NSA Whistleblower: ‘Every American is under virtual surveillance’

omestic_spying_genericA Wednesday morning headline in Russia Today, “NSA Whistleblower: ‘Everyone in US Under Virtual Surveillance,’” led me to this incredible video. That, in turn, led me to think, “Here we go with the rantings and ravings of the ‘Big Brother is watching’ crowd.” Believe me, I am part of that crowd. I don’t want Big Government or Big Brother in my life any more than it already is.

But when it comes to the safety and security of me, my children and my country, I — wait for it — break with my conservative Republican-ness and could care less if the government reads my emails, listens to my phone calls and saves my text messages in the name of national security. Honestly. I have no problem with intelligence agencies intruding in my private life. Wait, what’s private? Emails, texts, Facebook, Twitter? So not private. We knowingly and willingly share our private lives and personal thoughts and opinions via social media with the whole world. As soon as we hit a “send” or “share” button, all right to privacy we think we had just got blasted into cyberspace.

Russia Today recently interviewed William Binney, a former National Security Agency mathematician and code breaker who resigned in protest in 2001 over the NSA’s domestic spying policy. Binney said that under the “Terrorist Surveillance Program,” the NSA is collecting and storing every email, from every U.S. citizen, and has been doing so since Sept.11, 2001. These trillions of emails are stored in bulk, Binney said, and will be housed in the new, super-secret, data storage facility being built in Bluffdale, Utah.

The problem, Binney told Russia Today, is that the FBI has access to the data. He said if a U.S. citizen “becomes a target for whatever reason – they are targeted by the government, the government can go in, or the FBI, or other agencies of the government, they can go into their database, pull all that data collected on them over the years, and we analyze it all.” Binney said it was this — the government engaging in data mining, turning the United States into a “surveillance state” — that led to his resignation.

Russia Today asked Binney about the FBI gaining access to the personal emails of U.S. Gens. David Petraeus and John Allen:

RT: In the case of General Petraeus one would argue that there could have been security breaches. Something like that. But with General Allen  – I don’t quite understand, because what they were looking into were his private emails to this woman.

WB: That’s the whole point. I am not sure what the internal politics is… That’s part of the problem. This government doesn’t want things in the public. It’s not a transparent government. Whatever the reason or the motivation was, I don’t really know, but I certainly think that there was something going on in the background that made them target those fellows. Otherwise why would they be doing it? There is no crime there.

Binney responded next to the very question I would have asked, the very reason I have no issue with any agency collecting and storing my data: What of the people who aren’t committing crimes, those who have nothing to hide? According to Russia Today, Binney responded:

The problem is if they think they are not doing anything that’s wrong, they don’t get to define that. The central government does, the central government defines what is right and wrong and whether or not they target you. So, it’s not up to the individuals. Even if they think they aren’t doing something wrong, if their position on something is against what the administration has, then they could easily become a target.

OK, I get that. But we still are a nation of law and order. We live under a criminal justice system that requires, at a minimum, probable cause-based search warrants to find evidence on a “target.”

I grew up reading the masters of espionage, Tom Clancy, John le Carré, Robert Ludlum, Frederick Forsyth, watched “James Bond” and “24,” and realized the world forever changed after 9/11. There are and always will be bad guys who want to kill us. That’s why we need to find them first. So, I believe when it comes to tracking and finding people who want to attack my country and kill me and mine, intelligence agencies should do whatever it takes, even if it means giving up some personal freedoms. I fear terrorist sleeper cells in America more than I fear the NSA reading the turkey brine recipe I emailed my mother.

 

Here’s a must-watch segment from an upcoming documentary with Binney and filmmaker Laura Poitras:

 

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Janeen Capizola

"And though she be but little, she is fierce." And fun! This conservative-minded political junkie, mom of three, dancer and one-time NFL cheerleader holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science. Janeen@BizPacReview.com. Twitter: @JaneenBPR
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About Janeen Capizola

"And though she be but little, she is fierce." And fun! This conservative-minded political junkie, mom of three, dancer and one-time NFL cheerleader holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science. Janeen@BizPacReview.com. Twitter: @JaneenBPR

  • margie

    When the government wants to detain SUSPECTED citizen terrorists indefinitely we are NOT a "nation of law and order." When the president authorizes the assassination of an American citizen we have no constitution.

  • http://fb Kathy Bennett

    Domestic spying! Our lives are no longer personal but open to the public!

  • Michael D. Capizola

    Janeen is one of my closest relatives and I often agree with her. However, she is dead wrong on this one. I am a lawyer and have fought with the government at almost every level. Our founders knew the dangers of government. History shows the dangers of government. Recall Hitler's Germany, Japanese aggression and many other governments run amuck. What makes you think that our government is benign? Have you ever met the IRS, the FBI, the DEA, the FTC or any of the other acronyms that make up "our" government? What power does the individual have against agencies with virtually unlimited budgets and power? The Founders warned us with the Bill of Rights which has become meager protection for most of us. The Government wants us to fear terrorism, wants us to keep drugs illegal, wants the rich vs poor, wants the trillions of dollars it controls and spends—–Government is not your friend. Your friends are your neighbors and family and all the people of the world struggling to be free or keep free. What you say can and will be used against you if the occasion arises. It has happened before and is happening now and will happen as long as one group or person has the power over another. This is not necessarily a "free" country and don't ever forget that.

  • Teddy Torres

    Wow and I was shocked when I found out my drivers license went through NSA. I thought that was too much big brother but know my e-mails? Thats just crazy. Oh well I hope they enjoy all those spam e-mails I get. I must recieve 100 e-mails a day and only 3 or 4 are important to me, the rest are junk.

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  • wolfeatworld

    Janeen – You have given up the right to call yourself a conservative. No one who supports your position as stated in your post, would ever be taken seriously as any kind of a 'conservative.' I'm an old man now, but I have been a conservative for over 60 years. I've seen most every type of person tout themselves as leaning or strongly conservative. But I have never met anyone who takes your stated position as it regards government intrusion into our lives – seriously 'pre port' to hold conservative values. In the nicest way possible, I suggest you reexamine your political and moral values and take a long look in the mirror as you do.

  • Yolanda Mercedes

    I believe when it comes to tracking and finding people who want to attack my country and kill me and mine, intelligence agencies should do whatever it takes, even if it means giving up some personal freedoms. I fear terrorist sleeper cells in America more than I fear the NSA reading the turkey brine recipe I emailed my mother.

    ##################

    Janeen, this people on inteligence world, are not walmart's managers. So much tons of money and resources are invested expecting a job of honor on favor of decents American people. Your position remember me the friend of my mom. She got surgery from her intestines, BUT the surgeon injuried her nerve on that part, and now she does not feeling is poop. Only aterts her the smell.