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Lazenby: Liberty Vs. Security A “False Dilemma”

If you have placed a call or sent an email in the last 6-7 years, there is a high probability that the United States government knows about it. After it was revealed yesterday that The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) is collecting the telephone records of millions of Verizon Communications customers under a…

If you have placed a call or sent an email in the last 6-7 years, there is a high probability that the United States government knows about it. After it was revealed yesterday that The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) is collecting the telephone records of millions of Verizon Communications customers under a secret court order issued in April, news broke that the NSA and FBI have been mining data from nine U.S. internet companies – by tapping directly into their servers – in a broad secret program code named PRISM in order to monitor web traffic and collect data in real time. The existence of this program had not been made public until now, and was leaked to the media by a “disgruntled intelligence official.”

Detailing this operation, The Washington Post and The (U.K.) Guardian obtained copies of a top secret powerpoint presentation which was supposedly used to train intelligence operatives on the capabilities of the program. Among the data collected, which varies by provider, is email, chat services, videos, photos, stored data, file transfers, video conferencing, and personal log-ins. The nine internet providers that are cooperating with the program, according to the documents, are Facebook, Yahoo, YouTube, Google, Skype, AOL, Paltalk, Microsoft, and Apple.

It should be noted that Apple resisted participating in the program until after the death of Steve Jobs in October, 2011. Late Thursday, some of those named companies responded, insisting that they don’t provide the government with direct access to their servers.

The National intelligence community is outraged by this disclosure, which it says reveals some of the most sensitive secrets in the American counter-terror data operation. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper defended the program in a statement last night, saying “Information collected under this program is among the most valuable foreign intelligence information we collect.”

He added, “The unauthorized disclosure of information about this important and entirely legal program is reprehensible.” Clapper also insisted that there were numerous inaccuracies in reported about PRISM by The Post and The Guardian, but he did not specify what those inaccuracies were.

The PRISM program is authorized under the Protect America Act of 2007 and the FISA Amendments Acts of 2008, which were launched in the wake of criticism of President George W. Bush’s warrantless domestic surveillance program and were designed to quell that criticism by establishing “a procedure for authorizing certain acquisitions of foreign intelligence, and for other purposes.” The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 also gave immunity from any federal or civil action against individuals and private companies that cooperated voluntarily with U.S. intelligence collection.

In effect, the government is “encouraging” internet providers to comply with its requests to mine data by telling those providers that they will not be on the hook for facilitating terror-related communications. In surveillance and law enforcement activities, that’s more of a stick than a carrot.

The Washington Post article revealed that between 2004 and 2007, “Bush administration lawyers persuaded federal FISA judges to issue surveillance orders in a fundamentally new form. Until then the government had to show probable cause that a particular ‘target’ and ‘facility’ were both connected to terrorism or espionage. In four new orders, which remain classified, the court defined massive data sets as ‘facilities’ and agreed to certify periodically that the government had reasonable procedures in place to minimize collection of ‘U.S. persons’ data without a warrant.”

Accordingly, an unnamed senior administration official said the PRISM program “Involves extensive procedures, specifically approved by the (FISA) court, the ensure that only non-U.S. persons outside the U.S. are targeted.” Based on the PRISM Powerpoint slides, however, intelligence analysts use search terms that are designed to produce “at least 51 percent confidence” in a target’s “foreign-ness.”

Thus, there is a 49 percent chance that non-foreign targets will be subjected to this information gathering. That means U.S. citizens who are not suspected of terrorist activities can easily be caught up in this national security dragnet, having their personal information mined without a warrant as to the specific nature of what they are personally accused of – because they aren’t accused of doing anything illegal at all. That’s hardly reassuring and is a gross violation of Americans’ Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.

These programs began under former president George W. Bush, but they have been continued and expanded under President Barack Obama. In December 2012, President Obama signed an extension of the FISA Amendment Acts, which were set to expire at the end of last year. In fact, the slides obtained by the media describe PRISM as the leading source of raw intelligence in the President’s daily intelligence briefing. PRISM data was cited 1477 times as a part of those briefings in 2012 alone.

Those who were critical of the Bush administration’s intelligence-gathering policies should be just as critical of those adopted by the Obama administration. Acting within the scope of FISA does not make the Obama administration’s actions any less of an infringement on civil liberties. The laws under which PRISM is authorized present an extremely troubling challenge to Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights in the name of national security. Every time FISA comes up for reauthorization, Congress is presented with a chance to act on the side of liberty. Thus far, it has chosen not to do so.

It is time for American citizens to stop accepting the false dilemma between liberty and security that is presented to us by our government. It is time to demand that our elected representatives stop voting to reauthorize laws that render our Fourth Amendment rights meaningless. If we continue to allow ourselves to be spied upon in this manner then we are, indeed, “One Nation, Under Surveillance,” and we are complicit in our own descent into a security state governed not by the principles of freedom, but by the specter of fear.

amy lazenby

Amy Lazenby is the associate opinion editor at FITSNews. She is a wife, mother of three and small business owner with her husband who splits her time between South Carolina and Georgia. Follow her on Twitter @Mrs_Laz.

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88 comments

jimlewisowb June 7, 2013 at 12:11 pm

As a U.S. Senator from Illinois in 2007, Barack Obama blasted President George W. Bush for sweeping surveillance of Americans in the name of battling terrorism —

Then, Obama called it “a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we demand.”

“I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our Constitution and our freedom,” he said in a speech then. “No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient. That is not who we are. And it is not what is necessary to defeat the terrorists.”

Looks like the bastard woke up one morning with a little fuzz under his nose

Reply
Vanguard16 June 7, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Looks like a guy on the outside thinks one thing but when he gets on the inside, he see the whole picture?? You fail to realize that Legislators and Senators do not necessarily have top secret clearance!!

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Frank Pytel June 7, 2013 at 1:05 pm

As a citizen of this country you have top secret clearance. There is no constitutional authority to lie about or keep secret any thing the government knows from its citizens. For the people, BY THE PEOPLE.

That being said I was quite content to allow the military to keep its secrets for the safety of the country. Clearly that needs to change now.

Reply
shifty henry June 8, 2013 at 11:50 am

Frank: Here again, this would be a good topic for discussion.

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Frank Pytel June 8, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Absolutely Henry;
If you’re in Cola near harbison I’m getting ready to finish up the day at the office. Anyone else? Anyone? Anyone? Ale House??

jimlewisowb June 7, 2013 at 3:56 pm

The quotes are his words. In ’07 he had a pretty good grip on what was going on. The fact he may not have had the “whole” picture makes today’s revelations even more disturbing in that after getting into the Oval Office he hopefully was given full disclosure of what was taking place and he chose the security we demand over the liberties we cherish and used to have

Of course there is another scenario

Obama has never been fully briefed on any of these activities

Reply
shifty henry June 8, 2013 at 11:48 am

Vanguard: There has been discussions in the past about vetting senators and congressmen before letting them be official candidates for office. This would be a good discussion topic for Fitsnews. For example, how do you keep a traitor from getting elected?

Reply
jimlewisowb June 7, 2013 at 12:11 pm

As a U.S. Senator from Illinois in 2007, Barack Obama blasted President George W. Bush for sweeping surveillance of Americans in the name of battling terrorism —

Then, Obama called it “a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we demand.”

“I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our Constitution and our freedom,” he said in a speech then. “No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient. That is not who we are. And it is not what is necessary to defeat the terrorists.”

Looks like the bastard woke up one morning with a little fuzz under his nose

Reply
Vanguard16 June 7, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Looks like a guy on the outside thinks one thing but when he gets on the inside, he see the whole picture?? You fail to realize that Legislators and Senators do not necessarily have top secret clearance!!

Reply
Frank Pytel June 7, 2013 at 1:05 pm

As a citizen of this country you have top secret clearance. There is no constitutional authority to lie about or keep secret any thing the government knows from its citizens. For the people, BY THE PEOPLE.

That being said I was quite content to allow the military to keep its secrets for the safety of the country. Clearly that might need to change now.

Reply
shifty henry June 8, 2013 at 11:50 am

Frank: Here again, this would be a good topic for discussion.

Reply
Frank Pytel June 8, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Absolutely Henry;
If you’re in Cola near harbison I’m getting ready to finish up the day at the office. Anyone else? Anyone? Anyone? Ale House??

jimlewisowb June 7, 2013 at 3:56 pm

The quotes are his words. In ’07 he had a pretty good grip on what was going on. The fact he may not have had the “whole” picture makes today’s revelations even more disturbing in that after getting into the Oval Office he hopefully was given full disclosure of what was taking place and he chose the security we demand over the liberties we cherish and used to have

Of course there is another scenario

Obama has never been fully briefed on any of these activities

Reply
shifty henry June 8, 2013 at 11:48 am

Vanguard: There has been discussions in the past about vetting senators and congressmen before letting them be official candidates for office. This would be a good discussion topic for Fitsnews. For example, how do you keep a traitor from getting elected?

Reply
Al Franken June 7, 2013 at 12:34 pm

What the fuck did people think would happen? You were warned years and just laid down.

Reply
Toxic Shock June 7, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Yes, it appears Bush was a “Freedom Hater” as well…

Reply
GrandTango June 7, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Bush did NOTHING like Obama is doing. You’re a simple-minded IDIOT to believe that…and/or a LIAR trying to sell it…

Bush loved the country and the people. His actions indicated that…Obama hates America, except for the Gestapo-minded who want to rule w/ the same ideology as his…

Reply
Junkie Kidd June 7, 2013 at 1:14 pm

You don’t think abuses of The Patriot Act under bush wasn’t used? You may want to find yourself a fucking search engine. I don’t require a partisian political slant to see there’s no big difference between the two.

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Al Franken June 7, 2013 at 12:34 pm

What the fuck did people think would happen? You were warned years and just laid down.

Reply
Toxic Shock June 7, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Yes, it appears Bush was a “Freedom Hater” as well…

Reply
GrandTango June 7, 2013 at 1:00 pm

It’s real simple. Obama is employing Communist tactics to maintain power to impose punitive, government-elite policies…
If you cannot admit that…anything you say is WORTHLESS…
Get rid of Obama, and get a non-corrupt administration, that works for the American people…and you have nothing to worry about…
We are now paying for electing a dictator who thinks anything he does is OK…

Reply
Sex Wax June 7, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Obama just joined the party and threw more sticks in the fire, Dumbass.

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GrandTango June 7, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Nice Talking Point fro the Kooks in the Leftwing…But Bush was not on the side of the Terrorist Muslim Brotherhood, or any of our enemies. He did not want to spy on returning soliders…and Bush NEVER targeted political enemies w? the IRS…

Obama is acting like a Communist dictator…

You’re full of crap trying to peddle your “Blame Bush” story…

Reply
Sex Wax June 7, 2013 at 1:44 pm

You’re going to tell me The Bush family never hung out in Saudi Arabia where the use of capital punishment is based on Sharia (or Islamic law)?

Reply
Nurse Perry June 7, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Now you’ve done it! Big Boy might stroke out…

GrandTango June 7, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Remember: Bush Fought Islamic Terrorism…You and your guy Hate him for it…and your guy is in bed with them…

Face it: Obama will do anything against his enemies…And his enemies are non-leftist Americans…

Goober June 7, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Wrong again…I don’t believe the OWS crowd was rightwing radicals…the same time the NDAA bill at the time was being written up.

Smirks June 7, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Dude, he worships the ground Dubya walked on. BUSH DYNASTY IS BEST DYNASTY, DEAR LEADER BRING GREAT HONOR TO AMERICA!

Sex Wax June 7, 2013 at 2:50 pm

No doubt…funny he’s the only one defending Bush, but I see no signs of anyone defending Obama on this matter but Graham…

Agent Smith June 7, 2013 at 1:28 pm

You have choices when it comes to the liberty vs. security debate.

They just happen to be the choices we in government think are best for you.

Reply
Agent Smith June 7, 2013 at 1:28 pm

You have choices when it comes to the liberty vs. security debate.

They just happen to be the choices we in government think are best for you.

Reply
GrandTango June 7, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Thank GOD for the GOP Congress. That’s all we have between us and a tyrannical dictatorship…

Reply
So June 7, 2013 at 1:36 pm

The GOP congress approved this program, genius.

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Toxic Shock June 7, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Nice try…ask yourself who wrote and passed these laws.

Reply
GrandTango June 7, 2013 at 2:06 pm

The laws are not the problem..it’s the Obama-GESTAPO collecting information against his enemies…That’s the problem…along w/ drones and idiots who do not understand that…

Reply
So June 7, 2013 at 2:10 pm

The administration is using those laws to collect that information. We really can’t make it any clearer for you.

Reply
GrandTango June 7, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Any authority can pervert and abuse the law. Obama is corrupt. That is THE PROBLEM. And failure to admit what he, and you, are…exacerbates it…

shifty henry June 8, 2013 at 11:41 am

OK, then – tell us your plans to halt these abuses of power. I’ll check back on this later.

shifty henry June 8, 2013 at 10:08 pm

Well, I gave you 10 hours to give me a clue — still waiting, tiktok-tiktok-tiktok…

Toxic Shock June 7, 2013 at 2:13 pm

The laws are not the problem? You really said that?

Reply
Smirks June 7, 2013 at 2:28 pm

lol… The “GOP Congress” gave him indefinite detention. You’re an absolute moron.

Reply
CorruptionInColumbia June 7, 2013 at 4:37 pm

Yeah, thank God for people like Lindsey Graham, who authors and instigates a lot of this shit, or for people like Jim DeMint, who voted “Yes” for everything like it that was put in front of him, including Patriot Act renewals.

Reply
Simple Simon June 8, 2013 at 8:39 am

And Demint is a Fits hero.Yet he and the rest of the Republicans here are “appalled” by all this?Their hatred of Obama is such that even when he supports a policy with which they agree,they switch their view of the policy.

Their “claim” that they didnt “mean” for it all to go this far ring hollow.Indeed,perhaps Obama should adopt a new tactic.

Support a noted Republican program,i.e., tax cuts for millionaires and watch them fall all over themselves claiming they are “appalled” and that they really want to increase their taxes!

Putrid,sickening hypocrisy.

Reply
Amy Brandstadter Lazenby June 8, 2013 at 4:16 pm

Hi, Simple.
Will Folks didn’t write this piece; I did. I do not support Jim DeMint. I do support tax cuts for millionaires. I voted for Barack Obama – twice. I am deeply disappointed in Obama’s divergence from what he said about security v. liberty in ’07 (quoted by Jim Lewis above) and what is occurring in his administration today. I hope that clears some things up for you.
ABL

Reply
The Colonel June 7, 2013 at 1:54 pm

We’ve known about the capability for years, we’ve known that they were capturing foriegn calls for years and had reason to believe they were monitoring all calls. Echelon has been a reoccurring theme amongst conspiracy theorist for quite a while.

This is just the tip of the old iceberg. Anyone who believes they are just collecting metadata is deluded. Anyone who believes they are not reviewing the content of every call is deluded.
They may not have a person listening to every call but you can bet all email and phone calls are filtered via the ginormous computers NSA is installing. The systems looks for prowords (bomb, explosive, kill sex, drugs rock and roll…), specific file types and origin / destination and flags the call or email for review if somethng that trips its triggerr pops up.
It ain’t rocket science, it isn’t even paticularly complex computer science.
Face it folks (and Folks) Big Brother is alive and well.

Reply
Frank Pytel June 7, 2013 at 2:11 pm

And not jokingly, counting the freckles on your butt from space.

Reply
shifty henry June 8, 2013 at 11:38 am

or counting the freckles on Katherine Dennis’ ass…

Reply
Frank Pytel June 8, 2013 at 12:32 pm

OOOOHHHHhhhhhYYYEEEAaaaahhh

Reply
shifty henry June 8, 2013 at 11:37 am

Colonel: The elderly lady who received a letter from a 3-letter agency warning her not to mention the name of a location in a foreign country gave me an update. She had mentioned this location in an email to an out-of-state friend who, for some reason, had forwarded it to a newspaper reporter who obviously was having his emails monitored. The “innocent” comment she made was that she believed a terrible thing was going to happen in that area which, at the time, was not even in the news. Several months later the US attacked it and took control. Apparently the US mission was on a ready-to-go status. This was several years ago, and she is still nervous. She also had no information or basis to say what she did. It was just a passing comment to her friend.

Reply
The Colonel (R) June 7, 2013 at 1:54 pm

We’ve known about the capability for years, we’ve known that they were capturing foriegn calls for years and had reason to believe they were monitoring all calls. Echelon has been a reoccurring theme amongst conspiracy theorist for quite a while.

This is just the tip of the old iceberg. Anyone who believes they are just collecting metadata is deluded. Anyone who believes they are not reviewing the content of every call is deluded.
They may not have a person listening to every call but you can bet all email and phone calls are filtered via the ginormous computers NSA is installing. The systems looks for prowords (bomb, explosive, kill sex, drugs rock and roll…), specific file types and origin / destination and flags the call or email for review if somethng that trips its triggerr pops up.
It ain’t rocket science, it isn’t even paticularly complex computer science.
Face it folks (and Folks) Big Brother is alive and well.

Reply
Frank Pytel June 7, 2013 at 2:11 pm

And not jokingly, counting the freckles on your butt from space.

Reply
shifty henry June 8, 2013 at 11:38 am

or counting the freckles on Katherine Dennis’ ass…

Reply
Frank Pytel June 8, 2013 at 12:32 pm

OOOOHHHHhhhhhYYYEEEAaaaahhh

Reply
shifty henry June 8, 2013 at 11:37 am

Colonel: The elderly lady who received a letter from a 3-letter agency warning her not to mention the name of a location in a foreign country gave me an update. She had mentioned this location in an email to an out-of-state friend who, for some reason, had forwarded it to a newspaper reporter who obviously was having his emails monitored. The “innocent” comment she made was that she believed a terrible thing was going to happen in that area which, at the time, was not even in the news. Several months later the US attacked it and took control. Apparently the US mission was on a ready-to-go status. This was several years ago, and she is still nervous. She also had no information or basis to say what she did. It was just a passing comment to her friend.

Reply
I'llBeYourHuckleberry June 7, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Good article (again) on this issue Amy! I’m appalled that there hasn’t been any sort of real backlash to all the new information that has been presented to the American people this week. It’s just hard to believe how far we have fallen in such a short amount of time.

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I'llBeYourHuckleberry June 7, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Good article (again) on this issue Amy! I’m appalled that there hasn’t been any sort of real backlash to all the new information that has been presented to the American people this week. It’s just hard to believe how far we have fallen in such a short amount of time.

Reply
GrandTango June 7, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Until liberals can be honest w/ themselves, and admit who they are, and what they want to do, any debate is meaningless…

It’s like a philandering husband at a marriage counselor. You have to confess, repent and make a conscious effort to stop cheating, or the indiscretion will kill the marriage…

The Obama Administration is a disease on our society. He will be terminal if he is not stopped by just and freedom-respecting people. Admitting that is step one. But based on the track record of the left, I have very little hope.

Reply
9" June 7, 2013 at 4:31 pm Reply
9" June 7, 2013 at 4:31 pm Reply
CorruptionInColumbia June 7, 2013 at 4:36 pm

For God’s sake FITS, please do something with this comment section!!!! Break it up into pages or something. It sucks for some of us that we can’t read a thread once it gets past a certain number of posts in length. PLEASE!!!!!!!

Reply
sweepin June 7, 2013 at 8:57 pm

You need a technology upgrade.

Reply
CorruptionInColumbia June 7, 2013 at 4:36 pm

For God’s sake FITS, please do something with this comment section!!!! Break it up into pages or something. It sucks for some of us that we can’t read a thread once it gets past a certain number of posts in length. PLEASE!!!!!!!

Reply
sweepin June 7, 2013 at 8:57 pm

You need a technology upgrade.

Reply
Same ol' Same ol' June 7, 2013 at 10:04 pm

Did you actually write this or was it copied from another web site/source?

Reply
Same ol' Same ol' June 7, 2013 at 10:04 pm

Did you actually write this or was it copied from another web site/source?

Reply
unclewillie1 June 8, 2013 at 8:42 am

“Fear is the mind killer.” Check your amygdala at the door.

Reply
unclewillie1 June 8, 2013 at 8:42 am

“Fear is the mind killer.” Check your amygdala at the door.

Reply
shifty henry June 8, 2013 at 11:42 am

What’s the problem with Disqus today – it’s jumping all over the place….

Reply
Frank Pytel June 8, 2013 at 1:38 pm

NSA must be doing some major downloads.

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shifty henry June 8, 2013 at 11:42 am

What’s the problem with Disqus today – it’s jumping all over the place….

Reply
Frank Pytel June 8, 2013 at 1:38 pm

NSA must be doing some major downloads.

Reply

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