Tag Archives: Bush

The NSA (National Snooping Agency)

10 Jun

First, a little background.

The National Security Agency (NSA), preceded by the Armed Forces Security Agency, was formed in 1952 and is a cryptologic intelligence agency of the US Department of Defense responsible for the collection and analysis of foreign communications and foreign signals intelligence, as well as protecting US government communications and information systems, which involves information security and cryptanalysis/cryptography.

The NSA is directed by at least a lieutenant general or vice admiral. The NSA is a key component of the US Intelligence Community, which is headed by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). The Central Security Service is a co-located agency created to coordinate intelligence activities and cooperation between the NSA and other US military cryptanalysis agencies. The Director of the NSA serves as the Commander of the United States Cyber Command and Chief of the Central Security Service.

By law, the NSA’s intelligence gathering is limited to foreign communications, although domestic incidents such as the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy have occurred. (Source: Wikipedia. Emphases added.)

The NSA domestic warrantless surveillance controversy referred to above (AKA “Warrantless Wiretapping”) concerns surveillance of persons within the US during the collection of foreign intelligence by the NSA as part of President Bush’s war on terror.

Under this program, referred to by the Bush Administration as the “terrorist surveillance program,” part of the broader President’s Surveillance Program, the NSA was authorized by executive order to monitor, without search warrants, the phone calls, Internet activity (Web, e-mail, etc.), text messaging, and other communications involving any party believed by the NSA to be outside the US, even if the other end of the communication was inside the US.

Liberal critics, however, claimed that it was an effort to attempt to silence critics of the Bush Administration. Under public pressure, the Bush Administration ceased the warrantless wiretapping program in January 2007 and returned review of surveillance to the FISA court. Subsequently, in 2008 Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which relaxed some of the original FISA court requirements.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) is a US federal court, was established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978 and is commonly referred to as the FISA court. The FISA court oversees requests for surveillance warrants against suspected foreign intelligence agents inside the US by federal law enforcement agencies, primarily the FBI.

During the Obama Administration, the NSA has officially continued operating under the new FISA guidelines. However, in April 2009 officials at the Department of Justice (DOJ) acknowledged that the NSA had engaged in “overcollection” of domestic communications in excess of the FISA court’s authority but claimed that the acts were unintentional and had since been rectified.

Well, seemingly not, because we now have the latest Obama Administration scandal (so many to keep up with) that the NSA is data mining what’s called the “meta” data (or data of the data) of millions of Americans’ phone calls.

That means, if you are to believe your government any more at all, that they are merely collecting and storing all of our phone calls, from what number to what number and for what duration. This is supposed to give the NSA supercomputers data to crunch in looking for patterns and does not include them listening in on our phone calls. To do that, for example, they would supposedly have to identify a pattern and use it as a basis to go back to a federal judge to obtain a warrant for a wire tap to actually start monitoring the content of someone’s phone conversations.

But we have President Obama recently reassuring us that our phone calls, that is, at least their content, are not being monitored and that 100% security cannot be attained while maintaining 100% of liberties. Well, first of all, I worked in the Army as a security specialist of all sorts for over 20 years and there is no such thing as 100% security — ever. Any security system you can devise, someone with enough time, resources and determination can overcome. Maybe Obama should also have remembered Ben Franklin’s “Any people that would give up liberty for a little temporary safety deserves neither liberty nor safety.”

But, then, this is the same guy (1) who assured us Benghazi was caused by an Internet video, (2) who called the Fort Hood massacre “workplace violence,” (3) who recently addressed college students and told them to ignore anyone who said tyranny was just around the corner, (4) who didn’t know anything about anything about his DOJ targeting journalists, about his DOJ seizing hundreds of AP reporters’ phone records, or about his IRS targeting conservative groups seeking tax exempt status (both in the run-up to his reelection and still continuing), and (5) who seems to have to read a newspaper on a Friday afternoon to find out what’s going on in his own administration. So, do you really feel reassured by anything Obama says at this point? I know I don’t.

And, of course, there are various “congressionals” (I sometimes just lump them all together under the one heading) — from both chambers of Congress and both sides of the aisle — who are posturing and pontificating, saying there are checks and balances, that this is all necessary to protect us, that there is “congressional oversight” to ensure everything is all right, and blah, blah, blah. Well, Congress supposedly has congressional oversight of every agency of the federal government, for example, the DOJ, the IRS, the DHS, etc., etc. So, how’s that “congressional oversight” been working out for ya lately, there, John or Jane Q. Public?

In other words, we didn’t know anything about Obama’s DOJ seizing AP reporters’ records until there was a leak and then we did. We didn’t know anything about Obama’s IRS targeting conservative groups until there was a leak and then we did. We didn’t know anything about Obama’s DOJ targeting Fox News reporters until there was a leak and then we did.

And we likewise didn’t know anything about the NSA switching from pin-point fly fishing to huge dragnet fishing until there was a leak either. So much for congressional oversight discovering anything ahead of time.

In fact, Obama’s very own DNI James Clapper, the head of the whole US intel community, may also be in hot water for lying to Congress, because when testifying before Congress and asked if the NSA was collecting any info by any means on American citizens, Clapper said “no” and that if it happened at all, it would be inadvertent and unintentional. Square that as best you can with what we’ve learned recently about the NSA’s broad dragnetting of the phone records of millions of Americans. Which all begs the question: What else is there that we don’t know about — yet, from this supposedly but laughably most transparent administration in our history?

By the way, and I say this merely by way of extra reassurance, the Attorney General, you know, Eric “Withholding” Holder, can unilaterally grant such warrantless wire taps himself on an emergency basis but must have it approved by a federal court judge within 72 hours. Uhhh-huh.

So, we’re supposed to rely on the same AG who (1) either committed perjury and/or at least misled Congress in testimony (both felonies) when he said he knew nothing and would not take part in targeting or prosecuting journalists for receiving classified information , or (2) he committed fraud upon a federal court (also a felony) in falsifying an affidavit for a warrant which claimed that Fox News reporter James Rosen had violated the Espionage Act, was at least an aider and abettor, and a flight risk, to obtain access to Rosen’s (and his parents’) phone, email and other communications, then Holder subsequently claimed he had no intention to ever prosecute Rosen for such offenses in the first place.

Well, you can’t have it both ways this time, Mr. Attorney General. Either you falsely claimed before Congress not to know anything about the Rosen case, when it was subsequently shown that you had personally signed the affidavit and held at least one staff meeting on how to proceed, or you provided false information to a federal court to obtain the warrant in the first place, never intending to really investigate or prosecute, thus committing a fraud upon the court — all felonies.

Oh, and don’t forget, this is the same AG who (1) refused to prosecute a slam dunk case of voter intimidation against the Philadelphia Black Panthers but who sued Arizona for basically passing a state law which contained the same immigration policies as already contained in federal law, who (2) has sued more states over state civil and voter rights legislation than any other AG in history, who (3) ensured the underwear bomber was quickly Mirandized although he was not a citizen, who (4) at one point wanted our troops to Mirandize terrorist combatants on the battlefield, who (5) wanted to bring Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) to NY to be tried in a federal court, with all the Constitutional protections of a citizen, until liberal members of Congress yelled NIMBY, who (6) stonewalled and stonewalled on Fast & Furious, who (7) tried to sue Boeing for wanting to build a nonunion plant in NC, who…

Well, I could go on, but I think I’ve digressed over Holder enough for you see the point that this is the same AG we’re supposed to trust will inform a federal court within 72 hours after using his unilateral power to apply an emergency wire tap on someone. Yeah, uh-huh, THAT Attorney General.

The New York Times reported in 2009 that the NSA was intercepting communications of American citizens, although the DOJ believed that the NSA had corrected its errors. Attorney General Eric “The Arrogant” Holder subsequently resumed the wiretapping according to his understanding of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 Amendments Act of 2008, but without explaining to any federal court judge what had occurred to make any difference in once again continuing to do what DOJ and NSA had previously said they shouldn’t be doing. Huh? (And if you have to read that twice for the absurdity of it to sink in, I’ll wait.)

The NSA also reportedly uses its computing capability to analyze “transactional” data that it regularly acquires from other government agencies, which gather it under their own jurisdictional authorities. As part of this effort, the NSA now monitors huge volumes of records of domestic emails and Internet searches, as well as bank transfers, credit card transactions and travel and telephone records, according to current and former intelligence officials interviewed by the Wall Street Journal.

And just this month, the NSA’s PRISM electronic surveillance and data mining program was revealed by the Washington Post. The extent of information to which they had access includes email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, voice-over-IP chats such as Skype, file transfers, etc., which they can gain from direct access to servers on Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, AOL and others. Of course, Google, Facebook, etc., have since claimed they know nothing of any NSA data mining using their platforms.

But, and I know this sounds a little conspiracy theorist-y, isn’t that what an organization which has a secret, classified agreement with the government to provide access to its customers’ info would almost have to say?

The Guardian (UK) revealed the identity of the whistleblower responsible for unveiling the NSA’s massive data mining programs. Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old defense consultant who has worked at the NSA for four years, says, “I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong.” Well, I’ll reserve judgment for now on whether Snowden did anything “wrong” or not, as he certainly has at least violated whatever classification disclosure document he signed as a pre-condition to his access to classified information and could, and perhaps should, be prosecuted for that. Most of us who have had classified security clearances, especially top secret or above, are familiar with, “I can’t tell you about it and, if I do tell you about it, I’ll have to kill you.” On the other hand, he has also rendered a public service by letting us know the nefariousness of Obama’s NSA. So, I’ll let others debate if he’s hero or traitor. Right now, all sorts of allegations are flying around of “what if” undercover operatives and techniques were compromised by Snowden’s actions, but it will take time to see if that’s really truth versus conjecture.

The Guardian also released an interview with Snowden. Here are some of the highlights:

On his decision to become a whistleblower: “When you’re in positions of privileged access like a systems administrator for the sort of intelligence community agencies, you’re exposed to a lot more information on a broader scale than the average employee and because of that you see things that may be disturbing … Over time that awareness of wrongdoing sort of builds up and you feel compelled to talk about [it]. And the more you talk about [it], the more you’re ignored. The more you’re told it’s not a problem, until eventually you realize that these things need to be determined by the public and not by somebody who was simply hired by the government.”

On the targeting of American citizens: “NSA and [the] intelligence community in general is focused on getting intelligence wherever it can by any means possible … Originally we saw that focus very narrowly tailored as foreign intelligence gathered overseas. Now, increasingly, we see that it’s happening domestically and to do that [the NSA] targets the communications of everyone. It ingests them by default. It collects them in its system … simply because that’s the easiest, most efficient and most valuable way to achieve these ends. So while they may be intending to target someone associated with a foreign government or someone they suspect of terrorism, they’re collecting your communications to do so.”

On why you should care about NSA’s programs: “Because even if you’re not doing anything wrong, you’re being watched and recorded. And the storage capability of these systems increases every year consistently by orders of magnitude to where it’s getting to the point where you don’t have to have done anything wrong. You simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody, even by a wrong call. And then they can use this system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you’ve ever made, every friend you’ve ever discussed something with. And attack you on that basis to sort to derive suspicion from an innocent life and paint anyone in the context of a wrongdoer.”

So, let’s recap: We have the FOREIGN Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, modified by the FOREIGN Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 Amendments Act of 2008, both authorizing and governing the FOREIGN Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), otherwise commonly known as the FOREIGN Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, court, which oversees requests for surveillance warrants against suspected FOREIGN intelligence agents inside the US by federal law enforcement agencies, primarily the FBI — which , by the way, reports to none other than that AG in whom we’re all supposed to have so much “trust.”

Plus, the NSA’s originating charter declares that by law the NSA’s intelligence gathering is limited to FOREIGN communications. And all this, despite some alleged “51 percent connectivity to terrorist” formula which the intel community sometimes uses to justify domestic spying.

Maybe I’m just not too smart but with all this FOREIGN this and that, where does the NSA have any authority to massively collect DOMESTIC communications on millions and millions of Americans who haven’t done anything wrong, with no warrant, no permission, no howdy-do, no nothing, except it’s just easier for them to do it that way? To me, if you want to spy domestically, present probable cause to a judge and get a frickin’ warrant to spy on a particular person or group! You know, go through that “bothersome” Fourth Amendment stuff in our stuffy old Constitution.

What the government does, especially when it infringes on our individual rights, should not be EASY. It should be HARD. The convenience of the government should never be an excuse to abridge individual freedoms.

And you thought that CBS show Person of Interest about “the machine” was all just fiction. Welcome to Obama’s Orwellian America. Feeling Big Bothered, er, Big Brothered, enough yet?

The World-Wide War on Terror Is Over — Cuz Obama Said So

26 May

[Editorial advisory: compound, complex sentences in use. Just pay attention to the punctuation and try not to get a headache. Sometimes, I just can’t help myself.]

While Slick Willy Clinton, the super word parser, engaged us in what the meaning of “is” is, what Obama, The One, says is, surely IS — er, right? Well, maybe not.

Obama made a speech the other day about the use of drones (one might say he droned on and on about drones) and our (really, his — because if it’s successful, it’s always his — me, me, my, my, I, I) success in diminishing the Muslim terrorist threat.

Gone, he, our most “brilliant” president ever, said, is the world-wide threat, hence no need for that nasty and offensive old global war on terror that the definitely “un-brilliant” Bush, avid reader, holder of degrees from both Yale AND Haah-vahd and often “teleprompter-less” and even note-less when interacting with the media, talked about so long ago now.

But, now, some terror analysts — you know the guys and gals who get PAID to KNOW what they’re talking about, have come out and basically said, “Not so fast, Mr. Prez-Boy.” Here’s a link to that info: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/may/24/experts-contradict-obama-islamic-terror-threat.

Well, here’s my simple take on Obama’s take on things terroristic: Oopsie daisy!

While we have Big Sis Incompetano over at DHS saying, “If you see something, say something,” but really meaning if you see some vet, conservative, former law enforcement, or, Heaven forfend, TEA Partier, then say something, we have Obumbles trying to lull us into letting our guard down about the Muslim terrorist (yes, I used both words together) threat.

It’s what results in the liberal brain when plain language is contorted like a Chinese acrobat into “overseas contingencies” (except when they are here at home) being committed by “man-made disasterers,” instead of simply saying acts of terror being committed by Muslim terrorists.

And it’s what results when you have an ideologically, instead of a practically, driven president who wants part of his “legacy” to be that he not only killed bin Laden (SEAL Team 6, but me, me, my, my, I, I) but that he also defeated al-Qaeda with his drones. And forget the fact that we may be killing some with drones, along with civilians as collateral damage, but we’re not capturing any from whom to get intel, the reason for which is also more ideological than practical, because the captured would have to be sent to — where? — Guantanamo, which Obama so wants to close but can’t.

One fact alone belies Obama’s lies: When he took office, al-Qaeda and its affiliates were active in NINE countries, but now it’s THIRTY and still growing. The Muslim extremists may be barbarians, but they ain’t stupid, and they know when there’s a wuss instead of a real warrior in the White House.

And, regarding the Muslim hacking murder of a British soldier recently, on the streets of London, in the daytime, and the British PM seeming to be confused about what call it, much less what to do about it, and actually saying there’s nothing in Islam which would have caused the horrific act (he and Obama must talk often), here’s my two cents’ worth on that, too.

First, read the freakin’ Koran! It clearly says anyone who is not Muslim is an Infidel and it is the holy duty of Muslims to trick and/or subjugate by force all Infidels and to KILL those who will not convert to Islam. That seems pretty clear to me. So much for the “religion of peace.”

So, let me give you dolt-headed, too-PC politicians, both here in the US and abroad, a good, simple, no-fail litmus test for whether some horrific act is a Muslim terrorist attack or not. If the perp(s) shout Allahu Akbar while they’re committing their crime, it’s a frickin’ MUSLIM TERRORIST ATTACK! (President Obama — Fort Hood — crazed Muslim major — take note.)

And, if you can’t understand that, you’re too stupid to hold public office, much less get paid for it, and as comedian Bill Engvall says, “H-e-e-e-r-e’s your sign.”

Editorial Addendum: And then, there are these headlines from The World Tribune — “Window on the Real World,” reflecting recent dates for each story:

Al Qaida resurfaces in Yemen, captures coastal areas despite U.S. drone attacks
By WorldTribune.com on May 26, 2013 01:42 pm

Hizbullah-trained Syrian militias expanding reach with incentives, Iran funding
By WorldTribune.com on May 26, 2013 01:38 pm

The threat of sectarian war in Iraq looms larger
By WorldTribune.com on May 26, 2013 01:32 pm

Sure doesn’t sound like the world-wide war on terror is over to me. But then, I’m not someone with an agenda to run, a “narrative” to maintain and a legacy to save — like Obama.

The Real Origin of Our Great Recession

29 Apr

[Despite Obama and other Democrats and liberals, both in and out of the media, blatantly and boisterously bashing Bush over the economy, this is for those of you who didn’t already know that if our so-called Great Recession were a crime scene, Democrat fingerprints would be all over it.]

Quoting from www examiner.com:

“A new study from the widely respected National Bureau of Economic Research released this week has confirmed beyond question that the left’s race-baiting attacks on the housing market (the Community Reinvestment Act — enacted under Carter and made shockingly more aggressive under Clinton) is directly responsible for imploding the housing market and destroying the economy.

The study painstakingly sorted through failed home loans that caused the housing market collapse and identified an overwhelming connection between them and CRA mortgages.

Again, let’s review:

-President Bush went to Congress repeatedly for years warning them that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were going to destroy the economy (17 times in 2008 alone). Democrats continuously ignored him, shut down his proposals along party lines and continued raiding the institutions for campaign contributions on their way down.

-John McCain also co-sponsored urgently critical reforms that would have prevented the housing market collapse, but Democrats shut that down as well, along party lines, and even openly ridiculed anyone who suggested reforms were necessary…to protect their taxpayer-funded campaign contributions as the economy raced uncontrollably toward the cliff.

-No one was making bad loans to unqualified people until Democrats came along and threatened to drag banks into court and have them fined and branded as racists if they didn’t go along with the left’s Affirmative Action lending policies…all while federally insuring their losses. Even the New York Times warned in the late 1990s that Democrats continuing to force banks into lowering their standards would lead to this exact catastrophe.

-Obama himself is even on the record personally helping sue one lender (Citibank) into lowering its lending standards to include people from extremely poor and unstable areas, which even one of the left’s favorite blatantly partisan “fact-checkers,” Snopes, admits (while pretending to ‘set the record straight’).

-Even The New York Times admitted that there is “little evidence” of any connection between the “Republican” deregulation measures Obama blames, like the Gramm-Bleach-Liley Act (signed into law by a Democrat), and the collapse of the housing market.

But non-Fox media have spent years deliberately and relentlessly inoculating people against the facts, training them to mindlessly blame Bush for being in charge when Democrat policies destroyed the economy. So here we sit, to this day, still watching Obama excuse and shrug off endless economic failures, illegal government takeovers and utter national bankruptcy with zero accountability.”

And, as Paul Harvey used to say (and if you don’t know who that is, look it up), “Now, you know the rest of the story.”

Appeals Court Rules Obama’s Recess Appointments Unconstitutional

25 Jan

Hallelujah and thank goodness for a panel of judges who knows what the Constitution allows and doesn’t allow and said so for a change. I don’t care if Obama mouthpiece Smarmy Carney says the White House disagrees or not. If Obama and Company persist in ignoring what the appeals court ruled, the judges should hit them with an injunction to enforce their ruling, pending appeal, thereby suspending any further actions by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and, upon confirmation by the Supreme Court, nullifying all NLRB rulings since Obama thought he could bypass the Senate and just arbitrarily appoint whoever he liked.

By the way, it’s an interesting factoid that it was Democratic Senate Majority Leader High Horse Harry Reid, that great legislative innovator and trickster, who “invented” the exact same tactic of gaveling in and gaveling out used by the Republicans during the Obama appointments in question so as not be in recess. The Democrats used it many times to block George W. Bush from making recess appointments, which, unlike Obama, Bush always honored. Plus, although most senators were away, those who were present did move some legislation along despite not being able to make big votes on major legislation — another sign they were not in recess.

And for those on the Left who like to point out how many recess appointments past Republican presidents have made, none of them were made during times of even the type of non-recess that Obama tried to get away with.

I guess it’s another of those examples of Democratic duplicity and double standards that they can invent a procedure and use it but when somebody else uses it, it’s all wrong, and Obama thought he could define when the Senate is in recess or not and just do as he pleased, when the Constitution clearly says that each chamber of the Congress sets its own rules of procedure, not the president.

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