If you don't read Glenn Greenwald regularly, then perhaps yesterday's news about the NSA collecting the phone records of millions of Americans came as a shock. Not to this blogger. If I wasn't so lazy I would comb through my previous years blog postings and give you numerous examples of what, over two administrations, has become common knowledge to those paying close attention.
The 4th amendment, no matter what you think or how you feel about it, has been all but nullified in the aftermath of 9-11....here's a few bullet points....
Every day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications.
1.7 billion intercepted and stored U.S. communications PER DAY, EVERY DAY.
In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings - about 17 million square feet of space.
An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.
The book from which the WAPO piece is derived is Top Secret America by Dana Priest and William Arkin. The book has been available for three years, I have a copy. What became "breaking news" yesterday in the incompetent corporate media is neither breaking, nor, really, news.
Priest and Arkin explain in detail the secrecy and the overwhelming size of the Surveillance State constructed over the last 12 years following 9-11.
If you heard the comments from politicians on both sides yesterday, you also know that the Surveillance State is bipartisan. Whether Saxby Chambliss (R-MS) or Diane Feinstein (D-CA), whether Huckleberry Graham (R-SC) or Chuck Schumer (D-NY).....virtually every elected official not only knew about the millions and billions of NSA intercepted communications coming from law-abiding Americans.....but they approve of every communication being collected. To elected officials, there is nothing new to be learned from yesterday's Guardian revelation.
The following is one of the earliest stories detailing the construction of the NSA's Surveillance State .....
Mark Klein was a 62 year old AT&T technician in 2002 working in a San Francisco network facility. He tells in a column published November 2002 in the Washington Post about a visitor to his AT&T network hub site in the summer of 2002. The visitor was from the NSA.....
....the NSA set up a system that vacuumed up Internet and phone-call data from ordinary Americans with the cooperation of AT&T . Contrary to the government's depiction of its surveillance program as aimed at overseas terrorists, Klein said, much of the data sent through AT&T to the NSA was purely domestic. Klein said he believes that the NSA was analyzing the records for usage patterns as well as for content.
He said the NSA built a special room to receive data streamed through an AT&T Internet room containing "peering links," or major connections to other telecom providers. The largest of the links delivered 2.5 gigabits of data -- the equivalent of one-quarter of the Encyclopedia Britannica's text -- per second,...
At the time, and just like how Verizon responded yesterday, AT&T had no comment about Klein's revelation. That was ELEVEN years ago. Point being.....even though many squawking heads on the teevee and online were oh-so-terribly-shocked by what Greenwald's Guardian column revealed yesterday.....this has all been known for over a decade.
Now, allow me to pour a heavy shooter of Reality WTF.....I brew it daily. In the last couple of weeks corporate media representatives have been in sackcloth and ashes, rending their garments and wailing over the time-limited collection of phone log records of 5 AP writers by the Justice Department following a national security leak. All I can say to those self-important and sanctimonious sceechers is, where in the hell have you been? If the 4th column members are so johnnie-on-the-spot, digging deep and reporting on potentially dangerous stuff the government is doing in our names....why haven't more of the Knee Padders told Americans about A DECADE LONG PROGRAM to gather up every freaking electronic communication you, and 308 million other Americans, ever made? Just a simple straightforward question.
Also....on this same subject....I have a little shot of Reality WTF for Obama opponents as well. For four and half years, Republicans and conservatives have been railing against Obama for ......the stimulus, the bank bailout, the automaker bailout, Obamacare, Solyndra, Fast and Furious, Ft. Hood, Dodd-Frank, Benghazi, the IRS, and finally the AP and James Rosen alleged scandals. And yet, if the far right had wanted to really do damage to Obama, instead of just playing wingnut whining games to keep the extreme conservative base interested, surely they could have built a case around the Obama administration's NSA gathering up virtually every electronic communication ever made in America in the last ten years.
Once in awhile I have these passing thoughts in which I see America adrift on a sea of incompetence, irresponsibility, dishonesty and.....well.....utter bullshite. Today is one of those once in awhiles.
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