Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Department of Mystery

Whistles are blowing, and it isn't even noon.

Russell Tice has lots more to say these days... as quoted in Daily Tech:
"Tice, who previously helped shed light on the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping facilities at AT&T switching offices, said in a Wednesday interview with MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann that the NSA “had access to all Americans' communications -- faxes, phone calls, and their computer communications.”

“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.”


"In a follow-up interview aired Thursday, Tice revealed that the communications data was then “married in” with financial records and credit card transactions."
So every Joe Sixpack who bought a new moose rifle and a couple of boxes of shells in the last five years on eBay using his VISA has had his phone tapped to make sure his moose were in the woods? And every Joe who spoke on his cell about getting a new moose rifle has had his credit card watched to make sure the rifle purchased was designed for moose and not for mayhem?

Hard to believe. But the construction of many simple products is automated these days. Hi, Joe.

Russell Tice went on to say that the NSA has successfully played a shell game, telling Congressional intelligence investigators that the surveillance program is a military project and telling Congressional military investigators that the surveillance of Americans is an intelligence project. So the project has completely escaped oversight.

It's a Department of Mystery! Floors tilt! Balls run uphill! People appear shorter, depending on where they stand. Even time moves slower in places.

The Department of Mystery. Even now it is listening.

That is, they haven't turned it off, yet. The other night I was trying to remember the word 'Kalashnikov' so that I could get the spelling right on a recent post. I hesitated to google it and leave traces. I searched for the word in all kinds of round-about ways. I don't want to come up on lists.

They haven't turned it off, yet. They still keep lists.

The phone company itself has a little service that keeps track of where your cellphone is at every moment so that it can know which cell towers to use when someone calls you. As you move from one place to another, the service updates their record to show the new towers.

There is a good chance that for at least some people this location information is retained long-term. The company that does this tower tracking service for the phone companies is in suburban Virginia near the spy services, so it would be no big deal to hang some cable.

This would let the NSA easily track people's movements over a period of time. If people who have ordered Kalashnikovs over eBay using their VISA cards come together some day for a meeting about network marketing, they will then set off an alert.

Does this bother you? Do you order things over eBay? Tracking you costs nothing.

Bother you or not, they know, you know. You know they know.

And they know you know they know.

They haven't turned it off, yet. Whatever it is that they turned on. It's still running. You and I, we are all on stage. Still. The speech-to-text converters are saving every word you say to grandma when you call her on her birthday. It costs nothing.

In one or two cases that have hit the courts, the government has entered evidence obtained by forcibly downloading a program into a person's phone and then listening in on conversations within range of the phone's microphone - turning the person's phone into a bug.

Can we know that this has not been done to us? Can we know that our little cellphones have not become Big Brother's ears?

The Department of Mystery. Congress will not tolerate being made such fools for long.

Does the White House anticipate that their continued use of extra-legal NSA surveillance is worth a fight to keep going? Must Americans and the world assume the worst? Will Congress need to rescue us from a Presidential Failure here?

Does the President control the NSA?


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