There are a ton of opinions on this subject and we’ll get to those in a moment.
But first the story:
The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.
The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an “ongoing, daily basis” to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.
The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.
The secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisa) granted the order to the FBI on April 25, giving the government unlimited authority to obtain the data for a specified three-month period ending on July 19.
Under the terms of the blanket order, the numbers of both parties on a call are handed over, as is location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls. The contents of the conversation itself are not covered.
via NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily | World news | The Guardian.
But, there is a big difference this time:
Under the Bush administration, officials in security agencies had disclosed to reporters the large-scale collection of call records data by the NSA, but this is the first time significant and top-secret documents have revealed the continuation of the practice on a massive scale under President Obama.
The unlimited nature of the records being handed over to the NSA is extremely unusual. Fisa court orders typically direct the production of records pertaining to a specific named target who is suspected of being an agent of a terrorist group or foreign state, or a finite set of individually named targets.
Which sounds about right for the Democrats, because they are perfectly fine with Government of a massive scale.
Now there are two very important opinions on this subject that I want you to see. They are same political slant; however, the opinions are very different. Please go check out Michelle Malkin’s take and Ed Morrissey’s take on this subject. While I agree on Michelle Malkin’s assessment, I really do not agree with her narrative at all. If you are smart and read her a good deal, you will know what I am talking about.
Now there is one thing that Ed Morrissey wrote that I, as an Independent, and someone who believes that the war on terror is a very real thing and that we should at least try to keep America safe, without trampling on our constitutional rights. I believe this to be very true and very profound statement coming from someone like Mr. Morrissey:
Hypocrisy is an unfortunately ubiquitous condition in politics, but in the case of NSA seizing Verizon’s phone records, it’s particularly widespread. Some of the people expressing outrage for the Obama administration’s efforts at data mining had a different attitude toward it when Bush was in office. Conversely, we’ll see some people defending Obama who considered Bush evil incarnate for the same thing.
Either way, we’re left with the situation of having the federal government seizing private records without any meaningful civil due process that engages the citizens affected, whether that includes actual wiretaps or just cataloguing our calls and movements. Perhaps this will move this issue out of the partisan sphere and into a common ground in which we can all work to define exactly how far we’re willing to go in trading privacy for security. In order to get there, we’d all better recognize the hypocrisy that has abounded on this issue for far too long, and start thinking about higher principles than party affiliation when it comes to national security and constitutional protections.
Now that last part that I underlined, is something I wholeheartedly agree with. When the story broke about Bush and Co. came about the wiretaps, I remember Keith Olbermann doing a special comment on it and I admired him for standing up. Now, where’s Keith? Where are the liberals who thought that this was much too intrusive? Where are they now? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
My hat tip goes to Glenn Greenwald for putting principles over partisanship and getting this story to the masses. Glenn has been about the only liberal who has stood up and pointed out that Obama Administration has continued the policies of the George W. Bush Administration and in some cases; like this one here — has expanded them to an alarming degree. Yes, this is overreach and it is alarming and I do hope the Congress does something about it.
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