The following rush transcript probably contains errors and/or omissions…
A Roundup of More NSA Badness
Rex Latchford here in New York City with a Thank-GOD-it’s-Friday edition of DayPage…
Yesterday, of course, was Thursday, and for the last month or so, that’s meant more revelations in TheGuardian about the monkey business the NSA, or National Security Agency, has been up to with their out-of-control spying on citizens.
Here’s a summary of yesterday’s sad. sad news:
In what’s being called the “NSA Drone Document”, the NSA says people who oppose drones are “threats” and “adversaries” – reason enough for abusive detention. So much for free speech.
Black people were seen as a threat to National Security back in the 1960’s – apparently NSA staff were racists then, and – just possibly – now. With Operation Minaret, set up in the 1960’s to monitor critics of the Vietnam War, Muhammad Ali and Martin Luther King. The NSA maintains it’s own Four Volume document outlining it’s spying activity during the cold war era. This included tapping into the phone calls and cable communications of senators, journalists, cartoonists, and television personalities. Of course there were no text messages or Internet to tap into in those days which must have frustrated the NSA immeasurably.
Other documents outline how the NSA accessed computers at the Indian embassy in Washington and the mission to the UN in New York. The documents reveal the extent and aggressive nature of NSA targeting of India. In March of 2013, for example, the NSA said it collected 6.3 million pieces of information from Internet networks in India and 6.2 billion from the country’s telephone networks.
In related news, DropBox has joined tech giants suing the government to allow it to publish information about just how many requests it gets to let the government look inside people’s drop boxes. Earlier this year, the NSA announced its desire to include DropBox and Google Voice in the PRISM program so it could collect the content of ALL dropboxes, google voice calls, and texts, without having to make specific requests.
Four Senators introduced legislation on Wednesday to roll back the powers of the NSA. ALthough they said the legislation is “not cosmetic”, it remains to be seen if it will have any effect, since NSA documents make it clear it makes little attempt to obey the law, regulators, and overseers, making it a government unto-itself. No wonder President Obama seems a fearful servant of the NSA more than anything else.
Bigwigs at the NSA begged Congress on Thursday to not make any changes that would impede the NSA’s relentless collection of data. They admitted that the Snowden disclosures would change the way they operate, but strongly urged that the program that mass collects telephone data and telephone recordings be continued. At the same time, the snoop honchos refused to answer most of the questions they were asked, citing the need for secrecy, classification of information, and threats to national security. The NSA was criticized by Senators: “Time and time again the American people were told one thing in a public forum, while intelligence agencies did something else in private”.
That’s all we’ve got time for on this DayPage.
By the way, you can see the actual NSA documents at TheGuardian.com – don’t take journalists’ words for it if you have any doubt this stuff is real or very very serious.
DayPage’s senior producer is Peter Patriot, and produced by Mincka Bito here at InfoWeb Broadcast Center in New York. Join me again this weekend, or on Monday, for another DayPage. Until then… you’re being snooped!