Friday, June 21, 2013

Paranoid Androids

That's nice.

The FBI is burning the midnight oil developing their own policies and procedures for the use of drones to spy on the public.  Perhaps they'll finish their work before drones become outdated. 

Why would I expect Congress, in authorizing such capabilities in the first place, to write the laws by which the FBI (and the rest of the agencies that monitor us to save us from the cavemen) must live if they wish to fly drones and spy? I know, that's sooo 19th century. It makes more sense to, in essence, sharpen the fox's teeth and then tell him to keep a close eye on the hen house.

And when Congress does act, we get this:

Congress authorized the collection program amid a great debate about the degree to which the government was expanding its surveillance authority without sufficient protection for Americans’ privacy.
Authorized by Section 702 of the amended Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the program did away with the traditional individual warrant for each foreign suspect whose communications would be collected in the United States. In its place, the FISA court, which oversees domestic surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes and whose proceedings are secret, would certify the government’s procedures to target people overseas and ensure citizens’ privacy.

It issues a certificate, good for one year, that allows the NSA to order a U.S. Internet or phone company to turn over over e-mails, phone calls and other communications related to a series of foreign targets, none of which the court approved individually.

And, why let the Feds have all the fun? 

Having developed one of the most sophisticated surveillance networks in the United States, the New York Police Department is now expanding its use, giving local precinct commanders new powers to fight street crime with high-tech toolspreviously used only in counterterrorism operations.

"The technology, having been inspired and engineered with a sense of urgency after 9/11, has obvious applications to conventional crime fighting," said Paul Browne, chief NYPD spokesman. "That is in the process of being expanded citywide, for what - after all - is our primary mission, which is to fight crime."
New York is among a handful of big U.S. cities that have been developing extensive surveillance networks in recent years using federal anti-terrorism funding. New York's network was initially modeled after London's so-called 'Ring of Steel,' the most extensive surveillance camera network anywhere.
There are no legal restrictions against using the surveillance network for traditional crime fighting, though much of the network has been built with Homeland Security grants. But the sheer scope and sophistication of the system worries people like Christopher Dunn, associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union.
"There is no outside monitoring of the use of this system at protections now - none, zero," said Dunn, whose group filed a lawsuit on Tuesday accusing the police of violating religious freedoms and constitutional guarantees of equality in its monitoring of Muslim communities.
And now comes a whistleblower's word that the spies aren't content with watching you and I, but have their eyes and ears on American generals and politicians.... now which country do you think would be most interested in spying on men and women in positions of power in the US military and government? Maybe China? Maybe Israel?
Russ Tice, a former intelligence analyst and Bush-era NSA whistleblower, claimed Wednesday that the intelligence community has ordered surveillance on a wide range of groups and individuals, including high-ranking military officials, lawmakers and diplomats.
He also made another stunning allegation. He says the NSA had ordered wiretaps on phones connected to then-Senate candidate Barack Obama back in 2004.
“They went after–and I know this because I had my hands literally on the paperwork for these sort of things–they went after high-ranking military officers; they went after members of Congress, both Senate and the House, especially on the intelligence committees and on the armed services committees and some of the–and judicial,” Tice told Peter B. Collins on Boiling Frog Post News.
He went on: “But they went after other ones, too. They went after lawyers and law firms. All kinds of–heaps of lawyers and law firms. They went after judges. One of the judges is now sitting on the Supreme Court that I had his wiretap information in my hand. Two are former FISA court judges. They went after State Department officials. They went after people in the executive service that were part of the White House–their own people.”
Then Tice dropped the bombshell about Obama.
“Here’s the big one,” he said. “[T]his was in summer of 2004, one of the papers that I held in my hand was to wiretap a bunch of numbers associated with a 40-something-year-old wannabe senator for Illinois. You wouldn’t happen to know where that guy lives right now would you? It’s a big white house in Washington, D.C. That’s who they went after, and that’s the president of the United States now.”
FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds and Tice agreed that such wide-ranging surveillance of officials could provide the intelligence agencies with unthinkable power to blackmail their opponents.
“I was worried that the intelligence community now has sway over what is going on,” Tice said.

Tice first blew the whistle on what he alleged was seriously unconstitutional domestic spying across multiple agencies in 2005. He later admitted he was the key source in a bombshell New York Times report that exposed the Bush administration’s use of warantless wiretapping of international communications in the United States.

The Bush administration admitted to the wiretapping on a small scale but denied Tice’s claims that the tactic was likely being used to gather data on millions of Americans.

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden also claimed that as an analyst, he could wiretap the phones of anyone, including judges or the president of the United States if he had access to the right information. 

All these psychos spying on each other brings to mind this Radiohead song:

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