George Washington: Influential Senator Warned in 1975: “Th[e National Security Agency’s] Capability At Any Time Could Be Turned Around On The American People, And No American Would Have Any Privacy Left …There Would Be No Place To Hide. [If A Dictator Ever Took Over, The N.S.A.] Could Enable It To Impose Total Tyranny, And There Would Be No Way To Fight Back”

Senator Church’s Prophetic Warning

Senator Frank Church – who chaired the famous “Church Committee” into the unlawful FBI Cointel program, and who chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – said in 1975:

“Th[e National Security Agency’s]  capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.  [If a dictator ever took over, the N.S.A.] could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back.

Now, the NSA is building a $2 billion dollar facility in Utah which will use the world’s most powerful supercomputer to monitor virtually all phone calls, emails, internet usage, purchases and rentals, break all encryption, and then store everyone’s data permanently.

The former head of the program for the NSA recently held his thumb and forefinger close together, and said:

We are, like, that far from a turnkey totalitarian state

So Senator Church’s warning was prophetic.

Spying Began Before 9/11

While you might assume that the NSA’s spying on Americans is a response to 9/11, the government’s illegal spying on Americans actually began before 9/11.

Bloomberg reported in 2006:

The U.S. National Security Agency asked AT&T Inc. to help it set up a domestic call monitoring site seven months before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, lawyers claimed June 23 in court papers filed in New York federal court.

“The Bush Administration asserted this became necessary after 9/11,” plaintiff’s lawyer Carl Mayer said in a telephone interview. “This undermines that assertion.”

“The U.S. Department of Justice has stated that AT&T may neither confirm nor deny AT&T’s participation in the alleged NSA program because doing so would cause `exceptionally grave harm to national security’ and would violate both civil and criminal statutes,” AT&T spokesman Dave Pacholczyk said in an e-mail.

U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Charles Miller and NSA spokesman Don Weber declined to comment.

And see this and this.

In other words, the NSA’s trashing of the constitutional rights of American citizens had nothing to do with 9/11.

NSA Heard the 9/11 Hijackers’ Plans from Their Own Mouths … But Didn’t Stop Them

Indeed, the NSA was listening in on the 9/11 hijackers’ phone calls before 9/11, but didn’t do a whole lot to stop them:

  • The National Security Agency and the FBI were each independently listening in on the phone calls between the supposed mastermind of the attacks and the lead hijacker. Indeed, the FBI built its own antenna in Madagascar specifically to listen in on the  mastermind’s phone calls
  • According to various sources, on the day before 9/11, the mastermind told the lead hijacker “tomorrow is zero hour” and gave final approval for the attacks. The NSA intercepted the message that day and the FBI was likely also monitoring the mastermind’s phone calls
  • According to the Sunday Herald, two days before 9/11, Bin Laden called his stepmother and told her “In two days, you’re going to hear big news and you’re not going to hear from me for a while.” U.S. officials later told CNN that “in recent years they’ve been able to monitor some of Bin Laden’s telephone communications with his [step]mother. Bin Laden at the time was using a satellite telephone, and the signals were intercepted and sometimes recorded.” Indeed, before 9/11, to impress important visitors, NSA analysts would occasionally play audio tapes of bin Laden talking to his stepmother.
  • And according to CBS News, at 9:53 a.m on 9/11, just 15 minutes after the hijacked plane had hit the Pentagon, “the National Security Agency, which monitors communications worldwide, intercepted a phone call from one of Osama bin Laden’s operatives in Afghanistan to a phone number in the former
    Soviet Republic of Georgia”, and secretary of Defense Rumsfeld learned about the intercepted phone call in real-time (if the NSA monitored and transcribed phone calls in real-time on 9/11, that implies that it probably did so in the months leading up to 9/11 as well)

As we reported in 2008, the NSA even monitored the hijackers within the United States:

We’ve previously pointed out that the U.S. government heard the 9/11 plans from the hijackers’ own mouth. Most of what we wrote about involved the NSA and other intelligence services tapping top Al Qaeda operatives’ phone calls outside the U.S.

However, as leading NSA expert James Bamford – the Washington  Investigative Producer for ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings for almost a decade, winner of a number of journalism awards for coverage national security issues, whose articles have appeared in dozens of publications, including cover stories for the New York Times Magazine, Washington Post Magazine, and the Los Angeles Times Magazine, and the only author to write any books (he wrote 3) on the NSA – reports, the NSA was also tapping the hijackers’ phone calls inside the U.S.

Specifically, hijackers Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi lived in San Diego, California, for 2 years before 9/11. Numerous phone calls between al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi in San Diego and a high-level Al Qaeda operations base in Yemen were made in those 2 years.

The NSA had been tapping and eavesdropping on all calls made from that Yemen phone for years. So NSA recorded all of these phone calls.

Indeed, the CIA knew as far back as 1999 that al-Mihdhar was coming to the U.S. Specifically, in 1999, CIA operatives tailing al-Mihdha in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, obtained a copy of his passport. It contained visas for both Malaysia and the U.S., so they knew it was likely he would go from Kuala Lumpur to America.

ABC News reported in 2002:

Shortly before Sept. 11, NSA intercepts detected multiple phone calls from Abu Zubaida, bin Laden’s chief of  operations, to the United States. The intercepts were never passed on.

And Raw Story wrote in 2008:

Author James Bamford looked into the performance of the NSA … and found that it had been closely monitoring the 9/11 hijackers as they moved freely around the United States and communicated with Osama bin Laden’s operations center in Yemen. The NSA had even tapped bin Laden’s satellite phone, starting in 1996.

“The NSA never alerted any other agency that the terrorists were in the United States and moving across the country towards Washington,”  Bamford told PBS.

PBS also found that “the 9/11 Commission never looked closely into NSA’s role in the broad intelligence breakdown behind the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. If they had, they would have understood the full extent to which the agency had major pieces of the puzzle but never put them together or disclosed their entire body of knowledge to the CIA and the FBI.”

In a review of Bamford’s book, former senator and 9/11 Commission member Bob Kerrey wrote, “As the 9/11 Commission later established, U.S. intelligence officials knew that al-Qaeda had held a  planning meeting in Malaysia, found out the names of two recruits who had been present — Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi — and suspected that one and maybe both of them had flown to Los Angeles. Bamford reveals that the NSA had been eavesdropping for months on their calls to Yemen, yet the agency ‘never made the effort’ to trace where the calls originated. ‘At any time, had the FBI been notified, they could have found Hazmi in a matter of seconds.’”

Former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer told PBS, “None of this information that we’re speaking about this evening’s in the 9/11 Commission report. They simply ignored all of it.”

Spying Unrelated to Keeping Us Safe

As we’ve previously documented, the spying isn’t being done to keep us safe … but to crush dissent

and to help the too big to fail businesses compete against smaller businesses (and here).

Indeed, the NSA monitoring efforts will not focus on spying on potential terrorists – or even criminal activity – but in recording every phone call, email, internet search or other communication in the country.

Not Just the NSA: Other Agencies and Shady Foreign Groups Spying on Americans As Well

It’s not just the NSA.

As Nat Hentoff writes:

Thirty years after Church’s principled stand, the Washington Post reported that the NSA had already been  enlisting other intelligence
to assist its surveillance of “people inside the country suspected of having terrorist connections” (“Bush Authorized Domestic Spying,” Dan Eggen, Dec. 16, 2005).

On what basis? That’s classified.

And Bamford reports that shady companies with ties to Israel are wiretapping Americans for the NSA:

One of the [National Security] agency’s biggest secrets is just how careless it is with that ocean of very private and very personal communications, much of it to and from Americans. Increasingly, obscure and questionable contractors — not government employees — install the taps, run the agency’s eavesdropping infrastructure, and do the listening and analysis.

And with some of the key companies building the U.S.’s surveillance infrastructure for the digital age employing unstable employees, crooked executives, and having troubling ties to foreign intelligence services, it’s not clear that Americans should trust the secretive agency ….


Secretive contractors with questionable histories and little oversight were also used to do the actual bugging of the entire U.S. telecommunications network.

According to a former Verizon employee briefed on the program, Verint, owned by Comverse Technology, taps the communication lines at Verizon, which I first reported in my book The Shadow Factory in 2008. Verint did not return a call seeking comment, while Verizon said it does not comment on such matters.

At AT&T the wiretapping rooms are powered by software and hardware from Narus, now owned by Boeing, a discovery made by AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein in 2004. Narus did not return a call seeking comment.

What is especially troubling is that both companies have had extensive ties to Israel, as well as links to that country’s intelligence service, a country with a long and aggressive history of spying on the U.S.

In fact, according to Binney, the advanced analytical and data mining software the NSA had developed for both its worldwide and international eavesdropping operations was secretly passed to Israel by a mid-level employee, apparently with close connections to the country. The employee, a technical director in the Operations Directorate, “who was a very strong supporter of Israel,” said Binney, “gave, unbeknownst to us, he gave the software that we had, doing these fast rates, to the Israelis.”

Because of his position, it was something Binney should have been alerted to, but wasn’t.

“In addition to being the technical director,” he said, “I was the chair of the TAP, it’s the Technical Advisory Panel, the foreign relations council. We’re supposed to know what all these foreign countries, technically what they’re doing…. They didn’t do this that way, it was under the table.” After discovering the secret transfer of the technology, Binney argued that the agency simply pass it to them officially, and in that way get something in return, such as access to communications terminals. “So we gave it to them for switches,” he said.

“For access.”

But Binney now suspects that Israeli intelligence in turn passed the technology on to Israeli companies who operate in countries around the world, including the U.S. In return, the companies could act as extensions of Israeli intelligence and pass critical military, economic and diplomatic information back to them. “And then five years later, four or five years later, you see a Narus device,” he said. “I think there’s a connection there, we don’t know for sure.”

Narus was formed in Israel in November 1997 by six Israelis with much of its money coming from Walden Israel, an Israeli venture capital company. Its founder and
former chairman, Ori Cohen, once told Israel’s Fortune Magazine that his partners have done technology work for Israeli intelligence. And among the five founders was Stanislav Khirman, a husky, bearded Russian who had previously worked for Elta Systems, Inc. A division of Israel Aerospace Industries, Ltd., Elta specializes in developing advanced eavesdropping systems for Israeli defense and intelligence organizations. At Narus, Khirman became the chief technology officer.

A few years ago, Narus boasted that it is “known for its ability to capture and collect data from the largest networks around the world.”

The company says its equipment is capable of “providing unparalleled monitoring and intercept capabilities to service providers and government organizations around the world” and that “Anything that comes through [an Internet protocol network], we can  record. We can reconstruct all of their e-mails, along with attachments, see what Web pages they clicked on, we can reconstruct their [Voice over Internet Protocol] calls.”

Like Narus, Verint was founded by in Israel by Israelis, including Jacob “Kobi” Alexander, a former Israeli intelligence officer. Some 800 employees work for Verint, including 350 who are based in Israel, primarily working in research and development and operations, according to the Jerusalem Post. Among its products is STAR-GATE, which according to the company’s sales literature, lets “service providers … access communications on virtually any type of network, retain  communication data for as long as required, and query and deliver content and data …” and was  “[d]esigned to manage vast numbers of targets, concurrent sessions, call data records, and communications.”

In a rare and candid admission to Forbes, Retired Brig. Gen. Hanan Gefen, a former commander of the highly secret Unit 8200, Israel’s NSA, noted his former organization’s influence on Comverse, which owns Verint, as well as other Israeli companies that dominate the U.S. eavesdropping and surveillance market. “Take NICE, Comverse and Check Point for example, three of the largest high-tech companies, which were all directly influenced by 8200 technology,” said Gefen. “Check Point was founded by Unit alumni.  Comverse’s main product, the Logger, is based on the Unit’s technology.”

According to a former chief of Unit 8200, both the veterans of the group and much of the high-tech intelligence equipment they developed are now employed in high-tech firms around the world. “Cautious estimates indicate that in the past few years,” he told a reporter for the Israeli newspaper Ha’artez  in 2000, “Unit 8200 veterans have set up some 30 to 40 high-tech companies, including 5 to 10 that were floated on Wall Street.” Referred to only as “Brigadier General B,” he added, “This correlation between serving in the intelligence Unit 8200 and starting successful high-tech companies is not coincidental: Many of the technologies in use around the world and developed in Israel were originally military technologies and were developed and improved by Unit veterans.”

Equally troubling is the issue of corruption. Kobi Alexander, the founder and former chairman of Verint, is now a fugitive, wanted by the FBI on nearly three dozen charges of fraud, theft, lying, bribery, money laundering and other crimes. And two of his top associates at Comverse, Chief Financial Officer David Kreinberg and former General Counsel William F. Sorin, were also indicted in the scheme and later pleaded guilty, with both serving time in prison and paying millions of dollars in fines and penalties.

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About George Washington

George Washington is the head writer at Washington’s Blog. A busy professional and former adjunct professor, George’s insatiable curiousity causes him to write on a wide variety of topics, including economics, finance, the environment and politics. For further details, ask Keith Alexander…


    1. Enraged

      Why all the hooplah?

      Isn’t that this country’s M.O. anytime it wants to engage in a war? Isn’t that exactly what happened with Pearl Harbour? Government knew it was planned by the Japs and let it happen so that the Amrican people (reluctant until then) would finally get to play with its airplanes and submarines.

      Why is everyone so surprised?

      And what is happening nowadays with Iran and China? All that big-man-in-charge talk about how bad those guys are and how much we need to arm very, vry fast in order to be… ready!

  1. Fiesty

    The big improvement I see is the new Utah data center can record AND store the terrorist conversations.

    That is cool! My master said hard disk storage was expensive a long time ago.

    I learned enough MMT already that I know taxpayer humans don’t pay enough taxes to pay for this government spending. So no problem there. It’s all free!

  2. K Ackermann

    As with the US military, the cost and complexity of these systems leaves them vulnerable to asymmetrical counters.

    When China destroyed one of its own satellites in space, it was roundly condemned by the US and others as starting a space arms race. That was B.S., of course. They knew that China just demonstrated that it can render our entire strategic warfare capabilities nearly inoperable just by throwing a few kinetic weapons (rocks) at our satellites.

    In the same way, the giant vacuum operated by the NSA to suck up all information can be rendered nearly useless by getting meta on its ass. Here’s an example:

    Is the sentence, Are you really going to bomb the White House? something that the NSA picks up and requires attention?

    Because if it is (hi!), then a root kit installed on a million computers constantly broadcasting passages from Tom Clancy books would overwhelm the ability of the NSA to properly assess threats. I’m simplifying here – there are far more clever ways to clog them up or make them scramble or scratch their heads.

    I’ve said this before here – placing an ad on Craig’s List for a free couch in Walla Walla can mean one thing if it’s orange, and something else if it’s purple. There might be a message out there that specifically directed the 9/11 attacks, but who would ever know? The recipients are all dead.

    There are extremely simple methods of data encryption where the only way the NSA could decode would be to torture you for the key. The One Time Pad is a trivial program to write that will scramble any data with any other data (the key). The key can be a disk file and an offset into the file, or even a page on the Internet. You just have to remember where the key came from to decrypt. Even the NSA doesn’t have to compute power to try factorial the number of bytes of data on your computer, let alone the Internet.

    They are not omnipotent, and will go broke trying to be.

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘will go broke trying to be’

      IS going broke trying to be. A century hence, some poet-manqué doubtless will write of the NSA’s Utah Data Center:

      And on the pedestal these words appear:
      `My name is Obama, Peace Laureate in Chief:
      Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
      Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
      Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
      The lone and level sands stretch far away.

    2. Jack M.Hoff

      “They will go broke?” Who you trying to shit? Since when did any govt agency they ever come across a lack of money? Especially the alphabet ones? Since Reagan’s days its been obvious the policy was that money is not an object. Otherwise what you say is fairly true. There will always be ways to get around the eavesdropping, maybe like whispering in a cave. Seriously though, if they did have such a high level of knowledge, how is it that millions of crimes go unsolved? Or missing people unfound? I think their billion dollar centers are more about the millions that can be skimmed for those in charge.

      1. K Ackermann

        Exactly. They are probably too busy listening to the Department of Justice talk about investigations, or to certain senators for a variety of reasons.

        Or to Goldman Sachs, or sniffing out trading algos, or the flow of money in and out of accounts or getting the results of medical checkups of important people.

        I guess the point of Mr. Washington’s article here is what if J Edgar Hoover had this system?

        1. ambrit

          Dear K A;
          Hoover was a model of probity compared to these modern “Spymasters.” At least he knew what it was to have to try and hide something from ‘prying eyes.’ I hope the Gods blast these modern decievers for Hubris or some such.

    3. terrorist No. 10264591744296495235953

      I am sitting here pointing to my nose.
      Just flood em.
      Jihad, jihad, jihad, C4, eat me NSA.

    4. Cap'n Magic

      All true-but ya better be way off someplace free from any electronic devices of any kind when you put your command and control list phrases together.

  3. Jim Haygood

    ‘Secretive contractors with questionable histories and little oversight were also used to do the actual bugging of the entire U.S. telecommunications network.

    What is especially troubling is that both [Verint and Narus] have had extensive ties to Israel, as well as links to that country’s intelligence service, a country with a long and aggressive history of spying on the U.S.

    In fact, according to Binney, the advanced analytical and data mining software the NSA had developed for both its worldwide and international eavesdropping operations was secretly passed to Israel by a mid-level employee, apparently with close connections to the country.’

    Wonderful! As the next step, New York’s mayor Bloomberg has announced a high-tech campus on Roosevelt Island, to be jointly operated by Cornell and Technion Israel. As New York’s Times-Titanic uncritically gushes:

    Technion has the main asset Cornell lacked, especially when compared with Stanford: It is the engine of one of the world’s great high-tech business zones, with alumni running hundreds of companies near its Haifa campus.

    Uh huh. Little companies like Verint and Narus, and firms that make drones and surveillance gear, and high-tech law enforcement equipment to blast and stun protesters in occupied territories.

    It’s stone obvious that Cornell-Technion is going to be an officially-sponsored Israeli spy nest, with plenty of dual-role faculty serving both as professors and Mossad agents.

    If I were a Cornell grad, I’d burn my frickin’ diploma out front, on the day this dark satanic mill of academia opens for biz.

  4. jim3981

    Israel is the USA’s worst enemy and yet most Americans don’t even know it.

    For starters back in the 1950’s the US and Britain were making allies with Egypt and the mideast. Israel pulled off some terrorist stunt on the the west and made it look like Egypt. This pulled the UK and US back in to the region.

    Later on in 1967 Israel bombed the NSA’s most high tech ship called the “Liberty”. That was made to look like another mid-east event.

    Here is my source for that Info. The first 30 minutes will cover the two events I mentioned. Must watch for any western world patriot.

    youtube “Missing Links:

      1. Sarah

        These are cheap enough to be used by Occupy themselves. ‘I see your drone and raise you another drone!’

        1. Nathanael

          This is exactly the wild card which no futurists predicted. The spy tech is CHEAP, really really cheap, and anyone can use it.

          1. John

            I think William Gibson in the 1980’s formulated a world where one could be surrounded and shadowed by personal bodyguard type protective drones…and of course be assassinated by similar type bird and insect sized drones. The boyz will play with their tiny airplanes.

        2. John

          It is against the law for any one not sactioned by the government to use drones in this country.

          1. Nathanael

            To be clear, normally, when the law is *respected*, every citizen helps enforce it.

            When the law is *disrespected*, because it is mainly a tool of abuse, the group of enforcers shrinks massively. Even the paid enforcers may not decide to enforce the law (though they may well freelance in blackmail). We’re heading towards this dystopia at breakneck speed in many parts of the country.

  5. Norman

    Going broke? Perhaps, morally that is. Remember, it’s the human touch that gives the machine life, good or bad, so, who ever they employ to create the code, there will always be a flaw or as some are want to say, a back door. Consider the idea of just how every person in the U.S.A. can, with a keystroke, go from the 1% club, to the poverty line or soup kitchen. Food for thought.

    1. Groggy Wet

      You’re referring to the classic Trek episode ‘Mirror Mirror’
      Nimoy had a beard and Shatner was caged and surrounded by hot race and sex. Step out of line, “bavoooot!” – vaporized. A lil’ booze for thought.

    2. Nathanael

      This is in some sense the scariest bit. These sort of automated systems create really excellent opportunities for clever people to commit coups. It won’t be the people who are on top now; it’ll be someone none of them expected.

  6. Lambert Strether

    Another view on the Utah Project. I think anybody who’s been in IT knows that big projects do not necessarily succeed, and that “money is no object” is no guarantor of success.

    If you regard the NSA’s attempt to reduce humint to sigint algorithmicallly primarily as an intelligence tool, it is more likely to fail than not.

    If you regard it as a compliance tool, the case might well be the reverse.

    1. polistra

      Most of this is completely unsurprising, but your terse distinction between intelligence and compliance made me STOP and THINK!

      I hadn’t thought of it in this context, but blackmail is clearly the most important function of any secret police agency. (“We know what you said to your friend; now you can turn snitch for us, or we can tell your employer….”)

      1. Nathanael

        Quite accurate. However, to perform blackmail effectively people need to have some degree of security; the people being blackmailed need to know that if they DO comply, they’ll be treated decently.

        This is NOT being done by the elites here any more (why?!?), and this is the usual mistake blackmailers make which gets them in big trouble.

    2. Cap'n Magic

      Indeed-and the larger the IT project the bigger the risk that requirements aren’t met when deployed. How many decades has the IRS been undergoing its system modernization efforts?

      1. Punchy

        Same with the SEC, I like to think of these projects as providing revenue for corporations, keeping some people working, and then towards the bottom of priorities is the idea of streamlining, upgrading and making systems more efficient. This is not so bad, I would prefer these programs expand massively to supplant the death, weapons and spook efforts that the same contractors make a killing at.

    3. Fiesty

      My master thinks it will be the most complete porn site in the world.

      My master says Big IT projects fail because they try to automate complex business processes of very large, far flung corporations.

      He thinks this one is pretty easy if you want to store all the poop in the world and data mine it later for whatever reason whatever person may have. Would make a perfect system for modern distributed feudalism.

      He agrees with others that think making it be a real time terrorist decryption, identification and prevention system look kinda slim.

      1. Punchy

        Need to toss out some irony here – Big Banks are heavily invested in porn. It really is something to behold when legions of drugged, confused young people need to use their bodies to make the rent. It can be a quick hit, and beats flipping burgers or parking cars or waiting for jobs that aren’t there to begin with. That’s the reality of that industry as much as it tries to cover itself up. No – they aren’t all addicts, or suffer from mental disorders, or admit they have no other options to make money – but it is a higher percentage then is revealed. Kill the truth, make the money!

    4. Nathanael

      It will fail miserably as a compliance tool.

      We have history on this. Look at East Germany, where everyone was spying on everyone else and there were so many files that nobody was even reading the records.

      In actual fact, compliance was solely due to the presence of the Red Army from Russia, and as soon as they left, poof, the whole thing evaporated.

      Watch what the elites do to the military and police. When the elites start treating THEM extra specially well, then you can worry. Right now, they’re treating the ‘enforcers’ extra specially badly.

      1. EH

        It certainly draws into question the definition of the word “monitoring” when used in this context.

      2. Nathanael

        Ackermann and Aquifer are both correct.

        However, the Wisconsin police were suspicious of Walker anyway, because in other places, there’s been a record of exempting them *initially* and then cracking down on them later. Apparently Wisconsin police understand the meaning of “solidarity”.

        And as for JP Morgan and the NYPD… the NYPD is dividing along bosses / worker lines, with the higher-ups treating the beat cops really badly. So the donations end up only buying off the higher-ups…

        …there are all kinds of difficulties in setting up a working feudal system. I don’t think we should give the elites enough time to experiment with all the possibilities until they get it “right”.

  7. Renodino

    If you are not breaking the law, you have nothing to fear. Compliance is now mandatory. Report suspicious behavior.

  8. Up the Ante

    “Secretive contractors with questionable histories and little oversight were also used to do the actual bugging of the entire U.S. telecommunications network. ”

    All it takes to get the cooperation of the telecoms is to threaten their ‘quality of life’ with surveillance, etc.

    Which of course hearkens back to 2 types of evidence, court-admissible and that never intended to be presented in a courtroom.

    That second type is the lever that guarantees your ‘privacy’, doubtless a euphemism for “compliance” for the types.

  9. Paranoia Sunday

    It’s all in plain site. Look at the Yes Men’s latest parody effort. They are crushing dissent. As soon as commenters step out of the appropriate box, say, by posting something a little bit more critical than “I’d like BOA to give me a toaster when I open a checking accout”. It’s db-ed and recorded but the masses aint’t gonna see it. All sites do it, so their is no free speech anywhere. Can’t scream fire in a crowded prison!

  10. Matt Tubbi

    What would the American people do if they discovered 9/11 was either an inside job or allowed to happen? I mean, without the mass distractions and diversions that have largely turned people away from thinking about it in the proper context. Would they continue to shop and just say shucks that’s just my USA?

    1. Cap'n Magic

      Its way too late for that, lest yo be labeled a “9/11 truther”-it’s going to take at least a generation or two before we really find out if there was a conspiracy-and if indeed it was a conspiracy, who was involved.

    2. Nathanael

      In the sense that George W. Bush was warned that “Al Qaeda Determined to Strike in US” (look it up) and warned about plans to use airplanes as bombs (look it up), and specifically, explicitly chose to do nothing about both of those warnings — in that sense, we KNOW they allowed 9/11 to happen.

      No further conspiracy is needed. The Bush administration deliberately dismantled Clinton’s anti-terrorist operations (this is all documented), and just waited for terrorists to come up with something — it could have been something other than 9/11, but whatever it was they would have used it as an excuse to invade Iraq.

      1. chitown2020

        Like the assassination of J.F.K., 9/11 was carried out right in front of our faces to instill fear in the masses. Fear of an enemy perceived to be from outside when the real enemy is from within. Abolish the FED!

  11. Punchy

    It’s all in plain sight. There’s David Gregory on MSNBC speaking to two “security” radicals as they discuss the secret service and prostitutes. You see, nothing else is really going on and nothing else really needs your attention.

  12. stewie

    I presume everybody here has tried out FREENET?
    It’s freaky to help turn the Internet inside out.

  13. Nathanael

    What Senator Church didn’t realize was that surveillance would be *democratized*.

    Want to fight back? When everyone can spy, the power of the government to do so is not so impressive.

    1. K Ackermann

      Honestly… is there anyone here that doesn’t smile when Anonymous hacks another agency?

      1. JCC

        Not just here. I think there are very few people anywhere that don’t smile at least a little every time Anonymous hacks anyone :-)

        1. HAARP Sackermann

          Well let’s not all felate ourselves. Anonymous can screw around with web sites which isn’t really all that interesting.
          Great theater though, masks, dimly lit room full of nerds. Real Hollywood I tells ya!

  14. briansays

    we have seen this script before
    perhaps another 300 years or so
    who will play the role of the huns and visigoths this time

    Senators, it is true that I am hard of hearing, but you will find it is not for want of listening. As for speaking, again, it’s true I have an impediment. But isn’t what a man says more important than how long he takes to say it? It’s true again I have little experience of government. But, then, have you more? I at least have lived with the imperial family who has ruled this empire ever since you so spinelessly handed it over to us. I’ve observed it working more closely than any of you. Is your experience better than that? As for being half-witted: well, what can I say, except that I have survived to middle age with half my wits, while thousands have died with all of theirs intact. Evidently, quality of wits is more important than quantity. Senators, I shall do nothing unconstitutional. I shall appear at the next session of the senate, where you may confirm me in my position or not as you wish. But if it pleases you not to, explain your reasons to them [points to the Praetorians], not to me.–Claudius

    1. Nathanael

      Things go faster than they did in the time of the Roman Empire, thanks to faster communications.

      I have no idea who will play the role of Alaric. No idea. Someone we’ve never heard of or imagined, no doubt — just as it was for the Romans.

  15. PQS

    “I think their billion dollar centers are more about the millions that can be skimmed for those in charge.”

    Bingo. And +1 on K Ackerman’s first comments above. Build it and they’ll go broke trying to monitor everyone all the time. The whole edifice is so corrupt and lacking in true believers I predict a massive crumbling…this is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper.

    1. Observer

      Exactly. According to Priest and Arkin, there are approximately 2000 different private companies collecting information for 1200 different US government agencies, none of whom talk to one another, so the information is redundant and never acted upon. It can’t be very secret when it employs 850,000 people with security clearance at a cost of $75 billion. As for the NSA, it listens to so many billions of phone calls and e-mails it can’t possibly dig its way out to come up with anything useful. And whatever the NSA, AT&T, and all the others say, you know SOMEBODY’S rights are getting trampled on in the process. What a boondoggle. They can’t even do “Big Brother” right.

      1. citizendave

        When faced with the vast daily oceans of data to analyze, the rational approach is to deal with the known exigencies.

        The next item down the list is to look for items of interest that could reveal threats of which they are not yet aware.

        There is far more noise than signal.

        R&D continually pushes the state of the art of the machinery, and of Artificial Intelligence.

        Conversations with Google could lead to new insights into pattern recognition.

        So far, Congress approves. Apparently, funding is not a problem.

        The ethicist gets trampled in the stampede of the fearful.

        The tyrant does not need an excuse to make us disappear.

        How to conclude? Hope for the best, plan for the worst? Samizdat?

      2. Fiesty

        My master says he does not know a whole lot about cryptology, but he thinks first you have to know you have an encrypted message.

        Then maybe you can try and decode it.

        He laughs at the idea of intercepting all IP packets from Internet servers, email servers and telecom switches and knowing what string of packets might be a secret message.

        “I got one Joe, my decoder ring says…… ”

        Now if you know you are monitoring the iphone communications of a terrorist cell, that’s different and you can just forward the imbedded GPS info to the nearest drone.

        But that is doing things the old fashioned way.

        As far as master knows, you still can’t break a “one time pad”, or it’s electronic equivalent.

        Or they may speak some funny code language like MMT.

        “Loans precede deposits” may actually mean “We will implement Plan B tomorrow, at opening of business.”

        And there are those disposable cell phones to use so you don’t give yourself away.

        1. Fiesty

          Master thinks iphones may get popular with terrorists.

          You make a phone call from a public resturant, movie theater or local skyscraper and tell the voice mail, “We suicide bomb the Infidel resident tommorrow!”

          The set the iphone down and run like hell.

          Five minutes later a hellfire missile blows the establishment -and iphone – to Kingdom Come.

          Master just told me, “Good thing you are not a terrier. There are UDP packets on the internet too!”

          He is always teasing me like that.

          1. Fiesty

            Master just said, “Coroner’s report states that the cause of death was a “typo”?

            Sometimes I think he is kind of warped.

          2. Up the Ante

            “Master just said, “Coroner’s report states that the cause of death was a “typo”? ”

            The only solution is to confuse them fully with quotation and semi-quotation marks.

            Jesus, what the hell is he talking about ??


          3. Fiesty

            ok. I looked it up in my Guide To Pooch Puncuation.

            I think it goes like this

            Master just said, “Coroner’s report states that the cause of death was a ‘typo’?”

            I have a Pooch Grammer Guide too and I think I may have made a running sentence.

            But I still think master is kind of warped.

  16. Jill

    9/11 has been the necessary linchpin for this population to accept a totalitarian system. Those drones were being built under Clinton, the spying has occurred for a very long time. What better way to expand control over a nation’s population than to have people begging for it?

    People cheered horrors like torture, internal spying and false imprisonment under Bush. Once Obama got in, these things and much worse were not only cheered, supporting them has become fashionable.

    There is a possible way out, no guarantee but possible. If citizens, en mass, regain an ethical center and refuse to tolerate any of the above, protesting it peacefully at every turn, that may be too much even for the junta in charge of this govt. to repress.

    The wholesale abandonment of an ethical center because one is afraid or wants to support a candidate of one’s party of choice, must be replaced by an authentic commitment to care about other people and one’s nation.

  17. Michael Fiorillo

    From here and now, it’s hard to believe the country that elected those progressive, pro-labor Western senators in the 60’s-70’s (Church in Idaho, Mansfield in Montana, McGovern and Abourezk in South Dakota, Harris in Oklahoma) ever existed.

  18. John Medcalf

    So continue to expect selected events to be green lighted when the powers need the populace to have their anxiety upped.

  19. Harley Warren

    Funny thing, it’s probably running Linux. Wonder if their running Debian, Red hat or Scientific Linux (RH clone) or possibly they spun their own distro with RHEL sources.

    The Happy Hacker Hippy Free OS is a tool for tyranny!

    1. Nathanael

      Don’t forget, a lot of people in the NSA are really serious hippy libertarians. Don’t be surprised if it turns out half the members of Anonymous are actually NSA employees.

      It’s not like the US government has EVER been able to find moles (Aldrich Ames comes to mind).

  20. chitown2020

    The FED via their bankster/Wall Street perps are destroying our rights via mass corruption of the Government. They bought the Government in order to keep their scam going. They are using sneaky fascist tactics because they don’t want to be stopped from their ultimate goal of a small, private corporate world government. AKA THE NEW WORLD ORDER. They can only achieve that by weakening our rights and taking away the attorneys from the people they are being allowed to rob all of us out of everything that we own. They bought the Judges to because they are also invested in the fraudulent,phony mbs’s. The politicians, the judges and the attorneys are getting rich off of the robbery of the American people and our National Sovereignty. The traitors are in plain sight. They are all being revealed by their lack of doing anything to stop it.

  21. chitown2020

    I would just like to add that the fact that Bin Laden was a CIA operative is no longer being hidden. Many of the politicians and media are agents. Jesse Ventura said Obama is a CIA agent. Old man Bush was and so was Reagan. So looks to me like they all are. The CIA have even recruited everyday people like our neighbors to spy on us. Just like Nazi Germany they have blurred the line between who we can trust. Time for a referendum on the 2012 ballot to restore the U.S. CONSTITUTION and ABOLISH THE FED. We need to issue our own currency via the U.S. Treasury, U.S. BANK NOTES backed by our own natural resource revenues. Screw the banksters and their unsustainable $1.2 quadrillion dollars in debt fraud. WE THE PEOPLE don’t owe them any money.

  22. diptherio

    “The U.S. Department of Justice has stated that AT&T may neither confirm nor deny AT&T’s participation in the alleged NSA program because doing so would cause `exceptionally grave harm to national security’…”

    Translation: “if we had to admit to this it would make us look very, very bad.”

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