Just-Released Documents Show ‘Huge Increase’ in Warrantless Surveillance

John Glaser, September 28, 2012

The Obama administration has fought tooth and nail to keep the details of its surveillance activities hidden from the public. For years it has insisted that its snooping on Americans’ phone and email communications fell perfectly within the law (that is, the extremely broad and invasive FISA Amendments Act, which authorizes warrantless surveillance of Americans’ international communications, checked only by a secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that doesn’t make it’s activities and procedures available to the public.) Despite repeated demands by civil liberties groups, the administration refused to disclose how many times they gathered intelligence about American citizens.

But now, the ACLU, “after months of litigation,” has been provided with some details. And it doesn’t look good:

ACLU:

Justice Department documents released today by the ACLU reveal that federal law enforcement agencies are increasingly monitoring Americans’ electronic communications, and doing so without warrants, sufficient oversight, or meaningful accountability.

The documents, handed over by the government only after months of litigation, are the attorney general’s 2010 and 2011 reports on the use of “pen register” and “trap and trace” surveillance powers. The reports show a dramatic increase in the use of these surveillance tools, which are used to gather information about telephone, email, and other Internet communications. The revelations underscore the importance of regulating and overseeing the government’s surveillance power.  (Our originalFreedom of Information Act request and our legal complaint are online.)

Pen register and trap and trace devices are powerfully invasive surveillance tools that were, twenty years ago, physical devices that attached to telephone lines in order to covertly record the incoming and outgoing numbers dialed. Today, no special equipment is required to record this information, as interception capabilities are built into phone companies’ call-routing hardware.

This news will be completely ignored by the network news outlets, so voters will by and large know nothing about it. It will not inform people’s voting decisions. But even if it did, the question again arises, as it was so elegantly put by The Atlantic‘s Conor Friedersdorf earlier this week, how much “evil” are lesser evil Obama voters willing to accept?




21 Responses to “Just-Released Documents Show ‘Huge Increase’ in Warrantless Surveillance”

  1. [...] http://antiwar.com/blog/2012/09/28/just-released-documents-show-huge-increase-in-warrantless-surveil… Rate this:Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. [...]

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  3. DOJ during the Bush administration imprisoned me without a criminal charge in order to screw up my third party civil lawsuit. I think my judge Edward Nottingham was bribed. http://www.ca10.uscourts.gov/downloadmisconduct.php?file...
    I think that DOJ went along with this because Nottingham's USMS guards were also involved with prostitutes and strippers and because they didn't want to reopen criminal convictions of Joe Nacchio etc. http://www.denverpost.com/commented/ci_6598184

    I thought everything would be different when Obama was elected. Instead DOJ claimed in Court that the Prisoner Tracking System and the Joint Automated Booking System can be used without a criminal charge. Not according to DOJ's Notices in the Federal Register see Vol 66 p. 20478 Vol 69 p. 23213. In order to get my claims dismissed, DOJ actually misrepresented their own notices in the Federal Register. The judge didn't verify the Federal Register Notices himself, he just believed DOJ.

    Now DOJ can take photos of anyone's body and their fingerprints and put them on a national database. https://ecf.dcd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/show_public_

    In my case, DOJ made up non-existent criminal charges and entered them into the NCIC and the Warrant Information Network but the people responsible went unsanctioned:
    http://usmsinternalinvestigation.blogspot.com/
    http://www.lawlessamerica.com/index.php?option=co

  4. Two words for what America is becoming. A Marxist State. El Presidente' oboner is smiling as America's Ignorant Class is clueless as dog spit. The boots of Marxism will be dripping with our blood.

  5. Despite repeated demands by civil liberties groups, the administration refused to disclose how many times they gathered intelligence about American citizens.

  6. Instead DOJ claimed in Court that the Prisoner Tracking System and the Joint Automated Booking System can be used without a criminal charge. Not according to DOJ's Notices in the Federal Register see Vol 66 p. The reports show a dramatic increase in the use of these surveillance tools, which are used to gather information about telephone, email, and other Internet communications.

  7. With the simple fact that we are under Admiralty law, which basically nullifies our constitutional common law rights, we are screwed. We cannot do anything to change the fact that the shadow government has turned America into the United States incorporated and we have no common law
    un-a-lien-able rights. (note the correct pronunciation is not un-alienable but un-a-leinable as in a lien against your God given rights as a sovereign citizen.)

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  9. [...] September 28, 2012  Just-Released Documents Show ‘Huge Increase’ in Warrantless Surveillance [...]

  10. The released documents only establish something that we’ve known all along! There may be some justification in the argument that monitoring emails and phones is, at times, important from the security point of view but there is no doubt that they’re very invasive and violate people’s right to privacy. The security agencies should be made more accountable on these matters.

  11. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that doesn’t make it’s activities and procedures available to the public.) Despite repeated demands by civil liberties groups, the administration refused to disclose how many times they gathered intelligence about American citizens.

  12. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that doesn’t make it’s activities and procedures available to the public.) Despite repeated demands by civil liberties groups, the administration refused to disclose how many times they gathered intelligence about American citizens.

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  14. This is nothing compared to the NSA program, "Total Awareness". Being given unopposed permission recently, the NSA has turned its surveillance apparatus on the US and its citizens. It has established listening posts throughout the nation to collect and sift through billions of email messages and phone calls, whether they originate within the country or overseas. It has created a supercomputer of almost unimaginable speed to look for patterns and unscramble code using yodabyte ( 10 to the 24th power) sized databases… http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsada

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  16. An invasion of privacy is never justified without probable cause. Do I have to quote Ben Franklin on this? This is just so embarassing for the US government and not just Obama who's almost as bad as Bush Jr. Fosamax Class Action Updates

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