Friday, October 10, 2008

NSA Listened in on Intimate American Phone Calls, Passed Around "Salacious" Bits

Some real disturbing news to report today that validates some of our most paranoid fears...such as "the government could be listening to this call."

ABC News reported yesterday that "despite pledges by President George W. Bush and American intelligence officials to the contrary, hundreds of US citizens overseas have been eavesdropped on as they called friends and family back home." The allegations come from "two former military intercept officers assigned to the National Security Agency" and "include claims that U.S. spies routinely listened in on intimate conversations and sometimes shared the recordings with each other."

The Washington Post noted today that "at least some of the snooping was done under relaxed eavesdropping rules approved by the Bush administration to facilitate spying on terrorists." According to the ABC report, NSA employees "routinely shared salacious or tantalizing phone calls that had been intercepted, alerting office mates to certain time codes of 'cuts' that were available on each operator's computer." The chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, Sen. John Rockefeller (D-WV), called the accusations "extremely disturbing" and said he may hold hearings.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

U.S. intelligence analysts eavesdropped on personal calls between Americans overseas and their families back home and monitored the communications of workers with the Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations, according to two military linguists involved in U.S. surveillance programs.


They also said they were encouraged to continue monitoring calls of aid workers and other personnel stationed in the Middle East even when it was clear the callers had no ties to terrorists or posed no threat to U.S. interests.


Congress overhauled the foreign intelligence surveillance laws this year to give the government greater latitude to track targets overseas. But the law still imposes strict protections for U.S. citizens abroad and requires the government to delete or block information that isn't for valid intelligence purposes.

Click here to read more.

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