After watching PBS Frontline- “United States of Secrets” my previous skepticism about western democratic governance now seems like primary school! The breach of public truth to keep surveillance against its own citizens, makes Snowden whistleblower act seem heroic. Many others attempted to prevent or leak the ugly truth that the terabyte gathering of emails, phone and financial traffic. Guys from Cheney, Heyden, Gonzalez, Bush look like such nazis attempting to coverup illegal acts against Constitution. Suing the New York Times and covert counter action against whistleblowers was as ugly as Gestapo! Sickening that Obama hasn’t arrested the very same policies and practice. Shocking that citizens didn’t revolt!
Mr. Bush’s executive order allowing some warrantless eavesdropping on those inside the United States – including American citizens, permanent legal residents, tourists and other foreigners – is based on classified legal opinions that assert that the president has broad powers to order such searches, derived in part from the September 2001 Congressional resolution authorizing him to wage war on Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, according to the officials familiar with the N.S.A. operation.
The National Security Agency, which is based at Fort Meade, Md., is the nation’s largest and most secretive intelligence agency, so intent on remaining out of public view that it has long been nicknamed “No Such Agency.” It breaks codes and maintains listening posts around the world to eavesdrop on foreign governments, diplomats and trade negotiators as well as drug lords and terrorists. But the agency ordinarily operates under tight restrictions on any spying on Americans, even if they are overseas, or disseminating information about them.
What the agency calls a “special collection program” began soon after the Sept. 11 attacks, as it looked for new tools to attack terrorism. The program accelerated in early 2002 after the Central Intelligence Agency started capturing top Qaeda operatives overseas, including Abu Zubaydah, who was arrested in Pakistan in March 2002. The C.I.A. seized the terrorists’ computers, cellphones and personal phone directories, said the officials familiar with the program. The N.S.A. surveillance was intended to exploit those numbers and addresses as quickly as possible, they said….(NYTimes)