Bogus Security Vs. Tucker Carlson
Those who are quick to dismiss the TV host’s concerns that the NSA is spying on them should consider the dirty history of illegal surveillance.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson was mocked on social media this week for saying he was told that the National Security Agency Agency read his private email and spy on him. The usual suspects called Carlson paranoid because there are so many controls and balances in place to ensure that federal agencies would never illegally target an annoying Biden critic. However, on Tuesday, a disagreement from Travis LeBlanc, a member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, revealed that XKeyscore, one of the NSA’s most intrusive surveillance machines, may be violating federal law and the rights and privacy of Americans.
In 2013, Edward Snowden leaked documents proving that XKeyscore was the incarnation of the surveillance state’s paranoia. What did the NSA need to justify sucking up Americans’ email and internet data? Just recognizing “someone searching the internet for suspicious things”. The danger of this absurd standard was compounded because, as Snowden explained, NSA surveillance tools enabled him to “bug anyone, from you or your accountant to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email” . Thanks to its all-encompassing standard of “suspect,” the NSA has “on the order of $ 20 trillion” [email and phone] Transactions through US citizens with other US citizens, ”said former NSA senior analyst William Binney. Six months after Snowden’s revelations began, Federal Judge Richard Leon issued a judgment denouncing the NSA surveillance regime as “almost Orwellian”: “I cannot imagine a more arbitrary and arbitrary invasion than this systematic and high-tech collection and storage of personal data on virtual Level every single citizen for the purpose of query and analysis without prior judicial approval. “
In the wake of the turmoil sparked by the Snowden revelations, the Civil Rights Bureau took action to investigate XKeyscore. Six years later, the board finalized its 56-page report, the confidential version of which was presented to the White House and select members of Congress in March. Unfortunately, the board apparently didn’t have time to look under any rocks to see what the NSA might be hiding. In a dissent that was partially released on Tuesday, LeBlanc complained that the board did not ask “how many US individuals are affected by XKeyscore, how much data the program collects and how widely the information analyzed by XKeyscore is shared.” how many lives will be saved ”. , or the number of terrorist incidents that XKeyscore averted. ”In 2019, XKeyscore resulted in“ hundreds of compliance incidents, ”and LeBlanc noted that“ U.S. Laws and the known collection or processing of US personal data are serious compliance issues. ”However, the Civil Liberties Inspectorate did not request“ specific information ”about violations of US law by the NSA. LeBlanc grumbled that the board’s report “reads more like a book report on the XKeyscore program than an independent oversight analysis.”
The NSA apparently didn’t even bother to conduct a formal analysis of the legality or constitutionality of XKeyscore until 2016 after the oversight board specifically asked for such information. The NSA later claimed it conducted previous legal analysis justifying XKeyscore, but refused to share it with the oversight board. LeBlanc said that Washington Post“We have a very powerful surveillance program that still has no judicial oversight eight years or so after being discovered and which I believe to be inadequate legal analysis and serious compliance violations.”
The NSA claims it conducted “appropriate legal reviews” on XKeyscore. The NSA said the same thing when Snowden started blasting its credibility to pieces. Rebecca Richards, NSA’s civil rights and data protection officer, said the compliance incidents had been investigated and “we have determined that these are standard intelligence practices.” This isn’t as comforting as Richards might have hoped. Think of the ridiculous legal rationale that warranted data summaries after 9/11. Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows the government to seize information relevant to a terrorism investigation without a warrant. The Bush and Obama administrations decided that all American phone records were “relevant” to terrorism investigations. The NSA effectively claimed that it was not “targeting” individuals as it was seizing everyone’s data. This “finding” was kept secret from the public and the vast majority of Congress – as well as from federal judges who heard cases that challenged the constitutionality of state surveillance regimes.
Much of LeBlanc’s XKeyscore reviews remain a secret. In his publicly released statement, he said it was “inexcusable” that the board had made no effort to obtain approval of the report or parts of it. Commenting on the LeBlanc revelation, Senator Ron Wyden, the toughest federal espionage guard in Congress, said, “I remain concerned that Americans are still far too ignorant of the government’s surveillance activities under Executive Order 12333 and how they compromise their privacy. Wyden urges that numerous civil rights committee reports be released to “investigate these secret agencies that regulate the collection and use of Americans’ personal information.” Wyden, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is silenced for exposing the NSA’s confidential filth.
Unfortunately, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, founded in 2004, is the same type of lap dog as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which stamps 99 percent of search warrants requested. At the end of 2005 the New York Times reported that George W. Bush’s “secret order from the President of the NSA has given the NSA the freedom to … read the emails of millions of Americans”. The NSA’s program quickly went under the name “J. Edgar Hoover Memorial Vacuum Cleaner, ”but that didn’t stop the Civil Liberties Inspectorate from wholeheartedly advocating it. In 2007, before the board could release its belated first annual report, White House officials massively wrote and censored Bush a draft, causing Democratic board member Lanny Davis to resign in protest. Unlike Senator Wyden, the oversight panel issued no warnings to Snowden that federal oversight regimes were out of control.
None of this proves that the NSA bugged Tucker Carlson. But his situation could match one of the most untimely and embarrassing Supreme Court decisions of modern times. Barack Obama had applied for the presidency as an opponent of unconditional wiretapping, but after taking office he was quickly passed out for this power at the push of a button. Numerous lawsuits challenged the constitutionality of full surveillance without an arrest warrant, but the Justice Department kept trying to evict the plaintiffs. The New York Times In 2012, the Obama administration’s position called “a particularly cynical catch-22: Since the wiretaps are secret and no one can say with certainty whether their calls have been or are being monitored, nobody has the right to sue the monitoring.” This was the legal version of party ethics: as long as the government blindfolds its victims, it can do what it wants.
The Supreme Court swallowed this argument in a decision made in early 2013. Judge Samuel Alito, who wrote for the 5-4 majority, noted that the court declined to bring action to the government on “theories requiring presumption” and noted that the applicants “were not specific Have set out facts that show that the communications from their overseas contacts are being targeted. ”Alito maintained the position of the Obama administration because the complaints about the espionage were“ necessarily presumptive ”and“ too speculative ”based on concerns that“ hypothetical future damage ”. The majority opinion also insisted that the government has many safeguards – like the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court – in place to ensure that the rights of innocent Americans are not violated. A few months later, Snowden’s revelations broke those arguments, revealing that the NSA can eavesdrop on almost any cell phone in the world, suck up smartphone data, access computers remotely, and crack the vast majority of computer encryption.
After Carlson stated that his email would be intercepted, the NSA issued a statement Tuesday stating that “Tucker Carlson” has never been an intelligence Agency Objective … With limited exceptions (such as an emergency), the NSA must not attack a US citizen without a court order expressly authorizing the aiming. ”“ No Intelligence Objective ”is about as reassuring as“ none Drone Target “for the large number of innocent bystanders who were blown up by Obama’s assassination program. Ninety percent of the people whose email and other data was dragged into NSA surveillance trawls were not the real goals of the NSA, after a 2014 Washington Post Analysis based on data provided by Snowden.
Since 9/11, breaking the constitution in Washington has been an involuntary crime. In his dissent revealed this week, LeBlanc stated that “the public is right to be concerned about classified surveillance programs”. Many of the people who make fun of Tucker Carlson’s worries should read up on the recent history of illegal mass surveillance. “Government by law” requires more than superficial denial of federal crimes.
James Bovard is the author of Lost rights, Attention deficit democracy, and Public policy hooligan. He is also a USA today Columnist. Follow him on Twitter @JimBovard.