from the how-about-that dept
But the Obama administration, while declining to comment on the specific order, said the practice was "a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats to the United States".Uh, that's really not the point. Under that standard, there is no Constitution. There are lots of things that could be very useful tools in stopping crime and attacks, but we don't allow them because they violate the public's rights. We don't allow the FBI to walk up and down the street, enter every house and search it for weapons, for example. While that might be a "critical tool" in stopping the use of those weapons, it's also incredibly unconstitutional on a whole variety of levels. Saying that it's okay to ignore the 4th Amendment entirely because there are terrorists out there is no excuse at all.
And, of course, as we noted last night, there's nothing new about this. Already it's been confirmed that the order to Verizon was not a special case, but rather a "renewal of an ongoing practice." Senator Feinstein has admitted that this has been going on consistently for the past seven years, and this latest leak is just the "renewal" for another three months. And if anyone thinks that only Verizon got this order and has been doing this for the past seven years, you're not paying attention. As we've noted, we've had multiple whistleblowers who have flat out said that this was happening for years. Mark Klein, who worked at AT&T, revealed in 2006 that he'd helped hook up NSA machines to record all data flowing over the AT&T network. Meanwhile former NSA employee William Binney also blew the whistle on this activity from the NSA side. We've known all of this for years... and no one seemed to care until now.
Even more incredible, is that the NSA has no problem directly lying about all of this. Because last week, before all of this came out, and before the Obama administration 'fessed up to using this "critical tool," General Keith Alexander, the head of the NSA, ridiculously claimed the following:
"The great irony is we're the only ones not spying on the American people," he quipped.Just days after that was said, we have written proof that this claim is 100% false. So, now, what do we do about it?