As Restoring Liberty reported last month, a retired FBI counter-terrorism agent let it slip during a CNN interview regarding the Boston Marathon Bombing that the U.S. government is recording all cell phone conversations.
Previously, NSA whistle-blower William Binney, a 32-year veteran of the agency, claimed in an interview with the New York Times that the federal government was engaged in near-universal surveillance of digital communications, not just in the United States but internationally. He claims that he helped develop the technology to accomplish this.
With that as the backdrop, it was disclosed yesterday that the NSA secured an Order from a top secret U.S. Foreign Intelligence Court out of Washington, D.C. to gather up the records – on an ongoing, daily basis – of all telephone calls such as the length of the call, phone numbers, time of the call, and geographic location of the call.
Why would the Feds need this when they’re already recording all cell communications? Mr. Binney would have to answer that question but perhaps the government is only able to intercept the data packets for voice communications and is unable to match those to specific phone numbers without the additional information supplied by the carriers.
In any event, this outrageous Fourth Amendment violation is yet another reason that many are suggesting the country has entered into an era of “soft tyranny.”
Here’s more on the NSA’s Verizon snooping from the British outlet that first broke the story:
The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.
The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an “ongoing, daily basis” to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.
The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.
The secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisa) granted the order to the FBI on April 25, giving the government unlimited authority to obtain the data for a specified three-month period ending on July 19.
Under the terms of the blanket order, the numbers of both parties on a call are handed over, as is location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls. The contents of the conversation itself are not covered