Got Verizon?

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Today America woke up to find out that if they are a Verizon customer, their phone records are being collected on a daily basis and indiscriminately sent over to the NSA. They may not have done anything wrong, but that does not matter.

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.

It is no secret that I wasn’t thrilled with the passage of the Patriot Act under Bush and the government powers it broadened. I fully understand the need to protect this nation, and I am acutely aware of the national security threats we face every day.  But it was one of those monsters very few legislators had the time or the inclination to read. They just wanted to look like they were doing something, and that something ushered in a slow, systematic erosion of our rights. And obscenely, the Bush administration had publicly expressed its opinion that individual rights are to be sacrificed at the altar of “national security.”

The Bush administration made no secret of its hopes that the Patriot Act would be broadly interpreted by the judiciary branch. In a letter to Senators Bob Graham, Orrin Hatch, Patrick Leahy, and Richard Shelby, Assistant Attorney General Daniel J. Bryant had the unmitigated goal to state:
 
The courts have observed that even the use of deadly force is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment if used in self-defense or to protect others… Here, for Fourth Amendment purposes, the right to self-defense is not that of an individual, but that of the nation and its citizens… If the government’s heightened interest in self-defense justifies the use of deadly force, then it certainly would also justify warrantless searches.

The majority of the Patriot Act was vaguely innocuous. It provided for more resources for our intelligence community, promoted information sharing, etc. But a few of the sections of this act were odious in nature, and were a precursor to what we are seeing today.

Prior to the September 11th attacks, a wiretap order targeted toward a specific person or group was confined to a particular computer or telephone.  This is no longer the case. The new law allows a court to issue an order that is valid anywhere in the U.S.  that is it may “rove” wherever a target goes, including a public library. Additionally, roving wiretaps and pen trap orders to include searches performed on the internet and keywords typed into browsers.

Under Section 216, a law enforcement agent or a government attorney can get a pen register, which records the telephone number of an outgoing call, or trap and trace order, which records the source of an incoming telephone call. To get such an order, the agent must simply certify to a judge that the information to be obtained is “relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation.”According to case law, information about who sent an email to whom and when holds no reasonable expectation of privacy  much like the address blocks on a regular envelope or telephone numbers, which are necessarily provided to the telephone companies in order to complete a call. Much like the outside of an envelope, or a telephone number that’s dialed, envelope information on emails isn’t protected by constitutional privacy expectations.

However, this is where the constitutional challenges arise. While the sender of a letter can reasonably expect that the contents of a sealed letter will be private, unless no envelope is provided with the address block on the letter serving as an address device for the post office, and while a caller can reasonably expect that the content of his telephone conversation can be private, unless it’s transmitted over public airwavesbecause the content of email messages is invariably contained on the same “page” as the “envelope information”, the courts could reasonably rule that the content of an email message is not constitutionally protected.

The Patriot Act also allowed law enforcement to share information with the intelligence community (CIA, NSA, etc.), and  there’s no judicial review requirement to share wiretap and grand jury information, which effectively allows these intelligence agencies to keep tabs on ordinary citizens under the guise of “national security.”

So here we are…

These days, the FISA ruling has forced Verizon to hand over telephone records to the NSA, including communications between the United States and abroad” or “wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls.”

The standard for FISA approval is actually lower than regular courts, which require probable cause to grant a warrant in a criminal matter, and originally FISA warrants were only supposed to be used for those suspected of acting on behalf of a foreign power. Prior to the passage of the Patriot Act, FISA’s lax standards could only be applied if the actual purpose of the surveillance was the gathering of foreign intelligence. But Section 218 of the bill relaxed that standard to apply to a domestic criminal investigation if the gathering of foreign intelligence information merely constitutes a significant purpose of the surveillance. Not so much anymore.

Information is being collected on every Verizon customer in bulk – without reasonable suspicion of any individual or set of individuals and no specific target.

I fully admit there are things we don’t know. Maybe there is a specific target buried in all that data. But to collect intelligence on millions of American citizens looking for a needle in a haystack sounds like an egregious abuse of power to me.

I also doubt NSA employees are sitting around giggling at the phone sex you had with your significant other last night. Frankly, they have bigger things to worry about.

But if the government is capable of forcing a company to hand over your private information, it also has the power to use that information against you. It knows with whom you’re having conversations and for how long. Corrupt government bureaucrats can now not only target you – and any person that opposes their agenda – but also that person’s friends and family. Suspicion by association.

I don’t trust the government to have that information at its disposal. Do you?

ADDING SOME IRONY: George Orwell’s “1984” was published 64 years ago today.

RLC National: Wrong On Immigration

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A couple weeks back, I laid out my vision on the immigration issue. No amnesty, border security, one set of rules for everyone. Pretty straightforward stuff, even mostly endorsing a plan put forward by a Republican Liberty Caucus national board member.

Sadly, RLC National has gone ahead and released a plan that panders to Hispanics and apologists for illegals, with a supporting op-ed in the Examiner by RLC National Chairman Dave Nalle. I should point out that this is likely the only significant national issue where I disagree with Dave; however, this issue is very significant. I will urge the RLCVA state board to oppose this plan.

Amnesty now will be like the 1986 amnesty times ten, and there still won’t be any border security. We’ve seen this movie before. Washington will spend more energy coming up with a hundred excuses why they can’t secure the border than it would take to actually do so. No amnesty. If you’re illegal, go home and go to the back of the line, whether you entered illegally or overstayed a visa. No whining, no excuses.

‘Comprehensive’ immigration ‘reform’, reality, and rhetoric

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Right now, the President is trying, along with Dianne Feinstein and the other usual suspects, to push legislation that would further abrogate our Second Amendment rights. Most Republicans in Congress are finding their courage, despite the bizarre sideshow that is Piers Morgan, and standing up to this to one degree or another.

But we’re not here to talk about that, at least not this evening. No, the focus is on the subject of the other great push about to be made by (most) Democrats and (some) Republicans, ‘comprehensive immigration reform’, aka AMNESTY. Yes, kids, that’s what it’s called when you reward people for illegal behavior. And make no mistake, when you let people who have entered the United States illegally stay, pay their kids’ college tuition, and make it possible for them to gain citizenship, you are REWARDING that behavior. The President will team up with Democrats and RINOs in Congress like John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who tried this in 2006-07 and were shocked when the people rose up and made it clear they weren’t having any of this. Now, the usual suspects say, the political environment is different. Republicans supposedly need to bow down, give up their principles, and pursue the Hispanic vote by offering them special privileges, free stuff, and amnesty, as the “Cafe Con Leche Republicans” insist.

Like hell. As I stated after the election, the LAST thing we need to be doing is rolling over. This will allow the left to import more third-world collectivists who will vote for the nanny state and handouts and strain our health care system and infrastructure even more. These people also may not share our culture. Libertarians might be apoplectic at this idea, and that’s fine. What they’re missing, as Ilana Mercer put it, is the civilizational aspect to libertarianism. In their rush to see who score the highest on libertarian purity tests, they’re missing the place where purist neolibertarian philosophy crumbles when it comes into contact with reality. Immigration is one such area. Aaron Alghawi, a national board member of the Republican Liberty Caucus, has come up with what I consider a reasonable starting point for a pro-liberty immigration platform. It’s lacking in two areas. Firstly, we need to secure the border in a serious and sustained fashion. A wall/fence with vehicle barriers and geophones from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico. No excuses. Second, everyone here illegally should have to go ‘home’ and get in line behind everyone else and apply for re-entry. Again, no excuses. No one gets treated any better or worse, and no one gets a break because of whom they know. This will meet with opposition from many libertarians, including much of the RLC national leadership. So be it. As the Virginia state chair of the RLC, I’ll fight to see such a platform on this issue adopted at our national convention in a few months.

Purist libertarians will call me racist, classist, nativist, etc. That’s fine. Bring it on. I’m ready. My policy prescriptions here are buttressed by reality. Rhetoric doesn’t scare me, whether it comes from the left, or from libertarians of one stripe or another. As such, I proclaim it is the duty of every patriot to prevent ANY immigration policy from becoming law that gives amnesty, retards enforcement of existing immigration law, or gives out privileges or rewards to those here illegally. And please… stop referring to illegal aliens as ‘undocumented’ and the like. It just makes you look cowardly, and worse, politically correct.

And when terrorists target those sites… (With updated thought)

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…and kill innocent civilians who work there, pollute the environs and disrupt the economies of these nations, Julian Assange will claim it wasn’t his fault.


A long list of key facilities around the world that the US describes as vital to its national security has been released by Wikileaks.

In February 2009 the State Department asked all US missions abroad to list all installations whose loss could critically affect US national security.

The list includes pipelines, communication and transport hubs.

Several UK sites are listed, including cable locations, satellite sites and BAE Systems plants.

Burn in hell, Assange. The blood of the people who will be targeted by terrorist scum is on your hands, and I sincerely hope when you go to hell, you take the longest, most painful road possible.

UPDATE: I just had an interesting thought based on the statement of Ben Laurie, a London-based computer security expert who has advised WikiLeaks.

“Julian’s a smart guy and this is an interesting tactic. He will hope it deters anyone from acting against him.”

My thought is that dear Julian has now brought down the psychotic rage of every sociopathic camel fucker onto himself.

Think about it! Assange has warned that if anything happens to him, the key to the encryption of the insurance file will be released, and thousands of unredacted, secret files will hit the Intertubez.  OK.  So how many al Qaida and Taliban assholes out there would give their hairy little nutsacks to see these files, and how many of them wouldn’t hesitate to eviscerate Assange and throw his worthless carcass into a river somewhere just so the encryption can be unlocked and the secrets contained in those files released?

As far as I can see, any enemy of America should now be ready to take Assange out just to see those documents released – documents that could ostensibly help the terrorists harm America.  Is dear Julian ready to be a martyr for the cause?

I hope so.

Please, touch that junk!

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The stories of TSA abuse are rolling in, faster than a fat guy on a moped! 

A traveler with a urostomy bag claims an abusive TSA freak busted the seal on his bag , leaving him humiliated and covered in urine.

Another traveler shows a video of a young boy groped by a TSA goon.

I’ve already mentioned the TSA dumbass who confiscated nail clippers from an armed Guardsman, because he could ostensibly take over the plane with them.

So given the fact that Homeland Nazi Napolitano refuses to even consider rolling back the Gestapo, here you go.

http://videos.mediaite.com/embed/player/LL4ZK7251WHGNYTS

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