by Derrick Broze
May 7, 2013
Most Americans who pay attention to the daily news have noticed the idea of privacy eroding in our society. More and more we face the watchful eyes of closed circuit television, and a growing militarization of police forces around the nation. For years now we have heard about the overwhelming threat of global terrorism and how we must give up our freedoms in order to keep the nation safe.
Many of us are aware that our daily communications could possibly be surveilled and watched if we are suspected of “terrorism”. This point was made even more clear recently when former FBI Counter Terrorism expert Tim Clemente appeared on CNN for a couple of interviews.
Appearing on Erin Burnett Outfront, discussing the recent Boston bombings, Mr. Clemente makes it quite clear, the government is tracking all digital communications. The following exchange is from the transcript.
BURNETT: Tim, is there any way, obviously, there is a voice mail they can try to get the phone companies to give that up at this point. It’s not a voice mail. It’s just a conversation. There’s no way they actually can find out what happened, right, unless she tells them?
CLEMENTE: No, there is a way. We certainly have ways in national security investigations to find out exactly what was said in that conversation. It’s not necessarily something that the FBI is going to want to present in court, but it may help lead the investigation and/or lead to questioning of her. We certainly can find that out.
BURNETT: So they can actually get that? People are saying, look, that is incredible.
Appearing on another CNN program shortly after, Mr. Clemente makes it clear that all digital communications are recorded and stored, to be pulled out whenever needed. When asked if he was speaking about recovery of voicemail or some other technology, Clemente says, “I am talking about all digital communications, are…umm… there is a way to look at digital communications in the past, and I can’t go into how it’s done or what’s done but I can tell you that no digital communication is secure.”
Glenn Greenwald, writer for the Guardian, points out that this information is not new but rather further evidence that privacy is a thing of the past in the United States.
“There have been some previous indications that this is true. Former AT&T engineer Mark Klein revealed that AT&T and other telecoms had built a special network that allowed the National Security Agency full and unfettered access to data about the telephone calls and the content of email communications for all of their customers. Specifically, Klein explained “that the NSA set up a system that vacuumed up Internet and phone-call data from ordinary Americans with the cooperation of AT&T” and that “contrary to the government’s depiction of its surveillance program as aimed at overseas terrorists . . . much of the data sent through AT&T to the NSA was purely domestic.
It would also help explain the revelations of former NSA official William Binney , who resigned from the agency in protest over its systemic spying on the domestic communications of US citizens, that the US government has “assembled on the order of 20 trillion transactions about US citizens with other US citizens” (which counts only communications transactions and not financial and other transactions), and that “the data that’s being assembled is about everybody. And from that data, then they can target anyone they want.”
This information of course goes hand in hand with the nearly completed NSA data center in Utah. The data center is planned to be 1 million or 1.5 million square feet. It will cost between $1 to 2 billion dollars to build and another $40 million to run every year. It is believed to be able to capture “all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Internet searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital ‘pocket litter’.”
Putting the mass surveillance state into perspective you begin to realize that the once feared and rejected plan for Total Information Awareness has now been completed. After the attacks of 9/11 the United States government reacted with all kinds of legislation seeking to spy on and investigate everyday Americans. After much public outrage the program was killed. However, in the years since 9/11 we have seen the pieces of the program implemented one by one.
Incrementalism is an old tactic of totalitarian regimes. By using fear as leverage governments are able to implement horrific programs and legislation that would not normally pass. Today we are faced with a constant barrage of terror warnings and fear campaigns. The culmination of this tyranny is a completely controlled and monitored society where freedom is doled out by the state and big brother is your friend.
It is up to each and every one of us to spread this information and help awareness build. Only an educated, and aware populace can turn the tide of tyranny we see before us. Stand strong, and cover your tracks. Big Brother is watching.
Derrick Broze is a founding member of The Houston Free Thinkers.
He writes for dev-test.intellihub.com a popular independent news website.
He can be heard on Orion Talk Radio, Local Live Houston and the upcoming Unbound Radio.
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