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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013

IRS Reads Your Mail

It appears the IRS is reading your private emails without a warrant.

The ACLU did some freedom of information requests and found that it is likely the IRS is reading private emails without a warrant, despite a ruling in US vs. Warshak that requires warrants for emails.

The IRS's manual says they can, according to this story:

“Investigators can obtain everything in an account except for unopened e-mail or voice mail stored with a provider for 180 days or less using a [relevant-and-material-standard] court order” ...

Read the full story at TechDirt.

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Transparent? Ha.. Just another crony

Even the New York Times is denunciating Obama use of data mining, claiming that “the administration has now lost all credibility" on the issue of balancing civil rights with national security.




Get Real

This is not a minor small scandal to play political party tit-for-tat with. I mean, it is certainly your right to do that, but it's a little like fiddling around (sic) while Rome burned.

Here's an article from yesterday's Alternet about how much of the surveillance program has come to light at this point (almost nothing):




Funny, but I hear only crickets on this post. Had this occurred under the previous administration there would have been 30 comments or mini novels on the corruption and plague that has destroyed life as we know it. Or maybe everyone is afraid to comment since big brother is really watching this time!


Where You Hear Crickets, I Hear Old News

The Federal gov't started collecting all your calls and emails under George W. Bush in early 2001 (before 9/11).

There was a big kurfuffle about it and the NSA was upset because they are strictly forbidden from collecting domestic calls, but they were order to do so and unhappily did.


A few articles

I thought I had some of this stuff bookmarked, but didn't.

However here's the first thing Google brought up for the search: "telecoms surrender all calls and emails to Bush"

- it's from USA Today, hardly a radical leftie journal.


This story says the program was launched after 9/11, but from what I've heard and read, that is not true.
Here's some evidence that the program started before 9/11.


This is the Wikipedia article on Qwest communications. Qwest was the lone Telecom that refused to participate in the NSA's spying program (scroll down to "Refusal for NSA spying").
The article quotes then CEO, Joseph Nacchio (who was later put in jail) as stating that the NSA came to them for these records 6 months before 9/11.

Democrats and Obama are certainly complicit. Here's a 2008 Salon.com article on the bill that gave the Telecoms immunity to do this, helping to gut the 4rth amendment of the constitution.


And just by "chance", today's Guardian is on the NSA spying topic with regards to internet giants, Google, Facebook, Apple & etc. This started in December of 2007 - so again, Bush started this program originally, but Obama has certainly continued it.


From where I sit, you have to be willfully ignorant to have been surprised by any of this. The firewall against domestic spying was breached in 2001 and has been steadily expanded. The Bush administration also fought for and I believe they received the right to open your mail. There'll be journalistic evidence of that somewhere out in the ether as well, but somebody else can go find that.

The message for the SteveJD's of the world is that both our political parties have signed on to this. I'm pretty sure that the mass of voters in neither camp, GOP or Democratic would support this, yet it happened.

Why is anyone's guess.

Mine would be that we have a humongous intel apparatus - in fact about 26 of them if I remember the number correctly.
There's the big ones that we all know: CIA, FBI, & NSA.
There's also the DIA, the DOD's own huge dept. The Defense Intelligence Agency usurped a lot of the CIAs power under Bush (the DIA is not subject to direct Senate oversight like the CIA).
Many other gov.t agencies have their own sub agencies - even the State Dept has their own tiny (260 person, I believe) I.A. And city police dept.s also have intel gathering capabilities these days (and some have for decades).

And what they all have in common is a craving for data and there it was all sitting there in the hands of the telecoms. Clearly the Bush family with its CIA ties had sympathies with this craving and while this was not something they talked about (oddly enough) on the campaign trail in 2000, it was part of their agenda all along judging by how swiftly they moved on it in 2001.

Seems to my that we're the most spied on group the world has ever seen.


Everybody's Favorite Topic Now

Under Bush the newspapers were scared to talk about this stuff - not so now.

Today's WaPo is on the scent (finally):



And Verizon is evil

Verizon collects YOUR phone records and gives them to the NSA on an "ongoing, daily basis" of all calls on its systems.

This is an Obama directive, too. They told the phone company they were forbidden to discuss it.

BIGGER UPDATE: ...and the NSA claims full access to the servers of Microsoft, Apple, You Tube, Facebook, AOL, and others.


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