NSA: Rogue Spying Writ Large
by Stephen Lendman
No nation in human history ever harmed more millions of people more grievously than America.
None ever did it more deceptively. None did under the guise of promoting democratic values. None claimed more disingenous nobel intentions.
None expressed more support for human and civil rights while egregiously violating them. None more dangerously threatened humanity. None operated more lawlessly with malicious intent.
NSA is one of many US rogue agencies. It’s a power unto itself. It’s reckless, ruthless, and out-of-control. It operates extrajudicially. Edward Snowden connected important dots for millions.
Lots more important information awaits to come out. It’s all damning. NSA spies globally. It watches everyone. It monitors allies. It’s about control.
It’s for economic advantage. It’s to be one up on foreign competitors. It’s for information used advantageously in trade, political, and military relations.
Domestic spying is longstanding. It’s got nothing to do with protecting national security. It’s institutionalized. It’s unconstitutional. It doesn’t matter. Nothing is done to stop it.
Even The New York Times took note. On September 28, it headlined “NSA Gathers Data on Social Connections of US Citizens,” saying:
“Since 2010, (NSA) has been exploiting its huge collections of data to create sophisticated graphs of some Americans’ social connections that can identify their associates, their locations at certain times, their traveling companions and other personal information, according to newly disclosed documents and interviews with officials.”
It’s been analyzing telecommunications and emails to do so. Allegedly it’s been to “discover and track” foreign and domestic connections.
NSA ignores rule of law principles. It’s Big Brother writ large. It does whatever it wants. It manufactures pretexts to do so.
It claims authorization to conduct “large-scale graph analysis on very large sets of communications metadata without having to check foreignness.”
It does so extrajudicially. It spies domestically and overseas the same way. It’s the world biggest super-snoop.
It augments what it collects with “material from public, commercial and other sources.”
They include Facebook profiles, passenger manifests, voter registration rolls, GPS location information, property records, and tax data.
NSA won’t say now many Americans it spies on. No one’s safe from its global monitoring power.
New disclosures provide more cause for concern. They add to what’s already known.
NSA’s advanced technology lets it go where no previous spy agency ever went before.
Privacy no longer exists. Congress ignores its lawlessness. On September 26, US intelligence chiefs testified before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
They urged members to continue supporting what requires committed opposition. They want assurances that legislation won’t curb their lawlessness.
They want the right to do whatever they wish. They want nothing done to deter them.
NSA director General Keith Alexander, DNI head James Clapper, and Deputy Attorney General James Cole refused to disclose the worst of its practices.
Committee chairwoman Diane Feinstein is a longtime NSA apologist. She and likeminded committee members provide no oversight.
Clapper committed perjury. He admitted it. Feinstein and other congressional members let him get away with it.
Failure to hold NSA accountable lets it operate lawlessly. Today it’s totally out-of-control. It’s unaccountable. It does whatever it wants. It does so because Congress turns a blind eye.
Senator Ron Wyden is one of the few lawmakers who challenge NSA practices. He condemns what he calls “the intrusive, constitutionally flawed surveillance system.”
“A quick read of (US) history (shows) the truth always manages to come out,” he said. He underscored his comments, stressing:
“The leadership of NSA built an intelligence collection system that repeatedly deceived the American people.”
NSA operates in near total secrecy. Snowden pierced its veil. He did so courageously. Most of what’s needed to know about NSA he revealed. Lots more is coming.
Alexander consistently lies. So does an agency spokeswoman. She claims all information collected domestically must have “foreign intelligence justification.”
“NSA activities are centered on counterterrorism, counterproliferation and cybersecurity”
False! NSA spies for control and economic advantage. It conducts espionage on allies. It watches virtually everyone all the time globally. It does so for reasons unrelated to national security.
NSA refused to say if its meta-data includes Americans’ telecommunications and emails. Documents Showden revealed provided proof.
New information shows how NSA developed software and other tools able to “revolutionize” data collection and analysis. Information unavailable earlier is now collected.
It includes data on US citizens’ social connections. It’s personal stuff unrelated to terrorism and other national security concerns.
Phone and email records let analysts identify friends, associates and activities. They show where people are at any time, what they’re doing and with whom.
According to Professor Orin Kerr:
“Metadata can be very revealing. Knowing things like the number someone just dialed or the location of the person’s cellphone is going to allow them to assemble a picture of what someone is up to.”
“It’s the digital equivalent of tailing a suspect.” It’s done with technological ease. It’s done extrajudicially. It constitutes an extreme privacy invasion.
NSA sought unrestricted power years earlier. It does what it wants with or without official authorization.
It always operated this way. Post-9/11, rules no longer mattered. They were bent. They were ignored. Congress and courts look the other way. NSA takes full advantage.
It operates under its own guidelines. They permit anything goes. Warrantless spying is standard practice.
In 2008, the Bush administration’s “Defense Supplemental Procedures Governing Communications Metadata Analysis” lets NSA collect and use data “without regard to the nationality or location of the communicants.”
In other words, it spies globally. It monitors anyone. It collects whatever information it wishes. It does so for any reason it claims justifies its actions.
NSA is self-regulating. Oversight is absent. It decides what it will or won’t do. It takes full advantage.
Alexander wants everything collected. His mandate it get it all. NSA’s meta-data capability can amass 20 billion “record events” daily.
Agency analysts can access them within 60 minutes. “Better Person Centric Analysis” is a top-secret document.
It describes how NSA identifies 94 “entity types.” They include phone numbers, email addresses, and IP ones.
NSA correlates 164 social network “relationship types.” They include “community of interest” profiles.
Meta-data not accessed immediately can be stored for later use. For “US persons,” it can be retained online up to five years. An additional 10 years offline is allowed for “historical searches.”
On September 29, AP headlined “Glenn Greenwald working on new NSA revelations,” saying:
He and Jeremy Scahill “teamed up to report (on) what one called a ‘US assassination program.’ “
“The connections between war and surveillance are clear,” said Scahill.
“I don’t want to give too much away, but Glenn and I are working on a project right now that has at its center how the National Security Agency plays a significant, central role in the US assassination program.”
“There are so many stories that are yet to be published that we hope will produce ‘actionable intelligence,’ or information that ordinary citizens across the world can use to try to fight for change, to try to confront those in power.”
“The really important thing to realize is the desire for surveillance is not a uniquely American attribute,” said Greenwald.
“America has just devoted way more money and way more resources than anyone else to spying on the world.”
Doing so while waging war on humanity threatens its survival. Stopping what causes so much harm to so many matters most.
Truth is the best disinfectant. It’s a powerful tool for change.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.