NSA has 20 billion records of Americans’ emails and telephone calls
When it rains, it pours.
Not only do we know that the United States government spies on its fellow citizens, but also on the rest of the world. Not only do we know that the National Security Agency (NSA) collects information from emails and telephone calls, but also that it does so together with other governments, such as the British. Not only do we know that we are being listened to and followed on the Internet, but also that telecommunication and media companies are fully collaborating with the spies to turn society into a global surveillance state.
Not only have we found out that the NSA uses back doors to access personal information, but also that media companies allow spooks to save and take away loads of information on Internet users indiscriminately. Not only is the United States government spying on everyone, but it is keeping some 20 billion records on Americans alone and millions of others on Internet users across the world.
In an interview with the Washington Times, a former NSA technician, William Binney, accuses the agency of holding billions of phone records and emails of Americans. Now, Edward Snowden has blown the lid on the NSA’s practices for spying on anyone who uses the Internet.
Although very few know the details on digital espionage operations conducted from behind the tinted glass building of the National Security Agency, in the outskirts of Washington, the latest revelations have proven essential when trying to understand how the US government conducts its illegal surveillance program, from which, according to Binney, we have seen only the “tip of iceberg “.
“This is where you really know the secrets,” said a diplomat last year when referring the massive NSA building outside Washington D.C. It is precisely there where another whistleblower, former private Bradley Manning is being judged for leaking secret materials to WikiLeaks.
The soldier accused of the biggest leak of classified information in history, is on trial in a military base that is the heart of the U.S. Cyber ??Intelligence hub.
After the attacks of September 11, 2001 the NSA, an arm of the Pentagon, employed more than 37,000 civilian and military employees, who were given broad powers to monitor communications within and outside the United States and to filter mountains of data illegally with the supposed intention to “prevent terrorist attacks”.
Most of the rules governing the most obscure federal agency are mainly secret and are known in detail by a handful of aides to President Barack Obama, lawmakers (some of whom have requested information that has been denied ) and judges in Washington.
The very existence of the NSA, created in 1952 by President Harry Truman, was hidden from the public for over 20 years, and despite the arrival of Obama and his calls for transparency, the powers given to individuals such as Edward Snowden, remain as large now as during the years of George W. Bush.
Since 2008, when large bipartisan support in Congress amended the law to monitor foreign communications to create FISA, the government has taken advantage of newly relaxed rules to, without judicial control, openly spy on Americans and non-Americans throughout the world. Through these new rules, not laws, the NSA has created the most complex known digital data analysis system.
So much so, that this fall the NSA expects to be fully operating from its new facility in the Utah desert that has cost billions of dollars and would process and store an amount of data more than five times the entire annual internet traffic produced worldwide.
Last summer, Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the NSA since 2005, visited the most important meeting of U.S. hackers. There, he called “absurd” the rumors that the NSA had records of 260 million people and reminded attendants that their work was limited to “foreign intelligence”. As we now know, people like Alexander, President Barack Obama and others who defend the unconstitutional spying program have indeed lied to the public.
William Binney, former technical director of the NSA, blasted those statements and said that the agency has the capacity of running and collecting, without judicial supervision, information from social networks, emails and phone records both outside and inside the USA.
“I left the NSA because they started spying on everyone in the country,” he said last summer in an interview with WIRED magazine. According to recent media revelations, the NSA collects daily “metadata” from phone calls in the U.S., including numbers, time and location of the calls, an action which is allowed by a group of judges known as the FISA Court. The “top secret” PRISM program, recently identified by Edward Snowden, allows direct access to the servers from nine of the largest Internet companies, including Microsoft, Google and Apple, to monitor messages, videos or pictures abroad.
In an interview this weekend with the newspaper Washington Times, Binney said that these leaks are just the “tip of the iceberg”, and that the NSA has up to 20,000 million telephone records and emails from Americans alone. Despite the secrecy, both Obama and congressional Democrats and Republicans continue to grant the NSA a wide range of actions that the hot intelligence heads say are essential to prevent against terrorist attacks.
Many people like you read and support The Real Agenda News’ independent, journalism than ever before. Different from other news organisations, we keep our journalism accessible to all.
The Real Agenda News is independent. Our journalism is free from commercial, religious or political bias. No one edits our editor. No one steers our opinion. Editorial independence is what makes our journalism different at a time when factual, honest reporting is lacking elsewhere.
In exchange for this, we simply ask that you read, like and share all articles. This support enables us to keep working as we do.
Luis R. Miranda is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief at The Real Agenda. His career spans over 19 years and almost every form of news media. He attended Montclair State University's School of Broadcasting and also obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Universidad Latina de Costa Rica. Luis speaks English, Spanish Portuguese and Italian.