Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The NSA : National Spying Agency

Today President Shrub insisted that the US does not listen in on domestic telephone conversations among ordinary Americans. Well, what about international calls? And what exactly is his definition of "ordinary Americans"?
Of course he declined to specifically discuss the goverments compiling of phone records, or whether it would amount to an invasion of privacy.--Clearly it is.
Tony Snowjob insisted that Bush's comments didn't amount to a confirmation of published reports that the NSA's surveillance was broader than initally acknowedged & that it included secretly collecting millions of phone call records.
Today, Verizon Communications denied it had recieved a request for customer phone records from the NSA. The statement came a day after Bell South Corp. also said the NSA never requested customer call data.
This all comes after a story in USA Today last Thursday said that Verizon, AT&T, & Bell South has complied with an NSA request for tens of millions of customer phone records after 9/11/01. The paper cited anonymous sources "with direct knowledge of the arrangement."
USA Today said in a follow up story that Bell South did not challenge the initial report when given details about it prior to publication.
San Antonio based AT&T has said, " we have an obligation to assist law enforcement and other goverment agencies responsible for protecting the public welfare."
Bell South, Verizon, & AT&T are facing a number of lawsuits by customers who allege violations of their privacy.
Quest Communications customers will be pleased to know that they were approached by the goverment, but Quest told them to screw off. Not in those exact words, of course! Hats off to Quest!!
Also, the FBI acknowledged that it is increasingly seeking reporters phone records in leak investigations.
An anonymous senior federal officer said, " It used to be very hard and complicated to do this, but it no longer is in the Bush administration."
The acknowledgement came after ABC News reporters had been warned by a federal source that the goverment knew who they were calling.
FBI officials did not deny that phone records of ABC News, the Washington Post, & the New York Times had been sought as part of an investigation of leaks at the CIA.
In a statement, the FBI press office said it's leak investigations begin with the examination of goverment phone records. Phone records will be sought if goverment records are not sufficient.
(As a side note: A Senate confirmation hearing is scheduled for Thursday on Bush's nomination of Air Force General Michael Hayden to head the CIA. As the NSA Director from 1999-2005, Hayden oversaw the goverments warrantless surveillance program. Anyone see a pattern here??)
When people try & defend the goverment sponsored spying of American citizen's phone calls/records by claiming that it's to find "terrorists",etc,etc., I find that pretty hard to swallow. Reason: I am not a tool. I do not believe Bush's rhetoric about "protecting" me from al-Qaida. Especially when he says that they "don't listen to domestic phone calls without court approval". This administration is corrupt to the bone. They don't give a flying shit about "court approval". And I'm sure getting a "court approval" for Bush is extremely easy, whether it's legal & moral, or not. But most likely, it is not.