BY MICHAEL WEBSTER: Syndicated Investigative Reporter. Jan 25, 2009 at 12:01 AM PST.
President Bush touring the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Md., with Lt. Gen. Michael V. Hayden
The United States Government during the Bush administration violated Americans constitutional rights through wire taping and collecting private computer communications and reading emails illegally and without a warrant. According to some experts this is still going in the Obama administration.
The government listens to Americans phone calls and monitors our e-mails, faxes and computer key strokes. Those who have claimed that the government was guilty of spying on Americans are labeled as kooks or dubbed by the government as non-credible. No body wants this to be happening to them but according to one of NSA’s own all Americans are victims of warrant less wire taping and illegal monitoring our communications.
A former National Security Agency analyst Russell Tice, who earlier charged and helped expose the NSA's warrantless wiretapping way back in December 2005, has now come forward with even more startling allegations. Tice told MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on national television that the NSA’s programs that spied on Americans were not only much broader than previously acknowledged but specifically targeted certain groups including American journalists.
"The National Security Agency had access to all Americans' communications -- faxes, phone calls, and their computer communications," Tice claimed. "It didn't matter whether you were in Kansas, in the middle of the country, and you never made foreign communications at all. They monitored all communications."
The first and the fourth amendment says that we all have a right to freedom of speech, religion, and freedom of the press and the fourth amendment says that the government can not search our things without a warrant and when they phone tap our phones and read our emails without a warrant they are basically taking our rights away from us.
In 1790 they added the 4 amendment to the bill of rights, the right to be secure in our persons, houses, papers, and effects against “unreasonable searches”. Our founders believed what you say is not the governments business unless there is evidence that you have committed a crime. The surveillance program is unconstitutional and President Obama should sign an executive order putting an immediate end to this injustice. Many in Congress think the new president should call for investigations of possible criminal activities and violations of law by Bush and Chaney.
On July 9, 2008, the US Senate passed a bill expanding legal authority for electronic wiretaps by spy agencies, handing victory to President George W. Bush after a standoff over anti-terror strategy. Then-Senator Obama, along with newly appointed Secretary of State Clinton, said they would support Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn) in filibustering the GOP effort, specifically when it came to immunity for the private telecom companies which allowed the NSA to conduct warrantless spying.
Obama ultimately "compromised," saying: "The President's illegal program of warrantless surveillance will be over. It restores FISA and existing criminal wiretap statutes as the exclusive means to conduct surveillance – making it clear that the President cannot circumvent the law and disregard the civil liberties of the American people."
Tice further explained that "even for the NSA it's impossible to literally collect all communications. ... What was done was sort of an ability to look at the metadata ... and ferret that information to determine what communications would ultimately be collected."
According to Tice, in addition to this "low-tech, dragnet" approach, the NSA also had the ability to hone in on specific groups, and that was the aspect he himself was involved with. However, even within the NSA there was a cover story meant to prevent people like Tice from realizing what they were doing.
"In one of the operations that I was in, we looked at organizations, just supposedly so that we would not target them," Tice told Olbermann. "What I was finding out, though, is that the collection on those organizations was 24/7 and 365 days a year -- and it made no sense. ... I started to investigate that. That's about the time when they came after me to fire me."
When Olbermann pressed him for specifics, Tice offered, "An organization that was collected on were US news organizations and reporters and journalists."
"To what purpose?" Olbermann asked. "I mean, is there a file somewhere full of every email sent by all the reporters at the New York Times? Is there a recording somewhere of every conversation I had with my little nephew in upstate New York?"
Tice did not answer directly, but simply stated, "If it was involved in this specific avenue of collection, it would be everything." He added, however, that he had no idea what was ultimately done with the information, except that he was sure it "was digitized and put on databases somewhere."
Tice first began alleging that there were illegal activities going on at both the NSA and the Defense Intelligence Agency in December 2005, several months after being fired by the NSA. He also served at that time as a source for the New York Times story which revealed the existence of the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program.
Over the next several months, however, Tice was frustrated in his attempts to testify before Congress, had his credibility attacked by Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh, and was subpoenaed by a federal grand jury in an apparent attempt at intimidation.
Tice is now coming forward again because George Bush is finally out of office. He told Olbermann that the Obama administration has not been in touch with him about his latest revelations, but, "I did send a letter to, I think it's [Obama intelligence adviser John] Brennan -- a handwritten letter, because I knew all my communications were tapped, my phones, my computer, and I've had the FBI on me like flies on you-know-what ... and I'm assuming that he gave the note to our current president -- that I intended to say a little bit more than I had in the past."
Some Americans wonder how NSA eavesdropping affects them when they have nothing to hide. As the government claims, this program is only looking for “terrorist activity,” still all your conversations have to be processed; have to be linked to other calls and sources of “possible” terrorist activity. How it is layed out right now is all it takes is an innocent phone call to a friend, who has placed a call to a friend or relative, who has legitimate business or personal contacts in a foreign country where there may be “suspected terrorists.” Which is most of the world. You have just become a potential target of government investigation – you may be a terrorist supporter, or even a terrorist. Remember “Six Degrees of Separation” (the theory that anyone on earth can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances with no more than five intermediaries)? The NSA program can easily mistakenly connect you to a terrorist. Furthermore, since the program is being conducted without judicial oversight and under no recognized process there is nothing to restrict how the information obtained under the program is being used.
Mary Walker a sales lady in Manhattan New York said, “Wire taping and reading Americans emails is illegal and is unconstitutional. The government should not be allowed to do warrant less wire taping and read our emails it invades our privacy and violates our rights and we don’t want big brother spying on us using terrorism as their excuse.”
This video is from MSNBC's Countdown, broadcast Jan. 21, 2009. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036677#28781200
Download video via RawReplay.com
Michael Webster’s Syndicated Investigative Reports are read worldwide, in 100 or more U.S. outlets and in at least 136 countries and territories. He has published articles for Maxims News, which is associated with MediaChannel.org and Globalvision News Network, global news and media information services with more than 350 news affiliates in 135 countries. Many of Mr. Webster’s articles are printed in six working languages: English, French, Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Spanish. With ten more languages planed in the near future.
Mr. Webster is America's leading authority on Venture Capital/Equity Funding. A trustee on some of the nations largest trade Union funds. A noted Author, Lecturer, Educator, Emergency Manager, Counter-Terrorist, War on Drugs and War on Terrorist Specialist, Business Consultant, Newspaper Publisher. Radio News caster. Labor Law generalist, Teamster Union Business Agent, General Organizer, Union Rank and File Member Grievances Representative, NLRB Union Representative, Union Contract Negotiator, Workers Compensation Appeals Board Hearing Representative. Mr. Webster publishes the on-line newspaper the Laguna Journal and does investigative reports for print, electronic and on-line News Agencies. Click on or Google Michael Webster’s other writings.