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Status Quo Spying Upsets Associated Press

By The Reverend Published: May 14, 2013

I just have to mention yesterday's words from Maharishi Darrell Issa (R-CA) while being interviewed on Faux News.....

".....an act of terror is different than a terrorist attack."

There we have it. The act of beating a dead horse is not the same as a dead horse beating.

But enough about Republican Mensa members.....there's a new Obama conspiracy brewing.....yes, new. No, not about Benghazi this time, not about IRS underlings "persecuting" the poor, victimized Tea Party and "patriot" groups by approving every one of their 501c tax exempt applications......a brand spanking new, not fully out of the box......Obama conspiracy to silence the Associated Press through intimidation.

In April and May of 2012...."The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press...."

Not wiretapping of AP journalists phones.....not eavesdropping. That would have been unnnecessary as you'll soon find out. But instead, obtaining the phone numbers of those called by 5 specific AP journalists and one editor.....AP journalists who were suspected of receiving classified, national security information which they included in a May 7, 2012 story about a foiled terror plot.

The records were presumably obtained from phone companies earlier this year...... None of the information provided by the government to the AP suggested the actual phone conversations were monitored.

And then there's always an exception.....

News organizations normally are notified in advance that the government wants phone records and then they enter into negotiations over the desired information. In this case, however, the government, in its letter to the AP, cited an exemption to those rules that holds that prior notification can be waived if such notice, in the exemption's wording, might "pose a substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation."

It seems that the AP story being questioned was about the second "underwear bomber" plot which was discovered and pre-empted last year...

A May 7, 2012, article by (AP's) Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman said the CIA had derailed a planned attack by al Qaeda-backed terrorists in Yemen. The attack would have used an upgraded version of the device worn by the “underwear bomber” who unsuccessfully sought to down a U.S.-bound commercial jetliner on Christmas Day in 2009.

The DOJ's search for the phone call records of 5 AP journalists during April, May, 2012 was for the purpose of finding out who was leaking classified information to those journalists. Of special interest to U.S. intelligence personnel was the second generation underwear bomb allegedly to be used in the derailed Yemen plot. Intelligence officials were eager to keep the details of this second generation underwear bomb under wraps, so to speak. Here's CIA Director, John Brennan's take on the AP story of May 7, 2012....

John O. Brennan, who is now the CIA director, said in testimony in February that the release of information related to the Yemen plot was “unauthorized and dangerous disclosure of classified information.”

Now, my take: What the Justice Department ordered concerning AP reporters is a result of the new security and surveillance state paradigm in the U.S. since 9-11-01. You see, "everything changed" after 9-11. Privacy laws, provisions for government transparency, 4th amendment protections against government search and seizure, persons of interest exceptions, no-fly black lists,......and a telecommunications industry which now works hand in hand with a secretive government to spy on every electronic and phone communication made by every American....every hour of every day.....all make up this new paradigm. Not exactly a free and open democratic society anymore.....but hey, the Constitution ain't a suicide pact either.

Here's some truth about all this stuff which you rarely see or hear mentioned in corporate media.....

Every day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications.

I recommend reading the entire piece at that last link......just in case you were still thinking America was a free nation. Just in case you don't......here's some extra special "at least I know I'm free" evidence.....

On Wednesday night (May 1, 2013), (CNN's Erin) Burnett interviewed Tim Clemente, a former FBI counterterrorism agent, about whether the FBI would be able to discover the contents of past telephone conversations between the two (Tamerlan Tsarnev....dead Boston bomber guy and his wife Katherine Russell). He quite clearly insisted that they could:

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.

CLEMENTE: "No, welcome to America. All of that stuff is being captured as we speak whether we know it or like it or not."

No, the federal government should not be spying on the phone call histories of journalists. And the federal government should not be recording and storing every electronic and phone communication made by every American, either. But they are.
 

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