June 12, 2013

To the millions of Americans who go through their day blindly trusting that Obama is out there defending their Constitutional rights, Edward Snowden looks like Public Enemy #1, a traitor who just made it a lot easier for terrorists to invade our country. To the millions of Americans who don’t wear blinders or rose colored glasses, Snowden looks like a hero. But to Obama, Snowden looks like the perfect Straw Man.

If you truly believe that Edward Snowden revealed some deep, dark State secret when he told the world that the NSA was spying on our phone and Internet communications then you’re not paying attention. Law enforcement officials have been tapping phone lines since telephones were first invented.

In 1928 the Supreme Court finally set a precedent when it ruled that telephone eavesdropping for law enforcement purposes was legal because there was no physical invasion of privacy. In 1963, U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy authorized the FBI to tap the phone lines of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. In 1969 President Richard Nixon approved dozens of legal wiretaps, including the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel.

In 1978, Congress passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) which prescribes procedures for the physical and electronic surveillance and collection of “foreign intelligence information” between “foreign powers” and “agents of foreign powers” (which may include American citizens and permanent residents suspected of espionage or terrorism).

With the introduction of the Internet, the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act was passed in 1994. CALEA’s purpose was to enhance the ability of law enforcement and intelligence agencies to conduct electronic surveillance by requiring telecommunications carriers and manufacturers of telecommunications equipment modify and design their equipment, facilities, and services to ensure that they have built-in surveillance capabilities, allowing federal agencies to monitor all telephone, broadband internet, and VoIP traffic in real-time.

But in 2008, Congress amended FISA and four key provisions that were added opened the doors to unlimited abuses of power:

— Prohibits the individual states from investigating, sanctioning of, or requiring disclosure by complicit telecoms or other persons.

— Permits the government not to keep records of searches, and destroy existing records.

— Protects telecommunications companies from lawsuits for “‘past or future cooperation’ with federal law enforcement authorities.

— Allows eavesdropping in emergencies without court approval.

None of these laws or amendments are “Top Secret Information” known only to a handful of high-ranking officials. They’re all common knowledge, available to anyone interested enough to conduct a search. And FYI – then-Senator Barack Obama voted for this bill.

It should be obvious to everyone: If the government is going to go through the trouble of passing these laws, they intend to implement them. They’ve been tapping our phone lines since the 1890’s and they’ve been tapping into any and all online networks since the dawn of the Internet.

So Edward Snowden didn’t really reveal any “Top Secret” information that’s going to put our country at risk. Every single bit of information in this article so far is pulled from an online resource available to the public. You just need to be able to connect the dots.

But leading the public to believe that Snowden did commit an unforgivable act of treason has certain benefits for King Obama and his loyal administration.

In 2010, F.B.I. Director, Robert S. Mueller III, argued that the “bureau’s ability to carry out court-approved eavesdropping on suspects is “going dark” as communications technology evolves.” Pushing for stricter mandates, the Obama administration wanted to require online companies like Google, Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Microsoft, and dozens of others, to build a capacity to comply with wiretap orders into their systems.

Obama’s proposal didn’t pass, though, because the Commerce Department felt it would stifle innovation.

Up to this point, federal judges must still grant approval for warrants but networks are merely “asked” to comply. They can still say, “We’re sorry, we’re unable to access that information.”

But just last month, during all the IRS and AP uproar, the proposal was revised and it’s on its way to the White House. Under the new proposal, online networks and cell phone service providers will be required to build in a wiretapping capacity that makes it possible for law enforcement agencies to just immediately hook-up and start downloading data. They will not be “asked” to comply – they’ll be ordered. And if they don’t, they’ll face fines starting at $25,000 per day.

As pointed out by Gregory T. Nojeim of the Center for Democracy and Technology, if anything, these new mandates will make our Internet even less secure.

“I think the F.B.I.’s proposal would render Internet communications less secure and more vulnerable to hackers and identity thieves,” he said. “It would also mean that innovators who want to avoid new and expensive mandates will take their innovations abroad and develop them there, where there aren’t the same mandates.”

By criminalizing Edward Snowden for revealing information that was already available to the public, Obama has managed to distract Americans while he moves forward with his nefarious plot to eliminate the Constitution.

The only threat to national security is the threat that comes from Obama. Once all service providers and online networks have built in the wiretapping capabilities Obama is demanding it’s easy enough for anyone to tap into our private conversations – even Al Qeada. (And let’s face it – if they aren’t already tapping into our lines then they’re not paying attention, either.)

And if it also moves a few more jobs offshore and further damages the U.S. economy and job market, so much the better.

Edward Snowden is not a traitor, he simply revealed information that’s already out there. The problem is, a lot more people are paying attention now – including Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft. The big networks are now calling for greater NSA transparency. Fearing a backlash from their users, they want to be able to reveal how many national security requests they receive, why they’re being forced to comply, and what they’re being forced to turn over.

According to a June 12 article in the Guardian, “In a letter from Google to the US attorney general, Eric Holder, also published on its corporate blog, the company once again said allegations that the US government had “unfettered access to our users’ data are simply untrue”. But, the letter added, the fact that Google was not allowed to disclose requests made for information under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (Fisa) “fuel[s] that speculation”.

So Obama has to use some slight-of-hand to distract the public while he signs off on this new legislation. And what better distraction than to turn Edward Snowden into a traitorous, dancing Straw Man?

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