Monday, August 17, 2015

Snowden Strikes Again: AT&T Largest and Longest Collaborator with NSA

(While crafting this post, I brought in so much pertinent backstory that I finally reached Glenn Greenwald Peak Verbiage. As my late friend Art Wilcox would have said, "Hit new level!" I admit I'm exhilarated, if a little frightened.)

NSA HQ. Wouldn't the money -- and buildings -- be batter used as the National
Healthcare Service? Slightly less safe but much healthier. But hey, priorities!

When I read about this "new" Edward Snowden revelation yesterday, I immediately recalled that AT&T early on had been outed as especially cooperating with the U.S. government on spying on Internet and cell-phone communications. A quick google reveals that, yes, AT&T was deep in it early. Read about it here and here. WaPo snippet:
[In 2002] AT&T allowed the agency to hook into its network at a facility in San Francisco and, according to Klein, many of the other telecom companies probably knew nothing about it. [my bold]
Michael Hayden, NSA director,
1999-2005, patriot, "good guy,"
torture supporter, profligate liar.
Yep, that's the story I remember. AT&T opened the door and let all the rats in. But what's important to remember is that the George W. Bush administration began this effort before 9/11. But we knew this, too:
However, once Bush takes office in January 2001, that practice [of eavesdropping on persons of national interest but deleting their names so their rights aren't violated] undergoes a radical change. In the first few months of the administration, President Bush assigns Vice President Cheney to make himself more of a presence at the various US intelligence agencies, particularly the CIA, NSA, and DIA. Cheney, along with other officials at the State and Defense Departments, begins making repeated requests to the NSA to reveal the identities of those Americans which had previously been deleted, so that administration officials can more fully understand the context and scope of the intelligence. Such requests are technically legal. But Cheney goes well beyond the law when he requests, as he frequently does, that the NSA continue monitoring specific Americans already caught up in the NSA’s wiretaps and electronic surveillance. A former White House counterterrorism official will later claim that Cheney advised Bush of what he was learning from the NSA. “What’s really disturbing is that some of those people the vice president was curious about were people who worked at the White House or the State Department,” says another former counterterrorism official. “There was a real feeling of paranoia that permeated from the vice president’s office and I don’t think it had anything to do with the threat of terrorism. I can’t say what was contained in those taps that piqued his interest. I just don’t know.”
Admiral John Poindexter,
Director, Total Infomation 
Awareness, convicted liar,
Iran-Contra co-conspirator
patriot, "good guy."
The Bushies lied from the beginning, pre-9/11.

Also, the mechanisms were in place pre-9/11 and were unleashed after the attacks.

What came out of that was Total Information Awareness, also barely post-9/11, which must have been fascinating to the Bushies because it was almost like a movie.

Do click on the links on Hayden and Poindexter's captions. Note on "patriot:" they no doubt think they are; note on "good guy": they believe they're one of the good guys, so laws don't apply to them when they're acting all patriotically. Cheney and Rumsfeld, for example, think they're good guys, which is why they broke the Geneva Convention, the Laws of War, the U.S. Constitution, federal and state law and still think they're patriots. They even broke the laws -- like the Patriot Act -- that were passed so they could break the law.

Bonus WTF: Yes, Michael Hayden got up in front of Congress and, yes, repeatedly denied the term "probable cause" was in the Fourth Amendment, the part of the Constitution he and Poindexter ripped to shreds. I follow it by showing James Clapper, Director, National Intelligence since 2010, essentially attempting a similar feat.

Stupid or evil? I suppose incompetent could be in the mix, but this guy's a four-star admiral, so I'm going with evil.

Here's James Clapper to compare and contrast:

Clapper said later -- after the Snowden revelations -- that:
"I thought though in retrospect I was asked (a) ‘when are you going to stop beating your wife’ kind of question, meaning not answerable necessarily, by a simple yes or no," he said. "So I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least most untruthful manner, by saying, ‘No.’"
Yeah, the only take on that is it's fucked up. But important to note is that Clapper knew the Intelligence Committee knew, and of course the Committee saw right through it. Ron Wyden knew what he was asking and knew that Clapper's answer was bullshit. But the Committee is, by law, prevented from letting the American people in on what they know. So Clapper's artful dodging was aimed at keeping the American people in the dark. Until, uh-oh, Edward Snowden. That's why Snowden is a hero and Clapper -- and Hayden and Poindexter and all their ilk before them -- are montrous dickheads. In DC they're called patriots and good guys.

Didn't mean to go on so long, just google anything you don't understand.  IT'S ALL OUT THERE.

Now, read all of that article on the new Snowden revelations that started all this (I'm just obsessed with background for deeper understanding). Let me leave you with this snippet of it that caught my eye:
At the same time, the government has been fighting in court to keep the identities of its telecom partners hidden. In a recent case, a group of AT&T customers claimed that the N.S.A.’s tapping of the Internet violated the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches. This year, a federal judge dismissed key portions of the lawsuit after the Obama administration argued that public discussion of its telecom surveillance efforts would reveal state secrets, damaging national security.
Read it again if you need to, but you probably noticed that a federal judge -- AT THE BEHEST OF THE OBAMA ADMIINSTRATION -- ruled that citizens can't sue over violations of our Fourth Amendment rights because it might reveal that the government is secretly violating our Fourth Amendment rights, which is A STATE SECRET.

Sorry for yelling, but I wanted to get your attention because the Full Monty Atrios expression of utter disgust is called for: SHIT IS FUCKED UP AND BULLSHIT.

I voted twice for Obama and would again, but in the new world of Constitutional rights, he's as bad as Bush and the whole lot of them.

Final bonus graphic -- the Seal of the Total Information Office:

Yep, beyond the fact that it's seriously creepy, if you look carefully at the seal, you'll see DARPA, the DoD agency that literally created the Internet. So, they created the network that they would, thirty years later, use to spy on us all. You've got to admire the chutzpah, at least, before you decide to emigrate to the Netherlands, or Ecuador, or Tierra del Fuego, or someplace -- where of course they can spy on you, as well. We're screwed. (Wow, maybe this is why I was recently fascinated by the Faroe Islands.)

Boycott ATT&T. Seriously. Also, enjoy the irony that DARPA created the Internet by which the U.S government could spy on us all, by which so much information is randomly distributed and gathered that we eventually can find out all about it, and then share it. Which they also know but can't stop. Unless they go rouge with a police state. Which is something serious to worry about, unless you're a regular Fox News viewer, in which case the real problem with the world in Mexicans, Benghazi, and Hillary's emails. Ugh. Oh, and free anything for the poor.

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