fact, they are gathering so much information on all of us that they needed to build a brand new data storage center out in Utah. According to Fox News, it will have the capability of storing 5 zettabytes of data…
The NSA says the Utah Data Center is a facility for the intelligence community that will have a major focus on cyber security. The agency will neither confirm nor deny specifics. Some published reports suggest it could hold 5 zettabytes of data. (Just one zettabyte is the equivalent of about 62 billion stacked iPhones 5’s– that stretches past the moon.
Why do they need so much storage space?
Well, after you start putting the pieces together, it becomes very clear.
They are illegally spying on all of us, and the American people need to be told the truth.
But of course there are always numbskulls out there that say things like this…
“I don’t have anything to hide so I don’t care if they watch everything that I do.”
If you think that way, perhaps you will change your mind after you read what some NSA employees have been doing. The following is from an article posted on theatlanticwire.com…
And the NSA would never abuse its awesome surveillance power, right? Wrong. In 2008, NSA workers told ABC News that they routinely eavesdropped on phone sex between troops serving overseas and their loved ones in America. They listened in on both satellite phone calls and calls from the phone banks in Iraq’s Green Zone where soldiers call home. Former Navy Arab linguist, David Murfee Faulk described how a coworker would say, “Hey, check this out… there’s good phone sex or there’s some pillow talk, pull up this call, it’s really funny, go check it out.” Faulk explained they would gossip about the best calls during breaks. “It would be some colonel making pillow talk and we would say, ‘Wow, this was crazy.’”
We live during a time when government agencies are massively abusing their powers. We have seen this recently with the IRS, the Justice Department and now with the NSA.
But so far, most Americans don’t seem too upset by all of this abuse of power. Most Americans are so apathetic that they seem content to let the government get away with almost anything.
In the end, America will get the government that it deserves. If Americans do not stand up now and speak out, it will be a signal to the government that this kind of behavior is okay and we will see even more of it.
So what do you think about all of the government corruption that has been exposed lately? Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below…
This article first appeared here at the American Dream. Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.