Friday, October 17, 2008

� Surveillance Gone Amok

The Bush Cabal continues their abuse of powers--largely unreported-- while the media obsesses over the McCain/Palin campaign's never-ending, ever more outrageous, distorted character attacks on Senator Barack Obama.

Wake up, people.

ACLU Blog:
In pushing for ever-expanding and unaccountable surveillance authority, the Bush Administration has assured the public that it aims its spying capabilities at serious security threats. But as two government whistleblowers recently revealed to ABC News, surveillance programs touted as critical to protect national security have in fact been used to monitor the private communications of innocent Americans abroad, including humanitarian workers and U.S. service-members. While disturbing, ABC’s report confirms a core contention of the ACLU’s lawsuit challenging Congress’s recent expansion of governmental spying powers: unchecked surveillance authority invades the privacy of innocent Americans, and in doing so, fundamentally undermines the efforts of human rights workers, journalists, and attorneys doing important work around the globe.

Two former military intercept operators — the people who actually intercept, monitor, and collect international telephone and email communications — told ABC News that "hundreds of US citizens overseas have been eavesdropped on as they called friends and family back home." The operators worked for the National Security Agency ("NSA"), the spy agency chiefly responsible for international surveillance. They report that NSA routinely listened in on the innocent, and sometimes intimate, conversations of Americans abroad. There were apparently no effective procedures in place to filter out these kinds of communications.

The NSA program went beyond invading the personal privacy of Americans abroad (and their friends and family on the other end of the line). NSA also directed its surveillance powers at well-established humanitarian organizations, like the International Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders. As one whistleblower told ABC News: "We knew they were working for these aid organizations. . . . And yet, instead of blocking these phone numbers we continued to collect on them."...
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