There is outrage over an NSA program that records billions of phone calls by wireless phone users. Some of the anger is from Congressmen who approved the plan, but never believed it would be exposed. A far more invasive program, called PRISM, was created by George W. Bush to obtain more power over the American people. This is the real scandal of the past six years
Google, Yahoo, and other internet services, as well as the revelation of Verizon intrusion, denied that they knew anything about the secret program. If the Guardian, a news service based in the United Kingdom had not revealed its presence, we may still not be aware of its existence.
The end result is a level of hypocrisy by members of our federal government that surpasses even the farthest reaches of our imagination.
The program began in 2007 under the Bush administration, and has continued under President Obama. The warrantless domestic surveillance began, after news media disclosures, lawsuits and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court forced the president to look for new authority. Under the auspices of Carl Rove, and Dick Cheney, a clueless president was encouraged to exercise excessive control over American citizens.
And national security was not the only purpose of these acts of invasion of personal privacy. Our government broke Constitutional law to secure information about individuals and organizations in relation to future political campaigns and elections.
Congress obliged with the Protect America Act in 2007 and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which immunized private companies that cooperated voluntarily with U.S. intelligence collection.
PRISM’s first partner was Microsoft. The government began an all-out assault on the American people as it included, “collection directly from the servers of these U.S. Service Providers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, and Apple.”
Some critics in the Congress of the United States learned about the program just last year. They were subsequently bound by oaths of office to ‘hold their tongues.’
The Bush administration persuaded federal judges that the program was necessary. All that was asked of them by the court was that they provide occasional ‘justifiable verification for the government’s need to invade the personal information of American citizens.’
Many of the Congressmen who supported the covert operation on American citizens, are now criticizing its existence. Others, such as Lindsay Graham, continue to support the NSA’s actions, claiming it is all about national security.
Two different versions of the PRISM scandal were emerging on Thursday with Silicon Valley executives denying all knowledge of the top secret program that gives the National Security Agency direct access to the internet giants’ servers.
The eavesdropping program is detailed in the form of PowerPoint slides in a leaked NSA document, seen and authenticated by the Guardian, which states that it is based on “legally-compelled collection” but operates with the “assistance of communications providers in the US.”
If you can believe a representative of a major corporation which depends on the support of the federal government for it success and reputation, here is what one of them told the press.
An Apple spokesman said: “We have never heard of PRISM. We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers and any agency requesting customer data must get a court order,” he said.
How much government action implementing George Orwell’s “1984” are we supposed to accept?
The misnamed “Patriot Act” usurped several amendments to the Constitution. The tragic events of 911 influenced the American public to accept the invasion of their privacy without complaint.
Joe Sullivan, Facebook’s chief security officer, said it did not provide government organization with direct access to Facebook servers. “When Facebook is asked for data or information about specific individuals, we carefully scrutinize any such request for compliance with all applicable laws, and provide information only to the extent required by law.”
A Google spokesman also said it did not provide officials with access to its servers. “Google cares deeply about the security of our users’ data. We disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully. From time to time, people allege that we have created a government ‘backdoor’ into our systems, but Google does not have a ‘back door’ for the government to access private user data.”
Microsoft said it only turned over data when served with a court order: “We provide customer data only when we receive a legally binding order or subpoena to do so, and never on a voluntary basis. In addition we only ever comply with orders for requests about specific accounts or identifiers. If the government has a broader voluntary national security program to gather customer data we don’t participate in it.”
A Yahoo spokesman said: “Yahoo! takes users’ privacy very seriously. We do not provide the government with direct access to our servers, systems, or network.
So, how far does our belief system go? Was the government obtaining personal information from these social media giants without their consent? Are they complicit in the government’s Constitutional violations?
Executives said they were “confused” by the claims in the NSA document. “We operate under what we are required to do by law,” said one. “We receive requests for information all the time. Say about a potential terrorist threat or after the Boston bombing. But we have systems in place for that.” The executive claimed, as did others, that the most senior figures in their organization had never heard of PRISM or any scheme like it.
I removed myself from the social media some time ago. My private thoughts and communications were being viewed by those I did not intend to allow access.
The larger issue here is the fundamental foundation of the creation of the United States of America. Personal freedoms on all levels were the core of the Constitution, and the underlying reason for the Declaration of Independence.
I have written numerous articles arguing that our government is attempting to control the people of our nation in a dictatorial manor. Politics, and political parties are the ruination of a free country.
In the days to come, you will hear and see politicians take various positions on PRISM. Regardless of what is said to the media, it is a program to obtain power and control over the American people.
The Guardian Express