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More Obama-NSA abuses

Yet another story that should be all over the media, but I haven’t seen it much. (If you have, let me know.)

Why wouldn’t it be covered? I find that it reflects great discredit on the Establishment (both political parties, Deep State and Controlled Media). As I started to say yesterday, they have ways to decide what you’re going to hear about. For as long as they can, they will bury stories that don’t fit their agenda.

To review some background:

  • Under the 4th Amendment, the government isn’t supposed to spy on U.S. people without a court-ordered warrant.
  • “The FISA Court” is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 “to oversee requests for surveillance warrants against foreign spies inside the United States by federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies.” (Wiki)
    Note, foreign.
  • But FISA Court hearings are secret and only the government and the court judge are present, like a kangaroo court. The adversarial system is abandoned.
  • As such, FISA tends to be very lenient to the government. Over time, they have created a secret body of law that gives the government sweeping powers to do domestic warrantless surveillance under an alleged “special needs exception” to the 4th Amendment.
    • One example – In 2013, Edward Snowden leaked a FISA order that requires phone companies to provide a daily, ongoing feed of everyone’s phone call data to the NSA. Super invasive!
  • Even so, FISA isn’t toothless and doesn’t approve everything – as you shall see. They need to preserve respectability, at least in their own eyes.
  • FISA judges are appointed solely by the Chief Justice of the United States. In this regard, Establishment Republicans control the FISA court.

That’s just background. Now for the news, as reported by John Solomon and Sara Carter at Circa.com.

Under President Obama, the NSA secretly conducted years of surveillance and searches on Americans that not even the secret, super-lenient FISA Court would approve.

The National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall, according to once top-secret documents that chronicle some of the most serious constitutional abuses to date by the U.S. intelligence community…

The Obama administration self-disclosed the problems at a closed-door hearing Oct. 26 before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that set off alarm…

The normally supportive court censured administration officials, saying the failure to disclose the extent of the violations earlier amounted to an “institutional lack of candor” and that the improper searches constituted a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue,” according to a recently unsealed court document dated April 26, 2017.

The admitted violations undercut one of the primary defenses that the intelligence community and Obama officials have used in recent weeks to justify their snooping into incidental NSA intercepts about Americans.

Circa has reported that there was a three-fold increase in NSA data searches about Americans and a rise in the unmasking of U.S. person’s identities in intelligence reports after Obama loosened the privacy rules in 2011.

Officials like former National Security Adviser Susan Rice have argued their activities were legal under the so-called minimization rule changes Obama made, and that the intelligence agencies were strictly monitored to avoid abuses.

The intelligence court and the NSA’s own internal watchdog found that not to be true…

The American Civil Liberties Union said the newly disclosed violations are some of the most serious to ever be documented and strongly call into question the U.S. intelligence community’s ability to police itself…

RTWT. Naturally, the NSA is scrambling to reassure people that it has fixed the problem. Riiiiiiiight. And Susan Rice didn’t lie and none of the surveillance data was ever misused against Obama opponents or improperly unmasked. Riiiiiiiight.

To people who understand civil liberties and limited government, all this is a huge deal that shows how far out of control the U.S. “intelligence community” (Deep State) has gotten. Chris Farrell at Judicial Watch compares it to President Lincoln’s suspension of habeus corpus during the U.S. Civil War.

Where is the Special Counsel on this?

Or the media coverage? Bush’s NSA did some illegal surveillance in the 2000s – and in 2005, was duly slammed by The New York Times. A large kerfuffle. “But that was then.” It served the interests of someone powerful – someone in deep alliance with, or control of, The New York Times – to weaken Bush. Not so much with Obama, eh?

See the FISA Court’s declassified order spanking the Obama administration, here. By the way, note how large sections of the relevant law and dockets are blacked out, showing how the FISA system has created secret law that the citizens aren’t supposed to know about. That’s horrible.

Also from Circa: Comey’s FBI was neck deep in the abuses.

The FBI has illegally shared raw intelligence about Americans with unauthorized third parties and violated other constitutional privacy protections, according to newly declassified government documents that undercut the bureau’s public assurances…

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9 Comments

  1. But…but ex-NSA spook John Schindler, who VOX considers a threat along with Louise Mensch with fake new, said that the NSA is about to take down Trump. His ‘sources’ say that the director of the NSA gave a speak to ‘all-hands townhall’ that the NSA has intell that Trump collude with the Russians. http://observer.com/2017/05/mike-rogers-nsa-chief-admits-trump-colluded-with-russia/

    Only question I have to ask is why is the director boasting about it to the agency and not telling anyone else? Perhaps he doesn’t want to have to answer other questions about what the NSA has been doing.

    Comment by brightdarkness — May 26, 2017 @ 2:27 pm - May 26, 2017

  2. bd – I hadn’t seen that one and I appreciate the link. All I can say is:

    1) What will be, will be. It’s in Mueller’s hands now.

    2) And yet, the account sounds pretty hokey. As you hint, if the story is true, then Rogers talking about it at an employee townhall is 9 on the 1 – 10 scale of “inappropriate”. In that way, it’s a self-undercutting story. Probably exaggerated as in the game of Telephone.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — May 26, 2017 @ 2:41 pm - May 26, 2017

  3. I have been following the Circa investigations for some time and I believe that they may well have pulled the thread that will bring the DemonizingRats out into the open. The FOIA info forced out of the FISA Court will limit the leaks and obstruction to a handful of people. If, for instance, one of those caught up is Loretta Lynch, opening that venue could lead to all manner of improprieties from Benghazi to Hillary’s server and even Lois Lerner. As the English rhyme has it:

    For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
    For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
    For want of a horse the rider was lost.
    For want of a rider the battle was lost.
    For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
    And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

    A little erosion can lead to amazing results.

    Comment by Heliotrope — May 26, 2017 @ 2:43 pm - May 26, 2017

  4. First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.” – Niemöller

    Comment by Ted B. (Charging Rhino) — May 26, 2017 @ 2:48 pm - May 26, 2017

  5. I hadn’t heard of Circa. Will probably start reading more of their stuff.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — May 26, 2017 @ 2:50 pm - May 26, 2017

  6. But Bush did it…… Says the 4 year old lil letter mike.

    Comment by tnnsne1 — May 26, 2017 @ 5:44 pm - May 26, 2017

  7. I did not know that the FISA court judges were appointed by Roberts. Since I’m not a fan of Roberts & his judgments, I can only say that anyone that he would appoint or employ, would be malleable & untrustworthy, adhering to the usual strictures of the deepset Neocon remnant of the GOP Establishment. Terrible.

    Comment by Hanover — May 26, 2017 @ 5:47 pm - May 26, 2017

  8. I’m not worried that some gov’t drone might look at my emails and phone call records… anyone who did would shoot themselves from boredom.

    What I do worry about, however, is data mining. In that case, no human needs look at anything but as we’ve seen with Linked In, Google and Amazon, a little data mining can build a pretty thorough profile. Just think what could be done with NSA-scale data collection.

    OTOH: while gov’t will seep into every nook and cranny it can, a case can be made that we’ve admitted a substantial fifth column via our insane immigration “system”. Millions of immigrants, legal or not, that are not interested in becoming Americans and who, thanks to technology, can have nearly constant contact with people “back home”, provide a good case for watching international communications channels.

    Back in the days of ocean liners and Ellis Island, an immigrant didn’t have much choice: adapt and assimilate or go back home.

    Since we’re unwilling to secure the borders and evaluate people coming here, we’ve provided a rationale for “securing” the interior. That’s how we get more illiterate goatherds from Somalia than, say, doctors and engineers from Australia.

    As Mark Steyn has pointed out, the “secure zones” will get larger and larger as the enemy figures out that self-detonating outside the secure zone works just as well (see Manchester).

    Comment by KCRob — May 26, 2017 @ 6:52 pm - May 26, 2017

  9. KCRob @ #8 touches upon an interesting contradiction of “then vs. now:”

    What I do worry about, however, is data mining.

    (….)

    Back in the days of ocean liners and Ellis Island, an immigrant didn’t have much choice: adapt and assimilate or go back home.

    The little puke in Manchester hopped around the Middle East like a jet-setter, yet he appears to have lived in subsidized housing.

    Our CIA has enormous spying facilities in Australia and New Zealand and other spots in the world where the niceties of US law do not apply.

    How is it that our “intelligence” agencies are the kings of data mining, but we are not permitted to put 2 + 2 together because = profiling?

    Saint Franklin D. Roosevelt locked up the Japanese Americans and he abandoned the fleeing Jews to drift, but not come into the US. Yet he is still a friggin’ Progressive god.

    Here’s an idea: Citizenship bootcamp.

    In citizenship bootcamp, any questionable immigrant is given the advantage of pre-citizenship up close and personal and properly prepared for the sacrament of citizenship. His life and actions are data-mined for anomalies. He is given a generous settlement period in which he gets his mind right for the rigors of self-reliance and the obligations of freedom.

    Back in the old days at Ellis Island, seasoned inspectors looked at each person in the huddled masses and were largely effective in protecting the country from intrusion by the wrong “sort” of immigrant.

    Police forces across the country keep track of gang symbols and ever changing smuggling inventions. Local cops know where to turn up likely perps. That is the basis of effective policing.

    Did you notice that the Manchester, England cops immediately unwrapped a nest of cockroaches and went into overdrive without paying particular attention to political correctness? They have 11 people in custody, but you may be certain that their immediate “of interest” list runs into the four digits.

    Why shouldn’t we always be on “high alert” for terrorists, sex slavers, MS-13 types, immigrant crooks and bad actors? We have the “data mining” capabilities, but lack the will.

    I have no sympathy with felon immigrants whose country won’t take them back. We can build prison facilities just for them and lock them away under roughly the same conditions they would have in their home country. Sheriff Arpaio proved that it can be done.

    There is no direct path to extending the Constitutional rights of We the People to folks who crash our borders and hospitality. What logic compels us to insist on acting against our own best interests?

    Data mining is here to stay and what bothers most people is that data mining destroys their ambiguous sense of “privacy.” Libertarians have an equally ambiguous sense concerning “liberty/freedom.”

    No matter what form of government people choose, in choosing they surrender a certain amount of both privacy and liberty/freedom for the common good and the rule of law. To pretend otherwise is to believe in unicorns.

    If the state can pick my pocket to distribute illegal immigrants around the country, the same state can spend the pickings from my pocket on keeping illegal immigrants at a minimum.

    As always, what the state does in the name of securing the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity is a matter of what priorities are set.

    Comment by Heliotrope — May 27, 2017 @ 3:04 pm - May 27, 2017

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