Don’t say you weren’t warned. The story of government abuse of spying powers truly broke three and a half years ago, right after the 2004 election. George W. Bush was caught breaking the law, listening in on the personal conversations of millions of Americans, and grabbing information about their private use of the Internet as well. We wrote about it then, and we’ve been writing about the issue ever since.
But what did Americans do? Some engaged in activism to defend their rights. Most, however, just shrugged, mumbled, “Whatever they have to do to protect me from terrorists…”, and looked the other way. Then, in 2006 Congress legalized the illegal program, and did it again in 2007, expanding the spy program even further.
John McCain was in on the dirty deal – and Jim was on the job a couple of weeks ago when he personally confronted John McCain on the FISA Amendments Act – this year’s law granting George W. Bush even more telecommunications spying powers.
But, don’t kid yourself that this is a partisan election issue. It’s not. Barack Obama gave his support to the Big Brother spying programs to wiretap our communications just like John McCain did. So did many other Democrats in Congress.
This morning, we’re learning specifics about the what the FISA Amendments Act has been used for – it’s not counterterrorism. Two people who have been working on the inside of the National Security Agency’s spy programs authorized by the Protect America Act and FISA Amendments Act report that they were ordered to listen to, record, and even transcribe the personal telephone calls of American journalists, non-profit aid workers, and even U.S. military officers. The transcribed telephone calls included phone sex between spouses temporarily separated from one another.
None of these people were suspected of terrorism, or even having any acquaintances that were suspected of terrorism.
The FISA Amendments Act isn’t a Terrorist Surveillance Program. It’s being used against Americans who are serving their country, and the world, overseas. It’s being used against their family members back home. It’s being used to keep government records on just what American wives are telling their American husbands about just what sexy things they’re going to do for them when the couples are reunited.
Why is the government listening in on and transcribing these conversations? For blackmail?
These allegations come from just two of the huge number of people working for the NSA to spy on Americans’ private conversations. What other kinds of spying against us is being done that we aren’t being told about?
These revelations are shocking, but they’re only surprising if you haven’t been paying attention to what your government has been up to for the last eight years. I suspect, therefore, that most Americans will be very surprised to hear this news.