A Single Wiretap Intercepted 3 Million Calls Last Year — And It Absolutely Concerns You

By Claire Bernish

To carry out a relatively unimpressive drug sting, an unnamed federal agency swept up well over 3 million phone conversations in two months with a lone wiretap order — one of 3,186 such orders issued by federal and state judges in 2016 — evincing an overreach of State authority so egregious, it would behoove the law-abiding and law-breaking, alike, to take note.

“The federal wiretap with the most intercepts occurred during a narcotics investigation in the Middle District of Pennsylvania and resulted in the interception of 3,292,385 cell phone conversations or messages,” states the Wiretap Report 2016.

Take a moment to allow that to sink in, because — given that domestic spying has become something of an accepted facet of daily American life — the fact the government felt it imperative to sweep up nearly 3.2 million calls in the course of enforcing its miserable flop of a drug war begs the question: What about the other 3,181 wiretap orders?!

And if that doesn’t sufficiently offend, keep in mind there has yet to be a single conviction resulting from that inordinately lenient wiretap, as the International Business Times reports,

The order was signed to help the authorities track 26 individuals suspected of illegal drug trafficking and narcotics-related activities in Pennsylvania. However, the investigation cost $335,000 to the taxpayer and led only to a dozen arrests. The surveillance effort neither captured any intercepts nor did it bring anyone to trial or convicted. Other details about the wiretapping are not available since the court records have been sealed.

Unsurprisingly, the Department of Justice refused comment to ZDNet on the Wiretap Report — or the confounding million-call dragnet in Pennsylvania.

“They spent a fortune tracking 26 people and recording three million conversations and apparently got nothing,” former privacy attorney and director of privacy at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, Albert Gidari, told ZDNet. “I’d love to see the probable cause affidavit for that one and wonder what the court thought on its 10 day reviews when zip came in.”

He added, “I’m not surprised by the results because on average, a very very low percentage of conversations are incriminating, and a very very low percent results in conviction.”

Granting a wiretap order means “permitting wire, oral, or electronic surveillance” be subject to surveillance — or, rather, subject to heightened efforts to spy, given the multiple invasive domestic spying programs currently used by the National Security Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, or other unknown or unnamed agencies.

Keep in mind the State championed fighting terrorism as the premise for the need for increased surveillance — since the report, itself, claims,

Drug offenses were the most prevalent type of criminal offenses investigated using reported wiretaps.

Drug offenses. As in, crimes largely crimes because the Nanny State enjoys executive control over what substances a person chooses to ingest and why. And 61 percent — 1,949 total — of wiretaps green lighted in 2016 pertained to narcotics offenses.

Domestic surveillance came about to catch the worst criminals — traitors, terrorists, conspirators, and ringleaders of other nefarious crime operations — not for the laughably under- (or over-) trained police and politically motivated Drug Enforcement Administration to target and lock people in cages who might otherwise need treatment, or simply to be left alone.

Not that these appalling breaches of privacy came at a discount rate, as the report continues,

The average cost of an intercept in 2016 was $74,949, up 78 percent from the average cost in 2015. The most expensive state wiretap was in the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, New York, where costs for a 434-day narcotics wiretap that resulted in 15 arrests and no convictions totaled $2,989,930. For federal wiretaps for which expenses were reported in 2016, the average cost was $83,356, a 70 percent increase from 2015. The most expensive federal wiretap completed during 2016 occurred in the Southern District of California, where costs for a narcotics investigation totaled $5,266,558.

Narcotics. This unabashed invasion of your personal space is due to narcotics — the loathsome, disputatious, profiteering war on drugs.



Unaware the far-reaching ramifications of allowing the government an audience in our private, personal conversations, the somnambulant masses blithely welcome the façade of security inherent to the soothing idea spies may catch a bad guy before he strikes — but it’s a wholly fictitious palliative, meant to quell those who would otherwise harbor reservations when the State so breaches that unspoken line.

Without vastly improved transparency in government — a thought so farcical, it would be best not to hold your breath — it would be best to speak to Grandma, your best friend, or even the repair shop as if the information exchanged is done so before a ravenously authoritarian audience of government agents.

Image: Flickr/DonkeyHotey.

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Contributed by Claire Bernish of The Daily Sheeple.

Claire Bernish is a staff writer and reporter for The Daily Sheeple. Wake the flock up – follow Claire’s work at our Facebook or Twitter.


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5 Comments on "A Single Wiretap Intercepted 3 Million Calls Last Year — And It Absolutely Concerns You"

  1. “an unnamed federal agency swept up well over 3 million phone conversations in two months with a lone wiretap order — one of 3,186 such orders issued by federal and state judges in 2016 — evincing an overreach of State authority…”

    There is an agency full of people deliberately working AGAINST our legitimate government, against our constitutional republic, against the American people. Lets call it what it is in OUR constitutional republic, a governmental agency filled with Oath breakers that are at the very least Domestic Enemies of the USA and the American people – the very same domestic enemies named in the Oath all who serve within state and federal governments are REQUIRED to take and KEEP – but quite possibly traitors, and because the threat of force is always along for the ride with any governmental activity it is/can also be *Terrorism against the American people.

    Those actions break the supreme Law of our nation, breaks their supreme Contract that they are Oath bound to support and defend, and is not only criminal in its entirety, but treasonous.

    US Constitution, Fourth Amendment: “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.”

    None of that supreme Law was carried out. Then add to that those people who serve within that agency, including those who ORDERED it to be done (from within the agency or outside of it) are all Oath breakers (felony and Perjury); broke the contract that they serve under and are (required to be) Oath bound to which makes them no longer meet the requirements of the position they occupy; willingly sell out our nation and legitimate government for a paycheck – treason is cheap nowadays. Etc.

    *28 C.F.R. Section 0.85 Terrorism is defined as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”.

    “Granting a wiretap order means “permitting wire, oral, or electronic surveillance” be subject to surveillance — or, rather, subject to heightened efforts to spy, given the multiple invasive domestic spying programs currently used by the National Security Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, or other unknown or unnamed agencies.”

    No, there can be NO wiretap order “granted” by a judge or anyone else LAWFULLY here in the USA without the listed procedures to be done first in the Fourth Amendment.

    “Usurpation” – the exercise of some otherwise legitimate governmental power as to which the particular actor actor enjoys no legal claim. (See John Locke, Two Treatises of Government, (London, England: Awnsham & Churchill, 1698. Book II, Chapters XVII-XVII, §§ 197-199. (See also Black’s Law Dictionary (St. Paul Minnesota: West Publising Co., Revised Fourth Edition, 1968), at 1713.) (Thanks Dr. Vieira http://constitutionalmilitia.org/usurpation-and-tyranny/)

    Tyranny” – the exercise of some purportedly “governmental”, but actually oppressive, power to which no
    one can claim ant legal or moral right, or the misuse of an otherwise legitimate governmental power for the private aggrandizement of the tyrant and his adherents rather than for the common good of the people. (See John Locke, Two Treatises of Government, (London, England: Awnsham & Churchill, 1698. Book II,
    Chapters XVII, § 199. See also Black’s Law Dictionary (St. Paul Minnesota: West Publising Co., Revised Fourth Edition, 1968), at 1689.) (Thanks Dr. Vieira http://constitutionalmilitia.org/usurpation-and-tyranny/)

    This is not our government in action, this is criminal action by an agency and its people working from the inside against our legitimate government. It is really easy to fact check what I said by reading the US Constitution and your own state’s Constitution (highest Law of your state except in the rare instances that it conflicts with the supreme Law of our land).

    What can those people who serve within that agency do to correct their errors besides be arrested, charged, prosecuted? They can start KEEPING the contract that they serve under and which is higher then the highest person who SERVES WITHIN OUR GOVERNMENTS because those documents are our government, not the people serving – elected, hired, contracted, etc. Those people are all put there to do the jobs LISTED (enumerated) within the US Constitution and within each state’s Constitution if a state employee of any type. They need to KEEP their oath, because ignorance is not bliss, just research history to see for yourself. “Just following orders” and “just doing your job” do not excuse you from the responsibility of your actions – read the Nuremberg Trials – they were still found guilty and hung because those crimes against the people could not have occurred if they had refused to do them instead of “just following orders” and “just doing your job”.

  2. 0 comments so far, the day before July 4th. Oh yeah, America’s got a great future. When everything else is gone there will only be cockroaches and cops. And God help the cockroaches.

  3. I know dozens of the sheeple, they all tell me that they are OK with the phone and spying think, “It will protect us and keep us safe from the rag heads”. America as we know it is FRELLED.

  4. Disgusting though it may seem, i’m sure there is a large percentage of Americans who support what their government is doing in fighting the “drug scourge”. An even larger percentage of Americans would also support their government’s illegal wars/ invasions going back at least to Vietnam. How ironic that such a large percentage of these fools will be found sitting in churches every Sunday; “Christian” in name only.

  5. Free Man (NOT) | July 4, 2017 at 5:47 pm | Reply

    “When you hear someone say, ‘If you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.’
    What they’re actually saying is, ‘If I’m not doing anything wrong, I don’t need to have rights.'”

    Ben Swann

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