Relax, The NSA Snooping On You Is Perfectly Legal

Many of the people that found themselves living in Soviet America today believe that the administration overstepped its bounds when it gave the NSA permission to monitor all calls in the country made on Verizon (and likely, all other carriers) and to search anyone’s data on Google, Facebook, Skype, Yahoo, etc. But what’s more shocking than the fact that the NSA is doing it is the fact that it’s all on the up-and-up.

Can you hear me now? Then the wiretap is functioning properly.

The wiretapping is allowed by section 215 of the Patriot Act, which was the legislative overreaction to 9/11. (The feds already had all the information they needed to stop the attacks — they just hadn’t put all the pieces together yet.)  Originally, then-Senator Obama was against the KGB-like powers the bill gave to the government agencies, and in 2005, he even sponsored a bill that would’ve put an end to it all. But, in early 2006 the powers that be got to him, and he actually voted to extend the Patriot Act. In this video from his 2008 campaign, he explains why, starting at 3:15:


Long story short, he didn’t think the Patriot Act was all that bad anymore, he tried to make it better and promised to remove the illegal wiretapping via executive order, when he got to office. And so he did: now, the wiretapping still goes on, but it’s all legal. The feds secretly ask a secret court to issue a subpoena for vague “national security” reasons, and it happens. There’s Congressional-ish oversight, in that the 7% of Congressmen — those who sit on the Intelligence Committees — get biannual reports on the NSA’s actions. But, if they don’t like something, all they can do is make vague warnings because all the information they get in those reports is classified. With 93% of Congress in the dark, the rest under a gag order, and the secret court handing out blank checks, the system ensures that abuses of power can never see the light of day.

And again, it’s 100% legal: this is how terrorist wiretapping is supposed to work, under the Patriot Act. As for getting a backdoor to search all the data Google and Facebook have to offer, that’s also legal because it’s all voluntary-ish: the feds offer those companies legal immunity from lawsuits, and in return they get to snoop on everyone conversations. Let’s just hope they don’t accidentally leak more of Petraeus’ emails.

See also:

From NPR


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