The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts
Story 1: Nobody Does It Better Spying On People of The World — National Security Agency — Turnkey Tyranny Turned On The American People — NSA Budget $100 Billion Plus Paid By The American People — The Patriot Act Expires On June 1, 2015 — Both Republican and Democratic Parties Will Renew It! — Secret Security Surveillance State — Alive, Well and Growing — Videos
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Carly Simon – Nobody Does It Better
Appellate Court Rules NSA’s Phone Data Collection Is Illegal
McConnell to Push for Pure PATRIOT Act Extension
INTERVIEW with NSA WHISTLEBLOWER: Confirm EVERYONE in US is under VIRTUAL SURVEILLANCE since 9/11
What You Didn’t Know About The NSA Bluffdale Spy Center – From Former NSA Director Bill Binney
Through a PRISM, Darkly – Everything we know about NSA spying [30c3]
30c3 keynote with Glenn Greenwald [30c3]
FISA Court: Telecoms okay with NSA data collection
US Supreme Court refuses to let Americans challenge FISA eavesdropping law
FISA Section 215: A Debate about Its Legality, Usefulness and Civil Liberties
The creepy spying power buried in the Patriot Act
Real Talk: The Patriot Act
Patriot Act Powers – GOP Fights To Renew NSA Surveillance Law – Fox & Friends
Marco Rubio blasts colleagues over renewing NSA spying powers
Rand Paul Stalling Patriot Act Extension!
The Obama Administration’s War on Whistleblowers–7 Whistleblowers speak at News Conference 04-27-15
Top NSA Whistleblower William Binney Exposes the Tyranny 3/20/15
NSA Whistleblower: Everyone in US under virtual surveillance, all info stored, no matter the post
Former NSA Head Exposes Agency’s Real Crimes
NSA Whistleblower William Binney: The Future of FREEDOM
‘NSA owns entire network anywhere in the world’ – whistleblower William Binney
NSA Whistle-Blower Tells All: The Program | Op-Docs | The New York Times
William Binney – The Government is Profiling You (The NSA is Spying on You)
Alleged NSA whistleblower warns of “turnkey tyranny” in U.S.
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: ‘I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things’
Glenn Greenwald: The NSA Can “Literally Watch Every Keystroke You Make”
NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake Prevails in Unprecedented Obama Admin Crackdown
NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake speaks at National Press Club – March 15, 2013
29C3 Panel: Jesselyn Radack, Thomas Drake, William Binney on whistleblowing and surveillance
Everything We Know About NSA Spying: “Through a PRISM, Darkly” – Kurt Opsahl at CCC
FBI’s Patriot Act Abuse of National Security Letters and illegal NSA spying
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Government Surveillance (HBO)
The Lame Duck Show: Turn Key Tyranny Solutions
PBS Nova S36E11 The Spy Factory Full Documentary
Inside The NSA~Americas Cyber Secrets
Full Documentaries – National Security Agency Secrets – (NSA) Special Documentary
NSA can spy on 98 percent of the world
Glenn Becks “SURVEILLANCE STATE”
Glenn Greenwald on Domestic Surveillance: NSA Warrantless Wiretapping Controversy (2006)
Enemy of the State (1998) Predicts Edward Snowden’s Revelations
Enemy Of The State – The NSA Can Read The Time Off Your F**king Wristwatch!
Will Smith | Enemy of the State 1998 Movie Full HD
Ron Paul to Congress: DO NOT Extend the “PATRIOT” Act!
Congressman Ron Paul, MD – We’ve Been NeoConned
Why Shouldn’t I Work for the NSA?
(Good Will Hunting)
N.S.A. Phone Data Collection Is Illegal, Appeals Court Rules
THE COMPUTERS ARE LISTENING
HOW THE NSA CONVERTS SPOKEN WORDS INTO SEARCHABLE TEXT
Most people realize that emails and other digital communications they once considered private can now become part of their permanent record.
But even as they increasingly use apps that understand what they say, most people don’t realize that the words they speak are not so private anymore, either.
Top-secret documents from the archive of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden show the National Security Agency can now automatically recognize the content within phone calls by creating rough transcripts and phonetic representations that can be easily searched and stored.
The documents show NSA analysts celebrating the development of what they called “Google for Voice” nearly a decade ago.
Though perfect transcription of natural conversation apparently remains the Intelligence Community’s “holy grail,” the Snowden documentsdescribe extensive use of keyword searching as well as computer programs designed to analyze and “extract” the content of voice conversations, and even use sophisticated algorithms to flag conversations of interest.
The documents include vivid examples of the use of speech recognition in war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in Latin America. But they leave unclear exactly how widely the spy agency uses this ability, particularly in programs that pick up considerable amounts of conversations that include people who live in or are citizens of the United States.
Spying on international telephone calls has always been a staple of NSA surveillance, but the requirement that an actual person do the listening meant it was effectively limited to a tiny percentage of the total traffic. By leveraging advances in automated speech recognition, the NSA has entered the era of bulk listening.
And this has happened with no apparent public oversight, hearings or legislative action. Congress hasn’t shown signs of even knowing that it’s going on.
The USA Freedom Act — the surveillance reform bill that Congress is currently debating — doesn’t address the topic at all. The bill would end an NSA program that does not collect voice content: the government’s bulk collection of domestic calling data, showing who called who and for how long.
Even if becomes law, the bill would leave in place a multitude of mechanisms exposed by Snowden that scoop up vast amounts of innocent people’s text and voice communications in the U.S. and across the globe.
Civil liberty experts contacted by The Intercept said the NSA’s speech-to-text capabilities are a disturbing example of the privacy invasions that are becoming possible as our analog world transitions to a digital one.
“I think people don’t understand that the economics of surveillance have totally changed,” Jennifer Granick, civil liberties director at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, told The Intercept.
“Once you have this capability, then the question is: How will it be deployed? Can you temporarily cache all American phone calls, transcribe all the phone calls, and do text searching of the content of the calls?” she said. “It may not be what they are doing right now, but they’ll be able to do it.”
And, she asked: “How would we ever know if they change the policy?”
Indeed, NSA officials have been secretive about their ability to convert speech to text, and how widely they use it, leaving open any number of possibilities.
That secrecy is the key, Granick said. “We don’t have any idea how many innocent people are being affected, or how many of those innocent people are also Americans.”
I Can Search Against It
NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, who was trained as a voice processing crypto-linguist and worked at the agency until 2008, told The Intercept that he saw a huge push after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks to turn the massive amounts of voice communications being collected into something more useful.
Human listening was clearly not going to be the solution. “There weren’t enough ears,” he said.
The transcripts that emerged from the new systems weren’t perfect, he said. “But even if it’s not 100 percent, I can still get a lot more information. It’s far more accessible. I can search against it.”
Converting speech to text makes it easier for the NSA to see what it has collected and stored, according to Drake. “The breakthrough was being able to do it on a vast scale,” he said.
More Data, More Power, Better Performance
The Defense Department, through its Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), started funding academic and commercial research into speech recognition in the early 1970s.
What emerged were several systems to turn speech into text, all of which slowly but gradually improved as they were able to work with more data and at faster speeds.
In a brief interview, Dan Kaufman, director of DARPA’s Information Innovation Office, indicated that the government’s ability to automate transcription is still limited.
Kaufman says that automated transcription of phone conversation is “super hard,” because “there’s a lot of noise on the signal” and “it’s informal as hell.”
“I would tell you we are not very good at that,” he said.
In an ideal environment like a news broadcast, he said, “we’re getting pretty good at being able to do these types of translations.”
A 2008 document from the Snowden archive shows that transcribing news broadcasts was already working well seven years ago, using a program called Enhanced Video Text and Audio Processing:
(U//FOUO) EViTAP is a fully-automated news monitoring tool. The key feature of this Intelink-SBU-hosted tool is that it analyzes news in six languages, including Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Spanish, English, and Farsi/Persian. “How does it work?” you may ask. It integrates Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) which provides transcripts of the spoken audio. Next, machine translation of the ASR transcript translates the native language transcript to English. Voila! Technology is amazing.
A version of the system the NSA uses is now even available commercially.
Experts in speech recognition say that in the last decade or so, the pace of technological improvement has been explosive. As information storage became cheaper and more efficient, technology companies were able to store massive amounts of voice data on their servers, allowing them to continually update and improve the models. Enormous processors, tuned as “deep neural networks” that detect patterns like human brains do, produce much cleaner transcripts.
And the Snowden documents show that the same kinds of leaps forward seen in commercial speech-to-text products have also been happening in secret at the NSA, fueled by the agency’s singular access to astronomical processing power and its own vast data archives.
In fact, the NSA has been repeatedly releasing new and improved speech recognition systems for more than a decade.
The first-generation tool, which made keyword-searching of vast amounts of voice content possible, was rolled out in 2004 and code-named RHINEHART.
“Voice word search technology allows analysts to find and prioritize intercept based on its intelligence content,” says an internal 2006 NSA memo entitled “For Media Mining, the Future Is Now!”
The memo says that intelligence analysts involved in counterterrorism were able to identify terms related to bomb-making materials, like “detonator” and “hydrogen peroxide,” as well as place names like “Baghdad” or people like “Musharaf.”
RHINEHART was “designed to support both real-time searches, in which incoming data is automatically searched by a designated set of dictionaries, and retrospective searches, in which analysts can repeatedly search over months of past traffic,” the memo explains (emphasis in original).
As of 2006, RHINEHART was operating “across a wide variety of missions and languages” and was “used throughout the NSA/CSS [Central Security Service] Enterprise.”
But even then, a newer, more sophisticated product was already being rolled out by the NSA’s Human Language Technology (HLT) program office. The new system, called VoiceRT, was first introduced in Baghdad, and “designed to index and tag 1 million cuts per day.”
The goal, according to another 2006 memo, was to use voice processing technology to be able “index, tag and graph,” all intercepted communications. “Using HLT services, a single analyst will be able to sort through millions of cuts per day and focus on only the small percentage that is relevant,” the memo states.
A 2009 memo from the NSA’s British partner, GCHQ, describes how “NSA have had the BBN speech-to-text system Byblos running at Fort Meade for at least 10 years. (Initially they also had Dragon.) During this period they have invested heavily in producing their own corpora of transcribed Sigint in both American English and an increasing range of other languages.” (GCHQ also noted that it had its own small corpora of transcribed voice communications, most of which happened to be “Northern Irish accented speech.”)
VoiceRT, in turn, was surpassed a few years after its launch. According to the intelligence community’s “Black Budget” for fiscal year 2013, VoiceRT was decommissioned and replaced in 2011 and 2012, so that by 2013, NSA could operationalize a new system. This system, apparently called SPIRITFIRE, could handle more data, faster. SPIRITFIRE would be “a more robust voice processing capability based on speech-to-text keyword search and paired dialogue transcription.”
Extensive Use Abroad
Voice communications can be collected by the NSA whether they are being sent by regular phone lines, over cellular networks, or through voice-over-internet services. Previously released documents from the Snowden archive describe enormous efforts by the NSA during the last decade to get access to voice-over-internet content like Skype calls, for instance. And other documents in the archive chronicle the agency’s adjustment to the fact that an increasingly large percentage of conversations, even those that start as landline or mobile calls, end up as digitized packets flying through the same fiber-optic cables that the NSA taps so effectively for other data and voice communications.
The Snowden archive, as searched and analyzed by The Intercept, documents extensive use of speech-to-text by the NSA to search through international voice intercepts — particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Mexico and Latin America.
For example, speech-to-text was a key but previously unheralded element of the sophisticated analytical program known as the Real Time Regional Gateway (RTRG), which started in 2005 when newly appointed NSA chief Keith B. Alexander, according to the Washington Post, “wanted everything: Every Iraqi text message, phone call and e-mail that could be vacuumed up by the agency’s powerful computers.”
The Real Time Regional Gateway was credited with playing a role in “breaking up Iraqi insurgent networks and significantly reducing the monthly death toll from improvised explosive devices.” The indexing and searching of “voice cuts” was deployed to Iraq in 2006. By 2008, RTRG was operational in Afghanistan as well.
A slide from a June 2006 NSA powerpoint presentation described the role of VoiceRT:
Keyword spotting extended to Iranian intercepts as well. A 2006 memoreported that RHINEHART had been used successfully by Persian-speaking analysts who “searched for the words ‘negotiations’ or ‘America’ in their traffic, and RHINEHART located a very important call that was transcribed verbatim providing information on an important Iranian target’s discussion of the formation of a the new Iraqi government.”
According to a 2011 memo, “How is Human Language Technology (HLT) Progressing?“, NSA that year deployed “HLT Labs” to Afghanistan, NSA facilities in Texas and Georgia, and listening posts in Latin America run by the Special Collection Service, a joint NSA/CIA unit that operates out of embassies and other locations.
“Spanish is the most mature of our speech-to-text analytics,” the memo says, noting that the NSA and its Special Collections Service sites in Latin America, have had “great success searching for Spanish keywords.”
The memo offers an example from NSA Texas, where an analyst newly trained on the system used a keyword search to find previously unreported information on a target involved in drug-trafficking. In another case, an official at a Special Collection Service site in Latin America “was able to find foreign intelligence regarding a Cuban official in a fraction of the usual time.”
In a 2011 article, “Finding Nuggets — Quickly — in a Heap of Voice Collection, From Mexico to Afghanistan,” an intelligence analysis technical director from NSA Texas described the “rare life-changing instance” when he learned about human language technology, and its ability to “find the exact traffic of interest within a mass of collection.”
Analysts in Texas found the new technology a boon for spying. “From finding tunnels in Tijuana, identifying bomb threats in the streets of Mexico City, or shedding light on the shooting of US Customs officials in Potosi, Mexico, the technology did what it advertised: It accelerated the process of finding relevant intelligence when time was of the essence,” he wrote. (Emphasis in original.)
The author of the memo was also part of a team that introduced the technology to military leaders in Afghanistan. “From Kandahar to Kabul, we have traveled the country explaining NSA leaders’ vision and introducing SIGINT teams to what HLT analytics can do today and to what is still needed to make this technology a game-changing success,” the memo reads.
Extent of Domestic Use Remains Unknown
What’s less clear from the archive is how extensively this capability is used to transcribe or otherwise index and search voice conversations that primarily involve what the NSA terms “U.S. persons.”
The NSA did not answer a series of detailed questions about automated speech recognition, even though an NSA “classification guide” that is part of the Snowden archive explicitly states that “The fact that NSA/CSS has created HLT models” for speech-to-text processing as well as gender, language and voice recognition, is “UNCLASSIFIED.”
Also unclassified: The fact that the processing can sort and prioritize audio files for human linguists, and that the statistical models are regularly being improved and updated based on actual intercepts. By contrast, because they’ve been tuned using actual intercepts, the specific parameters of the systems are highly classified.
“The National Security Agency employs a variety of technologies in the course of its authorized foreign-intelligence mission,” spokesperson Vanee’ Vines wrote in an email to The Intercept. “These capabilities, operated by NSA’s dedicated professionals and overseen by multiple internal and external authorities, help to deter threats from international terrorists, human traffickers, cyber criminals, and others who seek to harm our citizens and allies.”
Vines did not respond to the specific questions about privacy protections in place related to the processing of domestic or domestic-to-international voice communications. But she wrote that “NSA always applies rigorous protections designed to safeguard the privacy not only of U.S. persons, but also of foreigners abroad, as directed by the President in January 2014.”
The presidentially appointed but independent Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) didn’t mention speech-to-text technology in itspublic reports.
“I’m not going to get into whether any program does or does not have that capability,” PCLOB chairman David Medine told The Intercept.
His board’s reports, he said, contained only information that the intelligence community agreed could be declassified.
“We went to the intelligence community and asked them to declassify a significant amount of material,” he said. The “vast majority” of that material was declassified, he said. But not all — including “facts that we thought could be declassified without compromising national security.”
Hypothetically, Medine said, the ability to turn voice into text would raise significant privacy concerns. And it would also raise questions about how the intelligence agencies “minimize” the retention and dissemination of material— particularly involving U.S. persons — that doesn’t include information they’re explicitly allowed to keep.
“Obviously it increases the ability of the government to process information from more calls,” Medine said. “It would also allow the government to listen in on more calls, which would raise more of the kind of privacy issues that the board has raised in the past.”
“I’m not saying the government does or doesn’t do it,” he said, “just that these would be the consequences.”
A New Learning Curve
Speech recognition expert Bhiksha Raj likens the current era to the early days of the Internet, when people didn’t fully realize how the things they typed would last forever.
“When I started using the Internet in the 90s, I was just posting stuff,” said Raj, an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Language Technologies Institute. “It never struck me that 20 years later I could go Google myself and pull all this up. Imagine if I posted something on alt.binaries.pictures.erotica or something like that, and now that post is going to embarrass me forever.”
The same is increasingly becoming the case with voice communication, he said. And the stakes are even higher, given that the majority of the world’s communication has historically been conducted by voice, and it has traditionally been considered a private mode of communication.
“People still aren’t realizing quite the magnitude that the problem could get to,” Raj said. “And it’s not just surveillance,” he said. “People are using voice services all the time. And where does the voice go? It’s sitting somewhere. It’s going somewhere. You’re living on trust.” He added: “Right now I don’t think you can trust anybody.”
The Need for New Rules
Kim Taipale, executive director of the Stilwell Center for Advanced Studies in Science and Technology Policy, is one of several people who tried a decade ago to get policymakers to recognize that existing surveillance law doesn’t adequately deal with new global communication networks and advanced technologies including speech recognition.
“Things aren’t ephemeral anymore,” Taipale told The Intercept. “We’re living in a world where many things that were fleeting in the analog world are now on the permanent record. The question then becomes: what are the consequences of that and what are the rules going to be to deal with those consequences?”
Realistically, Taipale said, “the ability of the government to search voice communication in bulk is one of the things we may have to live with under some circumstances going forward.” But there at least need to be “clear public rules and effective oversight to make sure that the information is only used for appropriate law-enforcement or national security purposes consistent with Constitutional principles.”
Ultimately, Taipale said, a system where computers flag suspicious voice communications could be less invasive than one where people do the listening, given the potential for human abuse and misuse to lead to privacy violations. “Automated analysis has different privacy implications,” he said.
But to Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, the distinction between a human listening and a computer listening is irrelevant in terms of privacy, possible consequences, and a chilling effect on speech.
“What people care about in the end, and what creates chilling effects in the end, are consequences,” he said. “I think that over time, people would learn to fear computerized eavesdropping just as much as they fear eavesdropping by humans, because of the consequences that it could bring.”
Indeed, computer listening could raise new concerns. One of the internal NSA memos from 2006 says an “important enhancement under development is the ability for this HLT capability to predict what intercepted data might be of interest to analysts based on the analysts’ past behavior.”
Citing Amazon’s ability to not just track but predict buyer preferences, the memo says that an NSA system designed to flag interesting intercepts “offers the promise of presenting analysts with highly enriched sorting of their traffic.”
To Phillip Rogaway, a professor of computer science at the University of California, Davis, keyword-search is probably the “least of our problems.” In an email to The Intercept, Rogaway warned that “When the NSA identifies someone as ‘interesting’ based on contemporary NLP [Natural Language Processing] methods, it might be that there is no human-understandable explanation as to why beyond: ‘his corpus of discourse resembles those of others whom we thought interesting'; or the conceptual opposite: ‘his discourse looks or sounds different from most people’s.’”
If the algorithms NSA computers use to identify threats are too complex for humans to understand, Rogaway wrote, “it will be impossible to understand the contours of the surveillance apparatus by which one is judged. All that people will be able to do is to try your best to behave just like everyone else.”
Next: The NSA’s best kept open secret.
Readers with information or insight into these programs are encouraged to get in touch, either by email, or anonymously via SecureDrop.
Documents published with this article:
- RT10 Overview (June 2006)
- For Media Mining, the Future is Now! (August 1, 2006)
- For Media Mining, the Future is Now! (conclusion) (August 7, 2006)
- Dealing With a ‘Tsunami’ of Intercept (August 29, 2006)
- Coming Soon! A Tool that Enables Non-Linguists to Analyze Foreign-TV News Programs (October 23, 2008)
- SIRDCC Speech Technology WG assessment of current STT technology (December 7, 2009)
- Classification Guide for Human Language Technology (HLT) Models(May 18, 2011)
- Finding Nuggets – Quickly – in a Heap of Voice Collection, From Mexico to Afghanistan (May 25, 2011)
- How Is Human Language (HLT) Progressing?(September 26, 2011)
- “Black Budget” — FY 2013 Congressional Budget Justification/National Intelligence Program, p. 262 (February 2012)
- “Black Budget” — FY 2013 Congressional Budget Justification/National Intelligence Program, pp. 360-364 (February 2012)
Research on the Snowden archive was conducted by Intercept researcher Andrew Fishman
Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act
EFF sued the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the 10th anniversary of the signing of the USA PATRIOT Act in October 2011 for answers about “secret interpretations” of a controversial section of the law. In June 2013, a leaked FISA court order publicly revealed that “secret interpretation”: the government was using Section 215 of the Patriot Act to collect the phone records of virtually every person in the United States.
Prior to the revelations, several senators warned that the DOJ was using Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act to support what government attorneys called a “sensitive collection program,” targeting large numbers of Americans. The language of Section 215 allows for secret court orders to collect “tangible things” that could be relevant to a government investigation – a far lower threshold and more expansive reach than a warrant based on probable cause. The list of possible “tangible things” the government can obtain is seemingly limitless, and could include everything from driver’s license records to Internet browsing patterns.
In response to a court order in our lawsuit, in September 2013, the government released hundreds of pages of previously secret FISA documents detailing the court’s interpretation of Section 215, including an opinion excoriating the NSA for misusing its mass surveillance database for years. In October 2013, the government released a second batch of documents related to Section 215, which showed, among other things, that the NSA had collected cell site location without notifying its oversight committees in Congress or the FISA court.
EFF’s lawsuit came after the DOJ failed to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on the interpretation and use of Section 215. The suit demanded records describing the types of “tangible things” that have been collected so far, the legal basis for the “sensitive collection program,” and information on the how many people have been affected by Section 215 orders.
The lawsuit remains ongoing.
Background Articles and Videos
Through a PRISM, Darkly – Everything we know about NSA spying [30c3]
Published on Dec 30, 2013
Through a PRISM, Darkly
Everything we know about NSA spying
From Stellar Wind to PRISM, Boundless Informant to EvilOlive, the NSA spying programs are shrouded in secrecy and rubber-stamped by secret opinions from a court that meets in a faraday cage. The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Kurt Opsahl explains the known facts about how the programs operate and the laws and regulations the U.S. government asserts allows the NSA to spy on you.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit civil society organization, has been litigating against the NSA spying program for the better part of a decade. EFF has collected and reviewed dozens of documents, from the original NY Times stories in 2005 and the first AT&T whistleblower in 2006, through the latest documents released in the Guardian or obtained through EFF’s Freedom of Information (government transparency) litigation. EFF attorney Kurt Opsahl’s lecture will describe how the NSA spying program works, the underlying technologies, the targeting procedures (how they decide who to focus on), the minimization procedures (how they decide which information to discard), and help you makes sense of the many code names and acronyms in the news. He will also discuss the legal and policy ramifications that have become part of the public debate following the recent disclosures, and what you can do about it. After summarizing the programs, technologies, and legal/policy framework in the lecture, the audience can ask questions.
Speaker: Kurt Opsahl
Event: 30th Chaos Communication Congress [30c3] by the Chaos Computer Club [CCC]
Location: Congress Centrum Hamburg (CCH); Am Dammtor; Marseiller Straße; 20355 Hamburg; Germany
Glenn Becks “SURVEILLANCE STATE”
Inside the NSA
Ed Snowden, NSA, and Fairy Tales
AT&T Spying On Internet Traffic
For years the National Securities Agency, has been spying on each & every keystroke. The national headquarters of AT&T is in Missouri, where ex-employees describe a secret room. The program is called “Splitter Cut-In & Test Procedure.”
NSA Whistle-Blower Tells All – Op-Docs: The Program
The filmmaker Laura Poitras profiles William Binney, a 32-year veteran of the National Security Agency who helped design a top-secret program he says is broadly collecting Americans’ personal data.
NSA Whistleblower: Everyone in US under virtual surveillance, all info stored, no matter the post
He told you so: Bill Binney talks NSA leaks
William Benny – The Government is Profiling You (The NSA is Spying on You)
‘After 9/11 NSA had secret deal with White House’
The story of Whistleblower Thomas Drake
Whistleblowers, Part Two: Thomas Drake
NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake speaks at National Press Club – March 15, 2013
Meet Edward Snowden: NSA PRISM Whistleblower
The Truth About Edward Snowden
N.S.A. Spying: Why Does It Matter?
Inside The NSA~Americas Cyber Secrets
NSA Whistleblower Exposes Obama’s Dragnet
AT&T whistleblower against immunity for Bush spy program-1/2
AT&T Whistleblower Urges Against Immunity for Telecoms in Bush Spy Program
The Senate is expected to vote on a controversial measure to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act tomorrow. The legislation would rewrite the nation’s surveillance laws and authorize the National Security Agency’s secret program of warrantless wiretapping. We speak with Mark Klein, a technician with AT&T for over twenty-two years. In 2006 Klein leaked internal AT&T documents that revealed the company had set up a secret room in its San Francisco office to give the National Security Agency access to its fiber optic internet cables.
AT&T whistleblower against immunity for Bush spy program-2/2
Enemy Of The State 1998 (1080p) (Full movie)
Background Articles and Videos
Stellar Wind was the open secret code name for four surveillance programs by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) during the presidency of George W. Bush and revealed by Thomas Tamm to The New York Times reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau. The operation was approved by President George W. Bush shortly after the September 11 attacks in 2001. Stellar Wind was succeeded during the presidency of Barack Obama by four major lines of intelligence collection in the territorial United States, together capable of spanning the full range of modern telecommunications.
The program’s activities involved data mining of a large database of the communications of American citizens, including e-mail communications, phone conversations, financial transactions, and Internet activity. William Binney, a retired Technical Leader with the NSA, discussed some of the architectural and operational elements of the program at the 2012 Chaos Communication Congress.
There were internal disputes within the Justice Department about the legality of the program, because data are collected for large numbers of people, not just the subjects of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants.
During the Bush Administration, the Stellar Wind cases were referred to by FBI agents as “pizza cases” because many seemingly suspicious cases turned out to be food takeout orders. According to Mueller, approximately 99 percent of the cases led nowhere, but “it’s that other 1% that we’ve got to be concerned about”. One of the known uses of these data were the creation of suspicious activity reports, or “SARS”, about people suspected of terrorist activities. It was one of these reports that revealed former New York governor Eliot Spitzer’s use of prostitutes, even though he was not suspected of terrorist activities.
In March 2012 Wired magazine published “The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)” talking about a vast new NSA facility in Utah and says “For the first time, a former NSA official has gone on the record to describe the program, codenamed Stellar Wind, in detail,” naming the official William Binney, a former NSA code breaker. Binney went on to say that the NSA had highly secured rooms that tap into major switches, and satellite communications at both AT&T and Verizon. The article suggested that the otherwise dispatched Stellar Wind is actually an active program.
PRISM is a clandestine national security electronic surveillance program operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) since 2007.[Notes 1] PRISM is a government codename for a data collection effort known officially as US-984XN. It is operated under the supervision of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The existence of the program was leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden and published by The Guardian and The Washington Post on June 6, 2013.
A document included in the leak indicated that the PRISM SIGAD was “the number one source of raw intelligence used for NSA analytic reports.” The President’s Daily Brief, an all-source intelligence product, cited PRISM data as a source in 1,477 items in 2012. The leaked information came to light one day after the revelation that the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had been requiring the telecommunications company Verizon to turn over to the NSA logs tracking all of its customers’ telephone calls on an ongoing daily basis.
According to the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, PRISM cannot be used to intentionally target any Americans or anyone in the United States. Clapper said a special court, Congress, and the executive branch oversee the program and extensive procedures ensure the acquisition, retention, and dissemination of data accidentally collected about Americans is kept to a minimum. Clapper issued a statement and “fact sheet” to correct what he characterized as “significant misimpressions” in articles by The Washington Post and The Guardian newspapers.
Slide showing that much of the world’s communications flow through the US
Details of information collected via PRISM
PRISM is a “Special Source Operation” in the tradition of NSA’s intelligence alliances with as many as 100 trusted U.S. companies since the 1970s. A prior program, the Terrorist Surveillance Program, was implemented in the wake of the September 11 attacks under the George W. Bush Administration but was widely criticized and had its legality questioned, because it was conducted without approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). PRISM was authorized by an order of the FISC. Its creation was enabled by the Protect America Act of 2007 under President Bush and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which legally immunized private companies that cooperated voluntarily with US intelligence collection and was renewed by Congress under President Obama in 2012 for five years until December 2017. According to The Register, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 “specifically authorizes intelligence agencies to monitor the phone, email, and other communications of U.S. citizens for up to a week without obtaining a warrant” when one of the parties is outside the U.S.
PRISM was first publicly revealed on June 6, 2013, after classified documents about the program were leaked to The Washington Post and The Guardian by American Edward Snowden. The leaked documents included 41 PowerPoint slides, four of which were published in news articles. The documents identified several technology companies as participants in the PRISM program, including (date of joining PRISM in parentheses) Microsoft (2007), Yahoo! (2008), Google (2009), Facebook (2009), Paltalk (2009), YouTube (2010), AOL (2011), Skype (2011), and Apple (2012). The speaker’s notes in the briefing document reviewed by The Washington Post indicated that “98 percent of PRISM production is based on Yahoo, Google and Microsoft.”
The slide presentation stated that much of the world’s electronic communications pass through the United States, because electronic communications data tend to follow the least expensive route rather than the most physically direct route, and the bulk of the world’s internet infrastructure is based in the United States. The presentation noted that these facts provide United States intelligence analysts with opportunities for intercepting the communications of foreign targets as their electronic data pass into or through the United States.
According to The Washington Post, the intelligence analysts search PRISM data using terms intended to identify suspicious communications of targets whom the analysts suspect with at least 51 percent confidence to not be United States citizens, but in the process, communication data of some United States citizens are also collected unintentionally. Training materials for analysts tell them that while they should periodically report such accidental collection of non-foreign United States data, “it’s nothing to worry about.”
Response from companies
The original Washington Post and Guardian articles reporting on PRISM noted that one of the leaked briefing documents said PRISM involves collection of data “directly from the servers” of several major internet services providers.
Initial Public Statements
Corporate executives of several companies identified in the leaked documents told The Guardian that they had no knowledge of the PRISM program in particular and also denied making information available to the government on the scale alleged by news reports. Statements of several of the companies named in the leaked documents were reported by TechCrunch and The Washington Post as follows:
Slide listing companies and the date that PRISM collection began
- Microsoft: “We provide customer data only when we receive a legally binding order or subpoena to do so, and never on a voluntary basis. In addition we only ever comply with orders for requests about specific accounts or identifiers. If the government has a broader voluntary national security program to gather customer data we don’t participate in it.”
- Yahoo!: “Yahoo! takes users’ privacy very seriously. We do not provide the government with direct access to our servers, systems, or network.” “Of the hundreds of millions of users we serve, an infinitesimal percentage will ever be the subject of a government data collection directive.”
- Facebook: “We do not provide any government organization with direct access to Facebook servers. When Facebook is asked for data or information about specific individuals, we carefully scrutinize any such request for compliance with all applicable laws, and provide information only to the extent required by law.”
- Google: “Google cares deeply about the security of our users’ data. We disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully. From time to time, people allege that we have created a government ‘back door’ into our systems, but Google does not have a backdoor for the government to access private user data.” “[A]ny suggestion that Google is disclosing information about our users’ Internet activity on such a scale is completely false.”
- Apple: “We have never heard of PRISM. We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers, and any government agency requesting customer data must get a court order.”
- Dropbox: “We’ve seen reports that Dropbox might be asked to participate in a government program called PRISM. We are not part of any such program and remain committed to protecting our users’ privacy.”
In response to the technology companies’ denials of the NSA being able to directly access the companies’ servers, The New York Times reported that sources had stated the NSA was gathering the surveillance data from the companies using other technical means in response to court orders for specific sets of data. The Washington Post suggested, “It is possible that the conflict between the PRISM slides and the company spokesmen is the result of imprecision on the part of the NSA author. In another classified report obtained by The Post, the arrangement is described as allowing ‘collection managers [to send] content tasking instructions directly to equipment installed at company-controlled locations,’ rather than directly to company servers.” “[I]n context, ‘direct’ is more likely to mean that the NSA is receiving data sent to them deliberately by the tech companies, as opposed to intercepting communications as they’re transmitted to some other destination.
“If these companies received an order under the FISA amendments act, they are forbidden by law from disclosing having received the order and disclosing any information about the order at all,” Mark Rumold, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told ABC News.
Slide showing two different sources of NSA data collection. The first source the fiber optic cables of the internet handled by the Upstream program and the second source the servers of major internet companies handled by PRISM.
On May 28, 2013, Google was ordered by United States District Court Judge Susan Illston to comply with a National Security Letter issued by the FBI to provide user data without a warrant. Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in an interview with VentureBeat said, “I certainly appreciate that Google put out a transparency report, but it appears that the transparency didn’t include this. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were subject to a gag order.”
The New York Times reported on June 7, 2013, that “Twitter declined to make it easier for the government. But other companies were more compliant, according to people briefed on the negotiations.” The other companies held discussions with national security personnel on how to make data available more efficiently and securely. In some cases, these companies made modifications to their systems in support of the intelligence collection effort. The dialogues have continued in recent months, as General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has met with executives including those at Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Intel. These details on the discussions provide insight into the disparity between initial descriptions of the government program including a training slide which states “Collection directly from the servers” and the companies’ denials.
While providing data in response to a legitimate FISA request approved by FISC is a legal requirement, modifying systems to make it easier for the government to collect the data is not. This is why Twitter could legally decline to provide an enhanced mechanism for data transmission. Other than Twitter, the companies were effectively asked to construct a locked mailbox and provide the key to the government, people briefed on the negotiations said. Facebook, for instance, built such a system for requesting and sharing the information. Google does not provide a lockbox system, but instead transmits required data by hand delivery or secure FTP.
Post-PRISM Transparency Reports
In response to the publicity surrounding media reports of data-sharing, several companies requested permission to reveal more public information about the nature and scope of information provided in response to National Security requests.
On June 14, 2013, Facebook reported that the U.S. Government had authorized the communication of “about these numbers in aggregate, and as a range.” In a press release posted to their web site, Facebook reported, “For the six months ending December 31, 2012, the total number of user-data requests Facebook received from any and all government entities in the U.S. (including local, state, and federal, and including criminal and national security-related requests) – was between 9,000 and 10,000.” Facebook further reported that the requests impacted “between 18,000 and 19,000″ user accounts, a “tiny fraction of one percent” of more than 1.1 billion active user accounts.
Microsoft reported that for the same period, it received “between 6,000 and 7,000 criminal and national security warrants, subpoenas and orders affecting between 31,000 and 32,000 consumer accounts from U.S. governmental entities (including local, state and federal)” which impacted “a tiny fraction of Microsoft’s global customer base”.
Google issued a statement criticizing the requirement that data be reported in aggregated form, stating that lumping national security requests with criminal request data would be “a step backwards” from its previous, more detailed practices on its site transparency report. The company said that it would continue to seek government permission to publish the number and extent of FISA requests.
Response from United States government
Shortly after publication of the reports by The Guardian and The Washington Post, the United States Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, on June 7 released a statement confirming that for nearly six years the government of the United States had been using large internet services companies such as Google and Facebook to collect information on foreigners outside the United States as a defense against national security threats. The statement read in part, “The Guardian and The Washington Post articles refer to collection of communications pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They contain numerous inaccuracies.” He went on to say, “Section 702 is a provision of FISA that is designed to facilitate the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning non-U.S. persons located outside the United States. It cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, any other U.S. person, or anyone located within the United States.” Clapper concluded his statement by stating “The unauthorized disclosure of information about this important and entirely legal program is reprehensible and risks important protections for the security of Americans.” On March 12, 2013, Clapper had told the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that the NSA does “not wittingly” collect any type of data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans. In an NBC News interview, Clapper said he answered Senator Wyden’s question in the “least untruthful manner by saying no”.
Clapper also stated that “the NSA collects the phone data in broad swaths, because collecting it (in) a narrow fashion would make it harder to identify terrorism-related communications. The information collected lets the government, over time, make connections about terrorist activities. The program doesn’t let the U.S. listen to people’s calls, but only includes information like call length and telephone numbers dialed.”
On June 8, 2013, Clapper said “the surveillance activities published in The Guardian and The Washington Post are lawful and conducted under authorities widely known and discussed, and fully debated and authorized by Congress.” The fact sheet described PRISM as “an internal government computer system used to facilitate the government’s statutorily authorized collection of foreign intelligence information from electronic communication service providers under court supervision, as authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) (50 U.S.C. § 1881a).”
The National Intelligence fact sheet further stated that “the United States Government does not unilaterally obtain information from the servers of U.S. electronic communication service providers. All such information is obtained with FISA Court approval and with the knowledge of the provider based upon a written directive from the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence.” It said that the Attorney General provides FISA Court rulings and semi-annual reports about PRISM activities to Congress, “provid[ing] an unprecedented degree of accountability and transparency.”
The President of the United States, Barack Obama, said on June 7 “What you’ve got is two programs that were originally authorized by Congress, have been repeatedly authorized by Congress. Bipartisan majorities have approved them. Congress is continually briefed on how these are conducted. There are a whole range of safeguards involved. And federal judges are overseeing the entire program throughout.” He also said, “You can’t have 100 percent security and then also have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. You know, we’re going to have to make some choices as a society.”
In separate statements, senior (not mentioned by name in source) Obama administration officials said that Congress had been briefed 13 times on the programs since 2009.
In contrast to their swift and forceful reactions the previous day to allegations that the government had been conducting surveillance of United States citizens’ telephone records, Congressional leaders initially had little to say about the PRISM program the day after leaked information about the program was published. Several lawmakers declined to discuss PRISM, citing its top-secret classification, and others said that they had not been aware of the program. After statements had been released by the President and the Director of National Intelligence, some lawmakers began to comment:
Senator John McCain (R-AZ)
- June 9 “We passed the Patriot Act. We passed specific provisions of the act that allowed for this program to take place, to be enacted in operation,”
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee
- June 9 “These programs are within the law”, “part of our obligation is keeping Americans safe”, “Human intelligence isn’t going to do it”.
- June 9 “Here’s the rub: the instances where this has produced good — has disrupted plots, prevented terrorist attacks, is all classified, that’s what’s so hard about this.”
- June 11 “It went fine…we asked him[ Keith Alexander ] to declassify things because it would be helpful (for people and lawmakers to better understand the intelligence programs).” “I’ve just got to see if the information gets declassified. I’m sure people will find it very interesting.”
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), member of Senate Intelligence Committee and past member of Homeland Security Committee
- June 11 “I had, along with Joe Lieberman, a monthly threat briefing, but I did not have access to this highly compartmentalized information” and “How can you ask when you don’t know the program exists?”
Representative John Boehner (R-OH), Speaker of the House of Representatives
- June 11 “He’s a traitor” (referring to Edward Snowden)
Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), principal sponsor of the Patriot Act
- June 9, “This is well beyond what the Patriot Act allows.” “President Obama’s claim that ‘this is the most transparent administration in history’ has once again proven false. In fact, it appears that no administration has ever peered more closely or intimately into the lives of innocent Americans.”
Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI), a Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
- June 9 “One of the things that we’re charged with is keeping America safe and keeping our civil liberties and privacy intact. I think we have done both in this particular case,”
- June 9 “Within the last few years this program was used to stop a program, excuse me, to stop a terrorist attack in the United States we know that. It’s, it’s, it’s important, it fills in a little seam that we have and it’s used to make sure that there is not an international nexus to any terrorism event that they may believe is ongoing in the United States. So in that regard it is a very valuable thing,”
Senator Mark Udall (D-CO)
- June 9 “I don’t think the American public knows the extent or knew the extent to which they were being surveilled and their data was being collected.” “I think we ought to reopen the Patriot Act and put some limits on the amount of data that the National Security (Agency) is collecting,” “It ought to remain sacred, and there’s got to be a balance here. That is what I’m aiming for. Let’s have the debate, let’s be transparent, let’s open this up”.
Representative Todd Rokita (R-IN)
- June 10 “We have no idea when they [ FISA ] meet, we have no idea what their judgments are”,
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)
- June 6 “When the Senate rushed through a last-minute extension of the FISA Amendments Act late last year, I insisted on a vote on my amendment (SA 3436) to require stronger protections on business records and prohibiting the kind of data-mining this case has revealed. Just last month, I introduced S.1037, the Fourth Amendment Preservation and Protection Act,”
- June 9 “I’m going to be seeing if I can challenge this at the Supreme Court level. I’m going to be asking the Internet providers and all of the phone companies: ask your customers to join me in a class-action lawsuit.”
Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)
- June 9 “We will be receiving secret briefings and we will be asking, I know I’m going to be asking to get more information. I want to make sure that what they’re doing is harvesting information that is necessary to keep us safe and not simply going into everybody’s private telephone conversations and Facebook and communications. I mean one of the, you know the terrorists win when you debilitate freedom of expression and privacy.”
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) has not acknowledged, denied or confirmed any involvement in the PRISM program at this time. It has not issued any press statement or release relating to the current situation and uncertainty.
Applicable law and practice
On June 8, 2013, the Director of National Intelligence issued a fact sheet stating that PRISM “is not an undisclosed collection or data mining program”, but rather computer software used to facilitate the collection of foreign intelligence information “under court supervision, as authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) (50 U.S.C. § 1881a).” Section 702 provides that “the Attorney General [A.G.] and the Director of National Intelligence [DNI] may authorize jointly, for a period of up to 1 year from the effective date of the authorization, the targeting of persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States to acquire foreign intelligence information.” In order to authorize the targeting, the A.G. and DNI need to get an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) pursuant to Section 702 or certify that “intelligence important to the national security of the United States may be lost or not timely acquired and time does not permit the issuance of an order.” When asking for an order, the A.G. and DNI must certify to FISC that “a significant purpose of the acquisition is to obtain foreign intelligence information.” They do not need to specify which facilities or property that the targeting will be directed at.
After getting a FISC order or determining that there are emergency circumstances, the A.G. and DNI can direct an electronic communication service provider to give them access to information or facilities to carry out the targeting and keep the targeting secret. The provider then has the option to: (1) comply with the directive; (2) reject it; or (3) challenge it to FISC.
If the provider complies with the directive, it is released from liability to its users for providing the information and reimbursed for the cost of providing it.
If the provider rejects the directive, the A.G. may request an order from FISC to enforce it. A provider that fails to comply with FISC’s order can be punished with contempt of court.
Finally, a provider can petition FISC to reject the directive. In case FISC denies the petition and orders the provider to comply with the directive, the provider risks contempt of court if it refuses to comply with FISC’s order. The provider can appeal FISC’s denial to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review and then appeal the Court of Review’s decision to the Supreme Court by a writ of certiorari for review under seal.
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the FISA Courts had been put in place to oversee intelligence operations in the period after the death of J. Edgar Hoover. Beverly Gage of Slate said, “When they were created, these new mechanisms were supposed to stop the kinds of abuses that men like Hoover had engineered. Instead, it now looks as if they have come to function as rubber stamps for the expansive ambitions of the intelligence community. J. Edgar Hoover no longer rules Washington, but it turns out we didn’t need him anyway.”
Involvement of other countries
The Australian government has said it will investigate the impact of the PRISM program and the use of the Pine Gap surveillance facility on the privacy of Australian citizens.
Canada’s national cryptologic agency, the Communications Security Establishment, said that commenting on PRISM “would undermine CSE’s ability to carry out its mandate”. Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart lamented Canada’s standards when it comes to protecting personal online privacy stating “We have fallen too far behind,” Stoddart wrote in her report. “While other nations’ data protection authorities have the legal power to make binding orders, levy hefty fines and take meaningful action in the event of serious data breaches, we are restricted to a ‘soft’ approach: persuasion, encouragement and, at the most, the potential to publish the names of transgressors in the public interest.” And, “when push comes to shove,” Stoddart wrote, “short of a costly and time-consuming court battle, we have no power to enforce our recommendations.”
Germany did not receive any raw PRISM data, according to a Reuters report.
Israeli newspaper Calcalist discussed the Business Insider article about the possible involvement of technologies from two secretive Israeli companies in the PRISM program – Verint Systems and Narus.
In New Zealand, University of Otago information science Associate Professor Hank Wolfe said that “under what was unofficially known as the Five Eyes Alliance, New Zealand and other governments, including the United States, Australia, Canada, and Britain, dealt with internal spying by saying they didn’t do it. But they have all the partners doing it for them and then they share all the information.”
In the United Kingdom, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has had access to the PRISM program on or before June 2010 and wrote 197 reports with it in 2012 alone. PRISM may have allowed GCHQ to circumvent the formal legal process required to seek personal material.
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The New York Times editorial board charged that the Obama administration “has now lost all credibility on this issue,” and lamented that “for years, members of Congress ignored evidence that domestic intelligence-gathering had grown beyond their control, and, even now, few seem disturbed to learn that every detail about the public’s calling and texting habits now reside in a N.S.A. database.”
Republican and former member of Congress Ron Paul said, “We should be thankful for individuals like Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald who see injustice being carried out by their own government and speak out, despite the risk…. They have done a great service to the American people by exposing the truth about what our government is doing in secret.” Paul denounced the government’s secret surveillance program: “The government does not need to know more about what we are doing…. We need to know more about what the government is doing.” He called Congress “derelict in giving that much power to the government,” and said that had he been elected president, he would have ordered searches only when there was probable cause of a crime having been committed, which he said was not how the PRISM program was being operated.
In response to Obama administration arguments that it could stop terrorism in the cases of Najibullah Zazi and David Headley, Ed Pilkington and Nicholas Watt of The Guardian said in regards to the role of PRISM and Boundless Informant interviews with parties involved in the Zazi scheme and court documents lodged in the United States and the United Kingdom indicated that “conventional” surveillance methods such as “old-fashioned tip-offs” of the British intelligence services initiated the investigation into the Zazi case. An anonymous former CIA agent said that in regards to the Headley case, “That’s nonsense. It played no role at all in the Headley case. That’s not the way it happened at all.” Pilkington and Watt concluded that the data-mining programs “played a relatively minor role in the interception of the two plots.” Michael Daly of The Daily Beast stated that even though Tamerlan Tsarnaev had visited Inspire and even though Russian intelligence officials alerted U.S. intelligence officials about Tsarnaev, PRISM did not prevent him from carrying out the Boston bombings, and that the initial evidence implicating him came from his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and not from federal intelligence. In addition Daly pointed to the fact that Faisal Shahzad visited Inspire but that federal authorities did not stop his attempted terrorist plot. Daly concluded “The problem is not just what the National Security Agency is gathering at the risk of our privacy but what it is apparently unable to monitor at the risk of our safety.” In addition, political commentator Bill O’Reilly criticized the government, saying that PRISM did not stop the Boston bombings.
In a blog post, David Simon, the creator of The Wire, compared the NSA’s programs, including PRISM, to a 1980s effort by the City of Baltimore to add dialed number recorders to all pay phones to know which individuals were being called by the callers; the city believed that drug traffickers were using pay phones and pagers, and a municipal judge allowed the city to place the recorders. The placement of the dialers formed the basis of the show’s first season. Simon argued that the media attention regarding the NSA programs is a “faux scandal.” George Takei, an actor who had experienced Japanese American internment, said that due to his memories of the internment, he felt concern towards the NSA surveillance programs that had been revealed.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an international non-profit digital-rights group based in the U.S., is hosting a tool, by which an American resident can write to their government representatives regarding their opposition to mass spying.
On June 11, 2013, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the NSA citing that PRISM “violates Americans’ constitutional rights of free speech, association, and privacy”.
Reactions of Internet users in China were mixed between viewing a loss of freedom worldwide and seeing state surveillance coming out of secrecy. The story broke just before US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in California. When asked about NSA hacking China, the spokeswoman of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China said “China strongly advocates cybersecurity”. The party-owned newspaper Liberation Daily described this surveillance like Nineteen Eighty-Four-style. Hong Kong legislators Gary Fan and Claudia Mo wrote a letter to Obama, stating “the revelations of blanket surveillance of global communications by the world’s leading democracy have damaged the image of the U.S. among freedom-loving peoples around the world.”
Sophie in ‘t Veld, a Dutch Member of the European Parliament, called PRISM “a violation of EU laws”.
Protests at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin
The German Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, Peter Schaar, condemned the program as “monstrous”. He further added that White House claims do “not reassure me at all” and that “given the large number of German users of Google, Facebook, Apple or Microsoft services, I expect the German government […] is committed to clarification and limitation of surveillance.” Steffen Seibert, press secretary of the Chancellor’s office, announced that Angela Merkel will put these issues on the agenda of the talks with Barack Obama during his pending visit in Berlin.
The Italian president of the Guarantor for the protection of personal data, Antonello Soro, said that the surveillance dragnet “would not be legal in Italy” and would be “contrary to the principles of our legislation and would represent a very serious violation”.
William Hague, the foreign secretary of the United Kingdom, dismissed accusations that British security agencies had been circumventing British law by using information gathered on British citizens by Prism saying, “Any data obtained by us from the United States involving UK nationals is subject to proper UK statutory controls and safeguards.” David Cameron said Britain’s spy agencies that received data collected from PRISM acted within the law: “I’m satisfied that we have intelligence agencies that do a fantastically important job for this country to keep us safe, and they operate within the law.” Malcolm Rifkind, the chairman of parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, said that if the British intelligence agencies were seeking to know the content of emails about people living in the UK, then they actually have to get lawful authority. The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office was more cautious, saying it would investigate PRISM alongside other European data agencies: “There are real issues about the extent to which U.S. law agencies can access personal data of UK and other European citizens. Aspects of U.S. law under which companies can be compelled to provide information to U.S. agencies potentially conflict with European data protection law, including the UK’s own Data Protection Act. The ICO has raised this with its European counterparts, and the issue is being considered by the European Commission, who are in discussions with the U.S. Government.”
Ai Weiwei, a Chinese dissident, said “Even though we know governments do all kinds of things I was shocked by the information about the US surveillance operation, Prism. To me, it’s abusively using government powers to interfere in individuals’ privacy. This is an important moment for international society to reconsider and protect individual rights.”
Kim Dotcom, a German-Finnish Internet entrepreneur who owned Megaupload, which was closed by the U.S. federal government, said “We should heed warnings from Snowden because the prospect of an Orwellian society outweighs whatever security benefits we derive from Prism or Five Eyes.” The Hong Kong law firm representing Dotcom expressed a fear that the communication between Dotcom and the firm had been compromised by U.S. intelligence programs.
Russia has offered to consider an asylum request from Edward Snowden.
Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said “We knew about their past efforts to trace our system. We have used our technical resources to foil their efforts and have been able to stop them from succeeding so far.”
Related government Internet surveillance programs
A parallel program, code-named BLARNEY, gathers up metadata as it streams past choke points along the backbone of the Internet. BLARNEY’s summary, set down in the slides alongside a cartoon insignia of a shamrock and a leprechaun hat, describes it as “an ongoing collection program that leverages IC [intelligence community] and commercial partnerships to gain access and exploit foreign intelligence obtained from global networks.”
A related program, a big data visualization system based on cloud computing and free and open-source software (FOSS) technology known as “Boundless Informant”, was disclosed in documents leaked to The Guardian and reported on June 8, 2013. A leaked, top secret map allegedly produced by Boundless Informant revealed the extent of NSA surveillance in the U.S.
ThinThread is the name of a project that the United States National Security Agency (NSA) pursued during the 1990s, according to a May 17, 2006 article in The Baltimore Sun. The program involved wiretapping and sophisticated analysis of the resulting data, but according to the article, the program was discontinued three weeks before the September 11, 2001 attacks due to the changes in priorities and the consolidation of U.S. intelligence authority. The “change in priority” consisted of the decision made by the director of NSA General Michael V. Hayden to go with a concept called Trailblazer, despite the fact that ThinThread was a working prototype that protected the privacy of U.S. citizens.
ThinThread was dismissed and replaced by the Trailblazer Project, which lacked the privacy protections. A consortium led by Science Applications International Corporation was awarded a $280 million contract to develop Trailblazer in 2002.
Trailblazer was a United States National Security Agency (NSA) program intended to develop a capability to analyze data carried on communications networks like the Internet. It was intended to track entities using communication methods such as cell phones and e-mail. It ran over budget, failed to accomplish critical goals, and was cancelled.
NSA whistleblowers J. Kirk Wiebe, William Binney, Ed Loomis, and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence staffer Diane Roark complained to the Department of Defense’s Inspector General (IG) about waste, fraud, and abuse in the program, and the fact that a successful operating prototype existed, but was ignored when the Trailblazer program was launched. The complaint was accepted by the IG and an investigation began that lasted until mid-2005 when the final results were issued. The results were largely hidden, as the report given to the public was heavily (90%) redacted, while the original report was heavily classified, thus restricting the ability of most people to see it.
The people who filed the IG complaint were later raided by armed Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents. While the Government threatened to prosecute all who signed the IG report, it ultimately chose to pursue an NSA Senior Executive — Thomas Andrews Drake — who helped with the report internally to NSA and who had spoken with a reporter about the project. Drake was later charged under the Espionage Act of 1917. His defenders claimed this was retaliation. The charges against him were later dropped, and he agreed to plead guilty to having committed a misdemeanor under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, something that Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project (which helped represent him) called an “act of civil disobedience”.
Trailblazer was chosen over a similar program named ThinThread, a less costly project which had been designed with built-in privacy protections for United States citizens. Trailblazer was later linked to the NSA electronic surveillance program and the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy.
In 2002 a consortium led by Science Applications International Corporation was chosen by the NSA to produce a technology demonstration platform in a contract worth $280 million. Project participants included Boeing, Computer Sciences Corporation, and Booz Allen Hamilton. The project was overseen by NSA Deputy Director William B. Black, Jr., an NSA worker who had gone to SAIC, and then been re-hired back to NSA by NSA director Michael Hayden in 2000. SAIC had also hired a former NSA director to its management; Bobby Inman. SAIC also participated in the concept definition phase of Trailblazer.
Redacted version of the DoD Inspector General audit, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by the Project on Government Oversight and others. 
The NSA Inspector General issued a report on Trailblazer that “discussed improperly based contract cost increases, non-conformance in the management of the Statement of Work, and excessive labor rates for contractor personnel.” 
In 2004 the DoD IG report criticized the program (see the Whistleblowing section below). It said that the “NSA ‘disregarded solutions to urgent national security needs'” and “that TRAILBLAZER was poorly executed and overly expensive …” Several contractors for the project were worried about cooperating with DoD’s audit for fear of “management reprisal.” The Director of NSA “nonconcurred” with several statements in the IG audit, and the report contains a discussion of those disagreements.
In 2005, NSA director Michael Hayden told a Senate hearing that the Trailblazer program was several hundred million dollars over budget and years behind schedule. In 2006 the program was shut down, after having cost billions of US Dollars. Several anonymous NSA sources told Hosenball of Newsweek later on that the project was a “wasteful failure”.
The new project replacing Trailblazer is called Turbulence.
According to a 2011 New Yorker article, in the early days of the project several NSA employees met with Diane S Roark, an NSA budget expert on the House Intelligence Committee. They aired their grievances about Trailblazer. In response, NSA director Michael Hayden sent out a memo saying that “individuals, in a session with our congressional overseers, took a position in direct opposition to one that we had corporately decided to follow … Actions contrary to our decisions will have a serious adverse effect on our efforts to transform N.S.A., and I cannot tolerate them.”
In September 2002, several people filed a complaint with the Department of Defense IG’s office regarding problems with Trailblazer: they included Roark (aforementioned), ex-NSA senior analysts Bill Binney, Kirk Wiebe, and Senior Computer Systems Analyst Ed Loomis, who had quit the agency over concerns about its mismanagement of acquisition and allegedly illegal domestic spying. A major source for the report was NSA senior officer Thomas Andrews Drake. Drake had been complaining to his superiors for some time about problems at the agency, and about the superiority of ThinThread over Trailblazer, for example, at protecting privacy. Drake gave info to DoD during its investigation of the matter. Roark also went to her boss at the House committee, Porter Goss, about problems, but was rebuffed. She also attempted to contact William Renquist, the Supreme Court Chief Justice at the time.
Drake’s own boss, Maureen Baginski, the third-highest officer at NSA, quit partly over concerns about the legality of its behavior.
In 2003, the NSA IG (not the DoD IG) had declared Trailblazer an expensive failure. It had cost more than $1 billion.
In 2005, the DoD IG produced a report on the result of its investigation of the complaint of Roark and the others in 2002. This report was not released to the public, but it has been described as very negative. Mayer writes that it hastened the closure of Trailblazer, which was at the time in trouble from congress for being over budget.
In November 2005, Drake contacted Siobhan Gorman, a reporter of The Baltimore Sun. Gorman wrote several articles about problems at the NSA, including articles on Trailblazer. This series got her an award from the Society of Professional Journalists.
In 2005, President George W. Bush ordered the FBI to find whoever had disclosed information about the NSA electronic surveillance program and its disclosure in the New York Times. Eventually, this investigation led to the people who had filed the 2002 DoD IG request, even though they had nothing to do with the New York Times disclosure. In 2007, the houses of Roark, Binney, and Wiebe were raided by armed FBI agents. According to Mayer, Binney claims the FBI pointed guns at his head and that of his wife. Wiebe said it reminded him of the Soviet Union. None of these people were ever charged with any crime. Four months later, Drake was raided in November 2007 and his computers and documents were confiscated.
In 2010 Drake was indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice on charges of obstructing justice, providing false information, and violating the Espionage Act of 1917, part of President Barack Obama’s crackdown on whistleblowers and “leakers”. The government tried to get Roark to testify to a conspiracy, and made similar requests to Drake, offering him a plea bargain. They both refused.
In June 2011, the ten original charges against Drake were dropped, instead he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.
Boundless Informant is a big data analysis and data visualization system used by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) to give NSA managers summaries of NSA’s world wide data collection activities. It is described in an unclassified, For Official Use Only Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) memo published by The Guardian. According to a Top Secret heat map display also published by The Guardian and allegedly produced by the Boundless Informant program, almost 3 billion data elements from inside the United States were captured by NSA over a 30-day period ending in March 2013.
Data analyzed by Boundless Informant includes electronic surveillance program records (DNI) and telephone call metadata records (DNR) stored in an NSA data archive called GM-PLACE. It does not include FISA data, according to the FAQ memo. PRISM, a government codename for a collection effort known officially as US-984XN, which was revealed at the same time as Boundless Informant, is one source of DNR data. According to the map, Boundless Informant summarizes data records from 504 separate DNR and DNI collection sources (SIGADs). In the map, countries that are under surveillance are assigned a color from green, representing least coverage to red, most intensive.
Slide showing that much of the world’s communications flow through the US.
Intelligence gathered by the United States government inside the United States or specifically targeting US citizens is legally required to be gathered in compliance with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) and under the authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA court).
NSA global data mining projects have existed for decades, but recent programs of intelligence gathering and analysis that include data gathered from inside the United States such as PRISM were enabled by changes to US surveillance law introduced under President Bush and renewed under President Obama in December 2012.
Boundless Informant was first publicly revealed on June 8, 2013, after classified documents about the program were leaked to The Guardian. The newspaper identified its informant, at his request, as Edward Snowden, who worked at the NSA for the defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.
According to published slides, Boundless Informant leverages Free and Open Source Software—and is therefore “available to all NSA developers”—and corporate services hosted in the cloud. The tool uses HDFS, MapReduce, and Cloudbase for data processing.
Legality and FISA Amendments Act of 2008
The FISA Amendments Act (FAA) Section 702 is referenced in PRISM documents detailing the electronic interception, capture and analysis of metadata. Many reports and letters of concern written by members of Congress suggest that this section of FAA in particular is legally and constitutionally problematic, such as by targeting U.S. persons, insofar as “Collections occur in U.S.” as published documents indicate.
The ACLU has asserted the following regarding the FAA: “Regardless of abuses, the problem with the FAA is more fundamental: the statute itself is unconstitutional.”
Senator Rand Paul is introducing new legislation called the Fourth Amendment Restoration Act of 2013 to stop the NSA or other agencies of the United States government from violating the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution using technology and big data information systems like PRISM and Boundless Informant.
ECHELON is a name used in global media and in popular culture to describe a signals intelligence (SIGINT) collection and analysis network operated on behalf of the five signatory states to the UKUSA Security Agreement (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, referred to by a number of abbreviations, including AUSCANNZUKUS and Five Eyes). It has also been described as the only software system which controls the download and dissemination of the intercept of commercial satellite trunk communications.
ECHELON, according to information in the European Parliament document, “On the existence of a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications (ECHELON interception system)” was created to monitor the military and diplomatic communications of the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies during the Cold War in the early 1960s.
The system has been reported in a number of public sources. Its capabilities and political implications were investigated by a committee of the European Parliament during 2000 and 2001 with a report published in 2001, and by author James Bamford in his books on the National Security Agency of the United States. The European Parliament stated in its report that the term ECHELON is used in a number of contexts, but that the evidence presented indicates that it was the name for a signals intelligence collection system. The report concludes that, on the basis of information presented, ECHELON was capable of interception and content inspection of telephone calls, fax, e-mail and other data traffic globally through the interception of communication bearers including satellite transmission, public switched telephone networks (which once carried most Internet traffic) and microwave links.
Bamford describes the system as the software controlling the collection and distribution of civilian telecommunications traffic conveyed using communication satellites, with the collection being undertaken by ground stations located in the footprint of the downlink leg.
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
The UKUSA intelligence community was assessed by the European Parliament (EP) in 2000 to include the signals intelligence agencies of each of the member states:
- the Government Communications Headquarters of the United Kingdom,
- the National Security Agency of the United States,
- the Communications Security Establishment of Canada,
- the Defence Signals Directorate of Australia, and
- the Government Communications Security Bureau of New Zealand.
- the National SIGINT Organisation (NSO) of The Netherlands
The EP report concluded that it seemed likely that ECHELON is a method of sorting captured signal traffic, rather than a comprehensive analysis tool.
The ability to intercept communications depends on the medium used, be it radio, satellite, microwave, cellular or fiber-optic. During World War II and through the 1950s, high frequency (“short wave”) radio was widely used for military and diplomatic communication, and could be intercepted at great distances. The rise of geostationary communications satellites in the 1960s presented new possibilities for intercepting international communications. The report to the European Parliament of 2001 states: “If UKUSA states operate listening stations in the relevant regions of the earth, in principle they can intercept all telephone, fax and data traffic transmitted via such satellites.”
The role of satellites in point-to-point voice and data communications has largely been supplanted by fiber optics; in 2006, 99% of the world’s long-distance voice and data traffic was carried over optical-fiber. The proportion of international communications accounted for by satellite links is said to have decreased substantially over the past few years[when?] in Central Europe to an amount between 0.4% and 5%. Even in less-developed parts of the world, communications satellites are used largely for point-to-multipoint applications, such as video. Thus, the majority of communications can no longer be intercepted by earth stations; they can only be collected by tapping cables and intercepting line-of-sight microwave signals, which is possible only to a limited extent.
One method of interception is to place equipment at locations where fiber optic communications are switched. For the Internet, much of the switching occurs at relatively few sites. There have been reports of one such intercept site, Room 641A, in the United States. In the past[when?] much Internet traffic was routed through the U.S. and the UK, but this has changed; for example, in 2000, 95% of intra-German Internet communications was routed via the DE-CIX Internet exchange point in Frankfurt. A comprehensive worldwide surveillance network is possible only if clandestine intercept sites are installed in the territory of friendly nations, and/or if local authorities cooperate. The report to the European Parliament points out that interception of private communications by foreign intelligence services is not necessarily limited to the U.S. or British foreign intelligence services.
Most reports on ECHELON focus on satellite interception; testimony before the European Parliament indicated that separate but similar UK-US systems are in place to monitor communication through undersea cables, microwave transmissions and other lines.
See also: Industrial espionage
Intelligence monitoring of citizens, and their communications, in the area covered by the AUSCANNZUKUS security agreement has caused concern. British journalist Duncan Campbell and New Zealand journalist Nicky Hager asserted in the 1990s that the United States was exploiting ECHELON traffic for industrial espionage, rather than military and diplomatic purposes. Examples alleged by the journalists include the gear-less wind turbine technology designed by the German firm Enercon and the speech technology developed by the Belgian firm Lernout & Hauspie. An article in the US newspaper Baltimore Sun reported in 1995 that European aerospace company Airbus lost a $6 billion contract with Saudi Arabia in 1994 after the US National Security Agency reported that Airbus officials had been bribing Saudi officials to secure the contract.
In 2001, the Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System recommended to the European Parliament that citizens of member states routinely use cryptography in their communications to protect their privacy, because economic espionage with ECHELON has been conducted by the US intelligence agencies.
Bamford provides an alternative view, highlighting that legislation prohibits the use of intercepted communications for commercial purposes, although he does not elaborate on how intercepted communications are used as part of an all-source intelligence process.
According to its website, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) is “a high technology organization … on the frontiers of communications and data processing”. In 1999 the Australian Senate Joint Standing Committee on Treaties was told by Professor Desmond Ball that the Pine Gap facility was used as a ground station for a satellite-based interception network. The satellites were said to be large radio dishes between 20 and 100 meters in diameter in geostationary orbits. The original purpose of the network was to monitor the telemetry from 1970s Soviet weapons, air defence radar, communications satellites and ground based microwave communications.
The European Parliament’s Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System stated: “It seems likely, in view of the evidence and the consistent pattern of statements from a very wide range of individuals and organisations, including American sources, that its name is in fact ECHELON, although this is a relatively minor detail.” The U.S. intelligence community uses many code names (see, for example, CIA cryptonym).
Former NSA employee Margaret Newsham claims that she worked on the configuration and installation of software that makes up the ECHELON system while employed at Lockheed Martin, for whom she worked from 1974 to 1984 in Sunnyvale, California, US, and in Menwith Hill, England, UK. At that time, according to Newsham, the code name ECHELON was NSA’s term for the computer network itself. Lockheed called it P415. The software programs were called SILKWORTH and SIRE. A satellite named VORTEX intercepted communications. An image available on the internet of a fragment apparently torn from a job description shows Echelon listed along with several other code names.
The 2001 European Parliamentary (EP) report lists several ground stations as possibly belonging to, or participating in, the ECHELON network. These include:
Likely satellite intercept stations
The following stations are listed in the EP report (p. 54 ff) as likely to have, or to have had, a role in intercepting transmissions from telecommunications satellites:
- Hong Kong (since closed)
- Australian Defence Satellite Communications Station (Geraldton, Western Australia)
- Menwith Hill (Yorkshire, U.K.) Map (reportedly the largest Echelon facility)
- Misawa Air Base (Japan) Map
- GCHQ Bude, formerly known as GCHQ CSO Morwenstow, (Cornwall, U.K.) Map
- Pine Gap (Northern Territory, Australia – close to Alice Springs) Map
- Sugar Grove (West Virginia, U.S.) Map
- Yakima Training Center (Washington, U.S.) Map
- GCSB Waihopai (New Zealand)
- GCSB Tangimoana (New Zealand)
- CFS Leitrim (Ontario, Canada)
- Teufelsberg (Berlin, Germany) (closed 1992)
Other potentially related stations
The following stations are listed in the EP report (p. 57 ff) as ones whose roles “cannot be clearly established”:
- Ayios Nikolaos (Cyprus – U.K.)
- BadAibling Station (BadAibling, Germany – U.S.)
- relocated to Griesheim in 2004
- deactivated in 2008
- Buckley Air Force Base (Aurora, Colorado)
- Fort Gordon (Georgia, U.S.)
- Gander (Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada)
- Guam (Pacific Ocean, U.S.)
- Kunia Regional SIGINT Operations Center (Hawaii, U.S.)
- Lackland Air Force Base, Medina Annex (San Antonio, Texas)
Room 641A is a telecommunication interception facility operated by AT&T for the U.S. National Security Agency that commenced operations in 2003 and was exposed in 2006.
Room 641A is located in the SBC Communications building at 611 Folsom Street, San Francisco, three floors of which were occupied by AT&T before SBC purchased AT&T. The room was referred to in internal AT&T documents as the SG3 [Study Group 3] Secure Room. It is fed by fiber optic lines from beam splitters installed in fiber optic trunks carrying Internet backbone traffic and, as analyzed by J. Scott Marcus, a former CTO for GTE and a former adviser to the FCC, who has access to all Internet traffic that passes through the building, and therefore “the capability to enable surveillance and analysis of internet content on a massive scale, including both overseas and purely domestic traffic.” Former director of the NSA’s World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group, William Binney, has estimated that 10 to 20 such facilities have been installed throughout the United States.
The room measures about 24 by 48 feet (7.3 by 15 m) and contains several racks of equipment, including a Narus STA 6400, a device designed to intercept and analyze Internet communications at very high speeds.
The very existence of the room was revealed by a former AT&T technician, Mark Klein, and was the subject of a 2006 class action lawsuit by the Electronic Frontier Foundation against AT&T. Klein claims he was told that similar black rooms are operated at other facilities around the country.
Room 641A and the controversies surrounding it were subjects of an episode of Frontline, the current affairs documentary program on PBS. It was originally broadcast on May 15, 2007. It was also featured on PBS’s NOW on March 14, 2008. The room was also covered in the PBS Nova episode “The Spy Factory”.
Basic diagram of how the alleged wiretapping was accomplished. From EFF court filings
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a class-action lawsuit against AT&T on January 31, 2006, accusing the telecommunication company of violating the law and the privacy of its customers by collaborating with the National Security Agency (NSA) in a massive, illegal program to wiretap and data-mine Americans’ communications. On July 20, 2006, a federal judge denied the government’s and AT&T’s motions to dismiss the case, chiefly on the ground of the States Secrets Privilege, allowing the lawsuit to go forward. On August 15, 2007, the case was heard by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and was dismissed on December 29, 2011 based on a retroactive grant of immunity by Congress for telecommunications companies that cooperated with the government. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case. A different case by the EFF was filed on September 18, 2008, titled Jewel v. NSA.
List of government surveillance projects for the United States
- Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative: Under this initiative, a Suspicious Activity Report may be filed by law enforcers, public safety personnel, owners of critical infrastructure or the general public.
- PRISM: A clandestine national security electronic surveillance program operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) which can target customers of participating corporations outside or inside the United States
- DCSNet: The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)’s point-and-click surveillance system that can perform instant wiretaps on any telecommunications device located in the United States.
- Main Core: A personal and financial database storing information of millions of U.S. citizens believed to be threats to national security. The data mostly comes from the NSA, FBI, CIA, as well as other government sources.
- NSA call database
- Intelligence Community (IC): A cooperative federation of 16 government agencies working together, but also separately, to gather intelligence and conduct espionage
- Financial Crimes Enforcement Network: A bureau of the Department of the Treasury that collects and analyzes financial transactions in order to combat financial crimes.
- Terrorist Finance Tracking Program: A joint initiative run by the CIA and the Department of the Treasury to access the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) transaction database as part of the Bush administration‘s “Global War on Terrorism“. According to the U.S. government, its efforts to counter terrorist activities were compromised after the existence of the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program was leaked to the media.
- Tailored Access Operations: Intelligence-gathering unit of the NSA that is capable of harvesting approximately 2 petabytes of data per hour.
- Boundless Informant: A system deployed by the National Security Agency to analyze global electronic information. In March 2013, Boundless Informant gathered 14 billion data reports from Iran, 6.3 billion from India, and 2.8 billion from the United States.
Section summary of the Patriot Act, Title II
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
President George W. Bush gestures as he addresses an audience Wednesday, July 20, 2005 at the Port of Baltimore in Baltimore, Md., encouraging the renewal of provisions of the Patriot Act.
The following is a section summary of the USA PATRIOT Act, Title II. The USA PATRIOT Act was passed by the United States Congress in 2001 as a response to the September 11, 2001 attacks. Title II: Enhanced Surveillance Procedures gave increased powers of surveillance to various government agencies and bodies. This title has 25 sections, with one of the sections (section 224) containing a sunset clause which sets an expiration date, 31 December 2005, for most of the title’s provisions. On 22 December 2005, the sunset clause expiration date was extended to 3 February 2006.
Title II contains many of the most contentious provisions of the act. Supporters of the Patriot Act claim that these provisions are necessary in fighting the War on Terrorism, while its detractors argue that many of the sections of Title II infringe upon individual and civil rights.
The sections of Title II amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 and its provisions in 18 U.S.C., dealing with “Crimes and Criminal Procedure“. It also amends the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986. In general, the Title expands federal agencies’ powers in intercepting, sharing, and using private telecommunications, especially electronic communications, along with a focus on criminal investigations by updating the rules that govern computer crime investigations. It also sets out procedures and limitations for individuals who feel their rights have been violated to seek redress, including against the United States government. However, it also includes a section that deals with trade sanctions against countries whose government supports terrorism, which is not directly related to surveillance issues.
Sections 201 & 202: Intercepting communications
Two sections dealt with the interception of communications by the United States government.
Section 201 is titled Authority to intercept wire, oral, and electronic communications relating to terrorism. This section amended 18 U.S.C. § 2516 (Authorization for interception of wire, oral, or electronic communications) of the United States Code. This section allows (under certain specific conditions) the United States Attorney General (or some of his subordinates) to authorize a Federal judge to make an order authorizing or approving the interception of wire or oral communications by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), or another relevant U.S. Federal agency.
The Attorney General’s subordinates who can use Section 201 are: the Deputy Attorney General, the Associate Attorney General, any Assistant Attorney General, any acting Assistant Attorney General, any Deputy Assistant Attorney General or acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Division who is specially designated by the Attorney General.
The amendment added a further condition which allowed an interception order to be carried out. The interception order may now be made if a criminal violation is made with respect to terrorism (defined by 18 U.S.C. § 2332):
Note: the legislation states that title 18, section 2516(1), paragraph (p) of the United States Code was redesignated (moved) to become paragraph (q). This paragraph had been previously redesignated by two other pieces of legislation: the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 and by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (see section 201(3)).
Section 202 is titled Authority to intercept wire, oral, and electronic communications relating to computer fraud and abuse offenses, and amended the United States Code to include computer fraud and abuse in the list of reasons why an interception order may be granted.
Section 203 (Authority to share criminal investigation information) modified the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure with respect to disclosure of information before the grand jury (Rule 6(e)). Section 203(a) allowed the disclosure of matters in deliberation by the grand jury, which are normally otherwise prohibited, if:
- a court orders it (before or during a judicial proceeding),
- a court finds that there are grounds for a motion to dismiss an indictment because of matters before the Grand Jury,
- if the matters in deliberation are made by an attorney for the government to another Federal grand jury,
- an attorney for the government requests that matters before the grand jury may reveal a violation of State criminal law,
- the matters involve foreign intelligence or counterintelligence or foreign intelligence information. Foreign intelligence and counterintelligence was defined in section 3 of the National Security Act of 1947, and “foreign intelligence information” was further defined in the amendment as information about:
- an actual or potential attack or other grave hostile acts of a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power;
- sabotage or international terrorism by a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power; or
- clandestine intelligence activities by an intelligence service or network of a foreign power or by an agent of foreign power; or
- information about a foreign power or foreign territory that relates to the national defense or the security of the United States or the conduct of the foreign affairs of the United States.’.
- information about non-U.S. and U.S. citizens
203(a) gave the court the power to order a time within which information may be disclosed, and specified when a government agency may use information disclosed about a foreign power. The rules of criminal procedure now state that “within a reasonable time after such disclosure, an attorney for the government shall file under seal a notice with the court stating the fact that such information was disclosed and the departments, agencies, or entities to which the disclosure was made.”
Section 203(b) modified 18 U.S.C. § 2517, which details who is allowed to learn the results of a communications interception, to allow any investigative or law enforcement officer, or attorney for the Government to divulge foreign intelligence, counterintelligence or foreign intelligence information to a variety of Federal officials. Specifically, any official who has obtained knowledge of the contents of any wire, oral, or electronic communication, or evidence derived from this could divulge this information to any Federal law enforcement, intelligence, protective, immigration, national defense, or national security official. The definition of “foreign intelligence” was the same as section 203(a), with the same ability to define “foreign intelligence” to be intelligence of a non-U.S. and U.S. citizen. The information received must only be used as necessary in the conduct of the official’s official duties.
The definition of “foreign intelligence information” is defined again in Section 203(d).
Section 203(c) specified that the Attorney General must establish procedures for the disclosure of information due to 18 U.S.C. § 2517 (see above), for those people who are defined as U.S. citizens.
Section 204: Limitations on communication interceptions
Section 204 (Clarification of intelligence exceptions from limitations on interception and disclosure of wire, oral, and electronic communication) removed restrictions from the acquisition of foreign intelligence information from international or foreign communications. It was also clarified that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 should not only be the sole means of electronic surveillance for just oral and wire intercepts, but should also include electronic communication.
Section 205: Employment of translators by the FBI
Under section 205 (Employment of translators by the Federal Bureau of Investigation), the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is now allowed to employ translators to support counterterrorism investigations and operations without regard to applicable Federal personnel requirements and limitations. However, he must report to the House Judiciary Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee the number of translators employed and any legal reasons why he cannot employ translators from federal, state, or local agencies.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 allows an applicant access to all information, facilities, or technical assistance necessary to perform electronic surveillance on a particular target. The assistance given must protect the secrecy of and cause as little disruption to the ongoing surveillance effort as possible. The direction could be made at the request of the applicant of the surveillance order, by a common carrier, landlord, custodian or other specified person. Section 206 (Roving surveillance authority under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978) amended this to add:
- or in circumstances where the Court finds that the actions of the target of the application may have the effect of thwarting the identification of a particular person.
This allows intelligence agencies to undertake “roving” surveillance: they do not have to specify the exact facility or location where their surveillance will be done. Roving surveillance was already specified for criminal investigations under 18 U.S.C. § 2518(11), and section 206 brought the ability of intelligence agencies to undertake such roving surveillance into line with such criminal investigations. However, the section was not without controversy, as James X. Dempsey, the Executive Director of the Center for Democracy & Technology, argued that a few months after the Patriot Act was passed the Intelligence Authorization Act was also passed that had the unintended effect of seeming to authorize “John Doe” roving taps — FISA orders that identify neither the target nor the location of the interception (see The Patriot Debates, James X. Dempsey debates Paul Rosenzweig on section 206).
Section 207: Duration of FISA surveillance on agents of a foreign powe
Previously FISA only defined the duration of a surveillance order against a foreign power (defined in 50 U.S.C. § 1805(e)(1)) . This was amended by section 207 (Duration of FISA surveillance of non-United States persons who are agents of a foreign power) to allow surveillance of agents of a foreign power (as defined in section 50 U.S.C. § 1801(b)(1)(A)) for a maximum of 90 days. Section 304(d)(1) was also amended to extend orders for physical searches from 45 days to 90 days, and orders for physical searches against agents of a foreign power are allowed for a maximum of 120 days. The act also clarified that extensions for surveillance could be granted for a maximum of a year against agents of a foreign power.
Section 208: Designation of judges
Section 103(A) of FISA was amended by Section 208 (Designation of judges) of the Patriot Act to increase the number of federal district court judges who must now review surveillance orders from seven to 11. Of these, three of the judges must live within 20 miles (32 km) of the District of Columbia.
Section 209: Seizure of voice-mail messages pursuant to warrants
Section 209 (Seizure of voice-mail messages pursuant to warrants) removed the text “any electronic storage of such communication” from title 18, section 2510 of the United States Code. Before this was struck from the Code, the U.S. government needed to apply for a title III wiretap order before they could open voice-mails, however now the government only need apply for an ordinary search. Section 2703, which specifies when a “provider of electronic communication services” must disclose the contents of stored communications, was also amended to allow such a provider to be compelled to disclose the contents via a search warrant, and not a wiretap order. According to Vermont senator Patrick Leahy, this was done to “harmonizing the rules applicable to stored voice and non-voice (e.g., e-mail) communications”.
Section 210 & 211: Scope of subpoenas for records of electronic communications
The U.S. Code specifies when the U.S. government may require a provider of an electronic communication service to hand over communication records. It specifies what that provider must disclose to the government, and was amended by section 210 (Scope of subpoenas for records of electronic communications) to include records of session times and durations of electronic communication as well as any identifying numbers or addresses of the equipment that was being used, even if this may only be temporary. For instance, this would include temporarily assigned IP addresses, such as those established by DHCP.
Section 211 (Clarification of scope) further clarified the scope of such orders. 47 U.S.C. § 551 (Section 631 of the Communications Act of 1934) deals with the privacy granted to users of cable TV. The code was amended to allow the government to have access to the records of cable customers, with the notable exclusion of records revealing cable subscriber selection of video programming from a cable operator.
Section 212: Emergency disclosure of electronic communications
Section 212 (Emergency disclosure of electronic communications to protect life and limb) amended the US Code to stop a communications provider from providing communication records (not necessarily relating to the content itself) about a customer’s communications to others. However, should the provider reasonably believe that an emergency involving immediate danger of death or serious physical injury to any person then the communications provider can now disclose this information. The act did not make clear what “reasonably” meant.
A communications provider could also disclose communications records if:
- a court orders the disclosure of communications at the request of a government agency (18 U.S.C. § 2703)
- the customer allows the information to be disclosed
- if the service provider believes that they must do so to protect their rights or property.
This section was repealed by the Homeland Security Act of 2002 — this act also created the Homeland Security Department — and was replaced with a new and permanent emergency disclosure provision.
Section 213: Delayed search warrant notification
Section 213 (Authority for delaying notice of the execution of a warrant) amended the US Code to allow the notification of search warrants to be delayed. This section has been commonly referred to as the “sneak and peek” section, a phrase originating from the FBI and not, as commonly believed, from opponents of the Patriot Act. The U.S. government may now legally search and seize property that constitutes evidence of a United States criminal offense without immediately telling the owner. The court may only order the delayed notification if they have reason to believe it would hurt an investigation — delayed notifications were already defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2705 — or, if a search warrant specified that the subject of the warrant must be notified “within a reasonable period of its execution,” then it allows the court to extend the period before the notification is given, though the government must show “good cause”. If the search warrant prohibited the seizure of property or communications, then the search warrant could then be delayed.
Before the Patriot Act was enacted, there were three cases before the United States district courts: United States v. Freitas, 800 F.2d 1451 (9th Cir. 1986); United States v. Villegas, 899 F.2d 1324 (2d Cir. 1990); and United States v. Simons, 206 F.3d 392 (4th Cir. 2000). Each determined that, under certain circumstances, it was not unconstitutional to delay the notification of search warrants.
FISA was amended by section 214 (Pen register and trap and trace authority under FISA) to clarify that pen register and trap and trace surveillance can be authorised to allow government agencies to gather foreign intelligence information. Where the law only allowed them to gather surveillance if there was evidence of international terrorism, it now gives the courts the power to grant trap and traces against:
- non-U.S. citizens.
- those suspected of being involved with international terrorism,
- those undertaking clandestine intelligence activities
Any investigation against U.S. citizens must not violate the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Section 215: Access to records and other items under FISA
This section is commonly referred to as the “library records” provision because of the wide range of personal material that can be investigated.
FISA was modified by section 215 (Access to records and other items under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) to allow the Director of the FBI (or an official designated by the Director, so long as that official’s rank is no lower than Assistant Special Agent in Charge) to apply for an order to produce materials that assist in an investigation undertaken to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities. The act specifically gives an example to clarify what it means by “tangible things”: it includes “books, records, papers, documents, and other items”.
It is specified that any such investigation must be conducted in accordance with guidelines laid out in Executive Order 12333 (which pertains to United States intelligence activities). Investigations must also not be performed on U.S. citizens who are carrying out activities protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
Any order that is granted must be given by a FISA court judge or by a magistrate judge who is publicly designated by the Chief Justice of the United States to allow such an order to be given. Any application must prove that it is being conducted without violating the First Amendment rights of any U.S. citizens. The application can only be used to obtain foreign intelligence information not concerning a U.S. citizen or to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.
This section of the PATRIOT Act is controversial because the order may be granted ex parte, and once it is granted — in order to avoid jeopardizing the investigation — the order may not disclose the reasons behind why the order was granted.
The section carries a gag order stating that “No person shall disclose to any other person (other than those persons necessary to produce the tangible things under this section) that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has sought or obtained tangible things under this section”. Senator Rand Paul stated that the non-disclosure is imposed for one year, though this is not explicitly mentioned in the section.
In order to protect anyone who complies with the order, FISA now prevents any person who complies with the order in “good faith” from being liable for producing any tangible goods required by the court order. The production of tangible items is not deemed to constitute a waiver of any privilege in any other proceeding or context.
As a safeguard, section 502 of FISA compels the Attorney General to inform the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives and the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate of all such orders granted. Every six months, the Attorney General must also provide a report to the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and the Senate which details the total number of applications made for orders approving requests for the production of tangible things and the total number of such orders either granted, modified, or denied.
During a House Judiciary hearing on domestic spying on July 17, 2013 John C. Inglis, the deputy director of the surveillance agency, told a member of the House judiciary committee that NSA analysts can perform “a second or third hop query” through its collections of telephone data and internet records in order to find connections to terrorist organizations. “Hops” refers to a technical term indicating connections between people. A three-hop query means that the NSA can look at data not only from a suspected terrorist, but from everyone that suspect communicated with, and then from everyone those people communicated with, and then from everyone all of those people communicated with. NSA officials had said previously that data mining was limited to two hops, but Inglis suggested that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has allowed for data analysis extending “two or three hops”.
This section was reauthorized in 2011.
Section 216: Authority to issue pen registers and trap and trace devices
Section 216 (Modification of authorities relating to use of pen registers and trap and trace devices) deals with three specific areas with regards to pen registers and trap and trace devices: general limitations to the use of such devices, how an order allowing the use of such devices must be made, and the definition of such devices.
18 U.S.C. § 3121 details the exceptions related to the general prohibition on pen register and trap and trace devices. Along with gathering information for dialup communications, it allows for gathering routing and other addressing information. It is specifically limited to this information: the Act does not allow such surveillance to capture the actual information that is contained in the communication being monitored. However, organisations such as the EFF have pointed out that certain types of information that can be captured, such as URLs, can have content embedded in them. They object to the application of trap and trace and pen register devices to newer technology using a standard designed for telephones.
Making and carrying out orders
It also details that an order may be applied for ex parte (without the party it is made against present, which in itself is not unusual for search warrants), and allows the agency who applied for the order to compel any relevant person or entity providing wire or electronic communication service to assist with the surveillance. If the party whom the order is made against so requests, the attorney for the Government, law enforcement or investigative officer that is serving the order must provide written or electronic certification that the order applies to the targeted individual.
If a pen register or trap and trace device is used on a packet-switched data network, then the agency doing surveillance must keep a detailed log containing:
- any officer or officers who installed the device and any officer or officers who accessed the device to obtain information from the network;
- the date and time the device was installed, the date and time the device was uninstalled, and the date, time, and duration of each time the device is accessed to obtain information;
- the configuration of the device at the time of its installation and any subsequent modification made to the device; and
- any information which has been collected by the device
This information must be generated for the entire time the device is active, and must be provided ex parte and under seal to the court which entered the ex parte order authorizing the installation and use of the device. This must be done within 30 days after termination of the order.
Orders must now include the following information:
- the identifying number of the device under surveillance
- the location of the telephone line or other facility to which the pen register or trap and trace device is to be attached or applied
- if a trap and trace device is installed, the geographic limits of the order must be specified
This section amended the non-disclosure requirements of 18 U.S.C. § 3123(d)(2) by expanding to include those whose facilities are used to establish the trap and trace or pen register or to those people who assist with applying the surveillance order who must not disclose that surveillance is being undertaken. Before this it had only applied to the person owning or leasing the line.
The following terms were redefined in the US Code’s chapter 206 (which solely deals with pen registers and trap and trace devices):
- Court of competent jurisdiction: defined in 18 U.S.C. § 3127(2), subparagraph A was stricken and replaced to redefine the court to be any United States district court (including a magistrate judge of such a court) or any United States court of appeals havingjurisdiction over the offense being investigated (title 18 also allows State courts that have been given authority by their State to use pen register and trap and trace devices)
- Pen register: defined in 18 U.S.C. § 3127(3), the definition of such a device was expanded to include a device that captures dialing, routing, addressing, or signaling information from an electronics communication device. It limited the usage of such devices to exclude the capturing of any of the contents of communications being monitored. 18 U.S.C. § 3124(b) was also similarly amended.
- Trap and trace device: defined in 18 U.S.C. § 3127(4), the definition was similarly expanded to include the dialing, routing, addressing, or signaling information from an electronics communication device. However, a trap and trace device can now also be a “process”, not just a device.
- Contents: 18 U.S.C. § 3127(1) clarifies the term “contents” (as referred to in the definition of trap and trace devices and pen registers) to conform to the definition as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2510(8), which when used with respect to any wire, oral, or electronic communication, includes any information concerning the substance, purport, or meaning of that communication.
Section 217: Interception of computer trespasser communications
Section 217 (Interception of computer trespasser communications) firstly defines the following terms:
- Protected computer: this is defined in 18 U.S.C. § 1030(e)(2)(A), and is any computer that is used by a financial institution or the United States Government or one which is used in interstate or foreign commerce or communication, including a computer located outside the United States that is used in a manner that affects interstate or foreign commerce or communication of the United States.
- Computer trespasser: this is defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2510(21) and references to this phrase means
- a person who accesses a protected computer without authorization and thus has no reasonable expectation of privacy in any communication transmitted to, through, or from the protected computer; and
- does not include a person known by the owner or operator of the protected computer to have an existing contractual relationship with the owner or operator of the protected computer for access to all or part of the protected computer
Amendments were made to 18 U.S.C. § 2511(2) to make it lawful to allow a person to intercept the communications of a computer trespasser if
- the owner or operator of the protected computer authorizes the interception of the computer trespasser’s communications on the protected computer,
- the person is lawfully engaged in an investigation,
- the person has reasonable grounds to believe that the contents of the computer trespasser’s communications will be relevant to their investigation, and
- any communication captured can only relate to those transmitted to or from the computer trespasser.
Section 218: Foreign intelligence information
Section 218 (Foreign intelligence information) amended 50 U.S.C. § 1804(a)(7)(B) and 50 U.S.C. § 1823(a)(7)(B) (both FISA sections 104(a) (7)(B) and section 303(a)(7)(B), respectively) to change “the purpose” of surveillance orders under FISA to gain access to foreign intelligence to “significant purpose”. Mary DeRosa, in The Patriot Debates, explained that the reason behind this was to remove a legal “wall” which arose when criminal and foreign intelligence overlapped. This was because the U.S. Department of Justice interpreted “the purpose” of surveillance was restricted to collecting information for foreign intelligence, which DeRosa says “was designed to ensure that prosecutors and criminal investigators did not use FISA to circumvent the more rigorous warrant requirements for criminal cases”. However, she also says that it is debatable whether this legal tightening of the definition was even necessary, stating that “the Department of Justice argued to the FISA Court of Review in 2002 that the original FISA standard did not require the restrictions that the Department of Justice imposed over the years, and the court appears to have agreed [which] leaves the precise legal effect of a sunset of section 218 somewhat murky.”
Section 219: Single-jurisdiction search warrants for terrorism
Section 219 (Single-jurisdiction search warrants for terrorism) amended the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure to allow a magistrate judge who is involved in an investigation of domestic terrorism or international terrorism the ability to issue a warrant for a person or property within or outside of their district.
Section 220: Nationwide service of search warrants for electronic evidence
Section 220 (Nationwide service of search warrants for electronic evidence) gives the power to Federal courts to issue nationwide service of search warrants for electronic surveillance. However, only courts with jurisdiction over the offense can order such a warrant. This required amending 18 U.S.C. § 2703 and 18 U.S.C. § 2711.
Section 221: Trade sanctions
Section 221 (Trade sanctions) amended the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000. This Act prohibits, except under certain specific circumstances, the President from imposing a unilateral agricultural sanction or unilateral medical sanction against a foreign country or foreign entity. The Act holds various exceptions to this prohibition, and the Patriot Act further amended the exceptions to include holding sanctions against countries that design, develop or produce chemical or biological weapons, missiles, or weapons of mass destruction. It also amended the act to include the Taliban as state sponsors of international terrorism. In amending Title IX, section 906 of the Trade sanctions act, the Taliban was determined by the Secretary of State to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism and the export of agricultural commodities, medicine, or medical devices is now pursuant to one-year licenses issued and reviewed by the United States Government. However, the export of agricultural commodities, medicine, or medical devices to the Government of Syria or to the Government of North Korea were exempt from such a restriction.
The Patriot Act further states that nothing in the Trade Sanctions Act will limit the application of criminal or civil penalties to those who export agricultural commodities, medicine, or medical devices to:
Section 222: Assistance to law enforcement agencies
Section 222 (Assistance to law enforcement agencies) states that nothing in the Patriot Act shall make a communications provider or other individual provide more technical assistance to a law enforcement agency than what is set out in the Act. It also allows for the reasonable compensation of any expenses incurred while assisting with the establishment of pen registers or trap and trace devices.
18 U.S.C. § 2520(a) allows any person who has had their rights violated due to the illegal interception of communications to take civil action against the offending party. Section 223 (Civil liability for certain unauthorized disclosures) excluded the United States from such civil action.
If a court or appropriate department or agency determines that the United States or any of its departments or agencies has violated any provision of chapter 119 of the U.S. Code they may request an internal review from that agency or department. If necessary, an employee may then have administrative action taken against them. If the department or agency do not take action, then they must inform the notify the Inspector General who has jurisdiction over the agency or department, and they must give reasons to them why they did not take action.
A citizen’s rights will also be found to have been violated if an investigative, law enforcement officer or governmental entity discloses information beyond that allowed in 18 U.S.C. § 2517(a).
U.S. Code Title 18, Section 2712 added
A totally new section was appended to Title 18, Chapter 121 of the US Code: Section 2712, “Civil actions against the United States”. It allows people to take action against the US Government if they feel that they had their rights violated, as defined in chapter 121,chapter 119, or sections 106(a), 305(a), or 405(a) of FISA. The court may assess damages no less than $US10,000 and litigation costs that are reasonably incurred. Those seeking damages must present them to the relevant department or agency as specified in the procedures of the Federal Tort Claims Act.
Actions taken against the United States must be initiated within two years of when the claimant has had a reasonable chance to discover the violation. All cases are presented before a judge, not a jury. However, the court will order a stay of proceedings if they determine that if during the court case civil discovery will hurt the ability of the government to conduct a related investigation or the prosecution of a related criminal case. If the court orders the stay of proceedings they will extend the time period that a claimant has to take action on a reported violation. However, the government may respond to any action against it by submitting evidence ex parte in order to avoid disclosing any matter that may adversely affect a related investigation or a related criminal case. The plaintiff is then given an opportunity to make a submission to the court, not ex parte, and the court may request further information from either party.
If a person wishes to discover or obtain applications or orders or other materials relating to electronic surveillance or to discover, obtain, or suppress evidence or information obtained or derived from electronic surveillance under FISA, then the Attorney General may file an affidavit under oath that disclosure or an adversary hearing would harm the national security of the United States. In these cases, the court may review in camera and ex parte the material relating to the surveillance to make sure that such surveillance was lawfully authorized and conducted. The court may then disclose part of material relating to the surveillance. However, the court is restricted in they may only do this “where such disclosure is necessary to make an accurate determination of the legality of the surveillance”. If it then determined that the use of a pen register or trap and trace device was not lawfully authorized or conducted, the result of such surveillance may be suppressed as evidence. However, should the court determine that such surveillance was lawfully authorised and conducted, they may deny the motion of the aggrieved person.
It is further stated that if a court or appropriate department or agency determines that an officer or employee of the United States willfully or intentionally violated any provision of chapter 121 of the U.S. Code they will request an internal review from that agency or department. If necessary, an employee may then have administrative action taken against them. If the department or agency do not take action, then they must inform the notify the Inspector General who has jurisdiction over the agency or department, and they must give reasons to them why they did not take action. (see for a similar part of the Act)
Section 224: Sunset
||This article is outdated. (November 2010)
Section 224 (Sunset) is a sunset clause. Title II and the amendments made by the title originally would have ceased to have effect on December 31, 2005, with the exception of the below sections. However, on December 22, 2005, the sunset clause expiration date was extended to February 3, 2006, and then on February 2, 2006 it was further extended to March 10:
Title II sections that did not expire on March 10, 2006
||Authority to share criminal investigation information : Authority to share Grand Jury information
||Authority to share criminal investigation information : Procedures
||Employment of translators by the Federal Bureau of Investigation
||Designation of judges
||Scope of subpoenas for records of electronic communications
||Clarification of scope
||Authority for delaying notice of the execution of a warrant
||Modification of authorities relating to use of pen registers and trap and trace devices
||Single-jurisdiction search warrants for terrorism
||Assistance to law enforcement agencies
Further, any particular foreign intelligence investigations that are ongoing will continue to be run under the expired sections.
Section 225: Immunity for compliance with FISA wiretap
Section 225 (Immunity for compliance with FISA wiretap) gives legal immunity to any provider of a wire or electronic communication service, landlord, custodian, or other person that provides any information, facilities, or technical assistance in accordance with a court order or request for emergency assistance. This was added to FISA as section 105 (50 U.S.C. § 1805).
Notes and references
- Jump up^ See Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, section 434(2)
- Jump up^ See also: Charles Doyle (December 10, 2001), Terrorism: Section by Section Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, “Section 201. Authority to Intercept Wire, Oral, and Electronic Communications Relating to Terrorism.”, page 7 & Patrick Leahy, Section-bySection Analysis, “Sec. 201.”
- Jump up^ 18 U.S.C. § 2516(1)(c) — computer crime is a felony violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1030.
- Jump up^ See also: Charles Doyle (December 10, 2001), Terrorism: Section by Section Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, “Section 202. Authority to Intercept Wire, Oral, and Electronic Communications Relating to Computer Fraud and Abuse Offenses.”, page 8 & Patrick Leahy, Section-bySection Analysis, “Sec. 202.”
- Jump up^ 20 U.S.C. § 401a
- Jump up^ 18 U.S.C. § 2517
- Jump up^ See also: Charles Doyle (December 10, 2001), Terrorism: Section by Section Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, “Section 203. Authority to share criminal investigation information”, page 8 & Patrick Leahy, Section-by-Section Analysis, “Sec. 203.”
- Jump up^ 18 U.S.C. § 2511(2)(f) was amended to allow this change
- Jump up^ See also: Charles Doyle (December 10, 2001), Terrorism: Section by Section Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, “Section 204. Clarification of Intelligence Exceptions From Limitations on Interception and Disclosure of Wire, Oral and Electronic Communications.”, page 9 & Patrick Leahy, Section-by-Section Analysis, “Sec. 204.”
- Jump up^ See also: Charles Doyle (December 10, 2001), Terrorism: Section by Section Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, “Section 205. Employment of Translators by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”, page 9 & Patrick Leahy, Section-by-Section Analysis, “Sec. 205.”
- Jump up^ 50 U.S.C. § 1805(c)(2)(B)
- Jump up^ See also: Charles Doyle (December 10, 2001), Terrorism: Section by Section Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, “Section 206. Roving Surveillance Authority Under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.”, page 10 & Patrick Leahy, Section-by-Section Analysis, “Sec. 206.”
- Jump up^ See also: Charles Doyle (December 10, 2001), Terrorism: Section by Section Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, “Section 207. Duration of FISA Surveillance of Non-United States Persons Who are Agents of a Foreign Power.”, page 10 & Patrick Leahy, Section-by-Section Analysis, “Sec. 207.”
- Jump up^ See also: Charles Doyle (December 10, 2001), Terrorism: Section by Section Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, “Section 208. Designation of judges”, page 11 & Patrick Leahy, Section-by-Section Analysis, “Sec. 208.”
- Jump up^ A “Title III wiretap” is shorthand for Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, which deals with wiretaps and was the law that created Title 18, chapter 19 of the United States Code (entitled “Wire Interception and Interception of Oral Communications,” it includes 18 U.S.C. § 2510—18 U.S.C. § 2520)
- Jump up^ Patrick Leahy, section by section analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, section 209. Accessed November 12, 2005.
- Jump up^ See also: Charles Doyle (December 10, 2001), Terrorism: Section by Section Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, “Section 209. Seizure of voice-mail messages pursuant to warrants”, page 11
- Jump up^ 18 U.S.C. § 2703
- Jump up^ 18 U.S.C. § 2703(c)(2)
- Jump up^ See also: Charles Doyle (December 10, 2001), Terrorism: Section by Section Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, “Scope of subpoenas for records of electronic communications”, page 11 & Patrick Leahy, Section-by-Section Analysis, “Sec. 210.”
- Jump up^ See also: Charles Doyle (December 10, 2001), Terrorism: Section by Section Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, “Clarification of scope”, page 11 & Patrick Leahy, Section-by-Section Analysis, “Sec. 211.”
- Jump up^ 18 U.S.C. § 2702(a)(3)
- Jump up^ See also: Charles Doyle (December 10, 2001), Terrorism: Section by Section Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, “Emergency disclosure of electronic communications to protect life and limb”, page 12 & Patrick Leahy, Section-by-Section Analysis, “Sec. 212.”
- Jump up^ 18 U.S.C. § 3103a(a) states that “a warrant may be issued to search for and seize any property that constitutes evidence of a criminal offense in violation of the laws of the United States”
- Jump up^ 18 U.S.C. § 3103a
- Jump up^ For some analysis of section 213 of the PATRIOT Act, see: Charles Doyle (December 10, 2001), Terrorism: Section by Section Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, “Section 213: Authority for delaying notice of the execution of a warrant”, page 12 & Patrick Leahy, Section-by-Section Analysis, “Sec. 213.”
- Jump up^ Section 402 of FISA (50 U.S.C. § 1842) and Section 403 of FISA (50 U.S.C. § 1843) were both amended
- Jump up^ See also: Charles Doyle (December 10, 2001), Terrorism: Section by Section Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, “Section 214: Pen register and trap and trace authority under FISA”, page 13 & Patrick Leahy, Section-by-Section Analysis, “Sec. 214.”
- Jump up^ Carle, David (2011-01-26). “Leahy Renews Effort To Extend Expiring PATRIOT Act Authorities, Increase Oversight”. Press release from Senator Patrick Leahy‘s office (Washington). Archived from the original on 2011-05-27. Retrieved 2011-05-27.
- Jump up^ Mascaro, Lisa. “Congress votes in time to extend key Patriot Act provisions”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-05-27.
- Jump up^ Report on the Telephone Records Program Conducted Under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act and on the Operations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board
- Jump up^ Paul, Rand (2011-04-15). “Senator Rand Paul’s Letter of Opposition to the Patriot Act”. Archived from the original on 2011-05-27. Retrieved 2011-05-27.
- Jump up^ See also: Charles Doyle (December 10, 2001), Terrorism: Section by Section Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act, “Section 215: Access to records and other items under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act”, page 14 & Patrick Leahy, Section-by-Section Analysis, “Sec. 215.”
- ^ Jump up to:a b Ackermann, Spencer (17 July 2013). “NSA warned to rein in surveillance as agency reveals even greater scope”. The Guardian. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
- Jump up^ Bump, Philip (17 July 2013). “The NSA Admits It Analyzes More People’s Data Than Previously Revealed”. The Atlantic Wire. RetrievedJuly 18, 2013.
- Jump up^ Cite error: The named reference
McClatchy20130717 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
- Jump up^ 18 U.S.C. § 3123(b)(1)
- Jump up^ Mary DeRosa (undated), “Section 218, amending the FISA Standard, a summary by Mary DeRosa”, The Patriot Debates, accessed January 22, 2006
- Jump up^ Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, rule 41(a)
- Jump up^ The Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 is defined in title 22, chapter 79 of the United States Code
- Jump up^ Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000, Title IX, section 904(2)(C); corresponds to 22 U.S.C. § 7203(2)(C).
- Jump up^ Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000, title IX, section 906(A)(1) 22 U.S.C. § 7205(A)(1)
- Jump up^ Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000, title IX, section 906(A)(2) 22 U.S.C. § 7205(A)(2)
- Jump up^ This is defined in Executive Order No. 12947: “Prohibiting Transactions With Terrorists Who Threaten To Disrupt the Middle East Peace Process”
- Jump up^ This is defined in Executive Order No. 13224: “Blocking Property and Prohibiting Transactions With Persons Who Commit, Threaten to Commit, or Support Terrorism”
- Jump up^ Defined in Executive Order No. 12978: “Blocking Assets and Prohibiting Transactions with Significant Narcotics Traffickers”; & the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act
- Jump up^ As defined in section 216 of the Patriot Act.
- Jump up^ Defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2520(f) and 18 U.S.C. § 2707(d)
- ^ Jump up to:a b Defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2520(g) and 18 U.S.C. § 2707(g)
- ^ Jump up to:a b 18 U.S.C. § 2712(b)
- Jump up^ 50 U.S.C. § 1845(g)
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Ray Charles – Hit The Road Jack
Don McLean – American Pie
A long, long time ago
I can still remember how that music used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And maybe they’d be happy for a whileBut February made me shiver
With every paper I’d deliver
Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn’t take one more stepI can’t remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died[Chorus]
So bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
And them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye
Singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die”[Verse 1]
Did you write the book of love
And do you have faith in God above
If the Bible tells you so?
Now do you believe in rock and roll?
Can music save your mortal soul?
And can you teach me how to dance real slow?Well, I know that you’re in love with him
‘Cause I saw you dancin’ in the gym
You both kicked off your shoes
Man, I dig those rhythm and bluesI was a lonely teenage broncin’ buck
With a pink carnation and a pickup truck
But I knew I was out of luck
The day the music died[Chorus]
I started singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye
Singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die”[Verse 2]
Now for ten years we’ve been on our own
And moss grows fat on a rollin’ stone
But that’s not how it used to be
When the jester sang for the king and queen
In a coat he borrowed from James Dean
And a voice that came from you and meOh, and while the king was looking down
The jester stole his thorny crown
The courtroom was adjourned
No verdict was returnedAnd while Lenin read a book on Marx
The quartet practiced in the park
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day the music died[Chorus]
We were singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye
Singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die”[Verse 3]
Helter skelter in a summer swelter
The birds flew off with a fallout shelter
Eight miles high and falling fast
It landed foul on the grass
The players tried for a forward pass
With the jester on the sidelines in a cast
Now the halftime air was sweet perfume
While the sergeants played a marching tune
We all got up to dance
Oh, but we never got the chance
‘Cause the players tried to take the field
The marching band refused to yield
Do you recall what was revealed
The day the music died?
We started singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye
And singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die”
Oh, and there we were all in one place
A generation lost in space
With no time left to start again
So come on, Jack be nimble, Jack be quick
Jack Flash sat on a candlestick
‘Cause fire is the devil’s only friend
Oh, and as I watched him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage
No angel born in Hell
Could break that Satan’s spell
And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite
I saw Satan laughing with delight
The day the music died
He was singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye
And singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die”
I met a girl who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news
But she just smiled and turned away
I went down to the sacred store
Where I’d heard the music years before
But the man there said the music wouldn’t play
And in the streets, the children screamed
The lovers cried and the poets dreamed
But not a word was spoken
The church bells all were broken
And the three men I admire most
The Father, Son and the Holy Ghost
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died
And they were singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
And them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye
Singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die”
They were singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey in Rye
And singin’ “This’ll be the day that I die”
Mitt Romney will NOT run for President again: Former Massachusetts governor says he will not mount a third campaign
- ‘I’m not organizing a PAC or taking donations; I’m not hiring a campaign team,’ he told donors during a Friday morning conference call
- Jeb Bush boxed him out of access to big donors by getting in the race early with an exploratory committee
- Romney and his wife had told reporters time and time again that he wasn’t running in 2016 but few believed them
- CNN aired part of the private call live as Romney thanked his inner circle and said he thought another leader would have the best chance
- Romney will have dinner with Chris Christie on Friday night, raising new eyebrows about the aftermath of his bowing out
- White House paid him a backhanded compliment for messages about poverty, saying Republicans had used it as ‘a talking point’
By DAVID MARTOSKO, US POLITICAL EDITOR FOR DAILYMAIL.COM
Mitt Romney, who stumbled his way to a lackluster finish in the 2012 presidential election as the Republican nominee, will not make a third run at the political world’s ultimate prize.
The former Massachusetts governor told top donors Friday morning that ‘after putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the Party the opportunity to become our next nominee.’
‘I’ve been asked, and will certainly be asked again,’ he said, ‘if there are any circumstances whatsoever that might develop that could change my mind. That seems unlikely.’
‘Accordingly, I’m not organizing a PAC or taking donations; I’m not hiring a campaign team.’
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (left) campaigned with Romney in 2012, but he’s the main beneficiary of Mitt’s decidion to drop out of the next race early
That giant noise you hear this morning in suburban New York is the sound of opposition-research binders being shredded in the offices of Hillary Clinton, who was looking forward to taking on Romney in 2016
Mitt Romney will NOT run for president in 2016
Daily Mail Online obtained Romney’s prepared remarks from a consultant close to the former governor.
The White House reacted Friday by paying him a backhanded compliment.
Obama spokesman Josh Earnest said at the beginning of his press briefing that he hadn’t spoken to the president about Romney’ss decision, but offered his own observations.
Romney, he said, is ‘a man of great faith and a man who has tremendous loyalty and commitment to his country’ and ‘is worthy of our respect.’
‘He did say in recent days that he hoped that we can have a more robust debate in this country about what we could do to put in place policies that benefit middle class families,’ Earnest noted, before dismissing Republicans whom he said ‘have used the middle class as a talking point.’
JEB BUSH’S FACEBOOK FAREWELL TO MITT
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush posted this message on Facebook shortly after Romney’s inner-circle conference call ended:
‘Mitt Romney has been a leader in our party for many years. There are few people who have worked harder to elect Republicans across the country than he has. Though I’m sure today’s decision was not easy, I know that Mitt Romney will never stop advocating for renewing America’s promise through upward mobility, encouraging free enterprise and strengthening our national defense.
‘Mitt is a patriot and I join many in hoping his days of serving our nation and our party are not over. I look forward to working with him to ensure all Americans have a chance to rise up.
‘Columba and I wish Mitt, Ann and their entire family the very best.’
‘We are seeing more rhetoric from Republicans indicating what was a previously unstated concern for people who aren’t at the top,’ Earnest said.
‘All of a sudden … some Republicans seem to be changing their tune.’
Two weeks ago Earnest seemed to mock reports that Romney would be seeking the White House in 2016, addressing ‘reports that Governor Romney is considering gettng the band back together again.’
Obama drew jeers from Democratic lawmakers on Thursday night in Philadelphia when he said that ‘a former presidential candidate on the other side’ was ‘suddenly … just deeply concerned about poverty.’
‘That’s great. Let’s go. Come on. Let’s do something about it,’ he said.
Earnest dismissed the nation’s momentary fascination with a third Romney run.
‘I’m confident that Governor Romney will be someone whose endorsement will be, um, sought,’ he said Friday.
He also said Obama is ‘not disappointed’ that Romney won’t be part of the 2016 race.
Romney’s decision to end his much-discusion flirtation with another White House run comes just hours after a Fox News poll put Romney at the top of the pack, leading former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and others by a considerable margin
His 21 per cent support among Republican voters was nearly double that of a second-place cluster that included Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, with 11 per cent each, and Bush, with 10 per cent.
Romney’s infamous ‘47%’ comment and his reaction
Bush posted a statement on Facebook shortly after Romney made his announcement.
‘Though I’m sure today’s decision was not easy, I know that Mitt Romney will never stop advocating for renewing America’s promise through upward mobility, encouraging free enterprise and strengthening our national defense,’ he wrote.
‘Mitt is a patriot and I join many in hoping his days of serving our nation and our party are not over. I look forward to working with him to ensure all Americans have a chance to rise up.’
Jeb poached a key member of Romney’s poltical organization on Thursday.
David Kochel, an Iowa-based consultant who worked on ROmney’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns, went to work for Right to Rise, Bush’s new political action committee.
Romney’s first shot at the presidency came in 2008, when he lost the GOP nomination to Arizona Sen. John McCain.
He risked losing a third time to any of nearly two dozen other potential candidates, although Bush’s entry into the picture last month has caused the most concern – at least from a fundraising perspective.
‘Mitt Romney 3.0 was worried about Jeb Bush 1.0 freezing him out of the big money,’ a GOP campaign consultant in the early primary state of New Hampshire warned Daily Mail Online on Friday morning. ‘That’s why he’s sitting out.’
‘Let’s face it: Jeb has a month-long head start. Mitt was already running out of billionaires who haden’t already made commitments.’
SIX DAYS AGO: Broadcaster Larry King tweeted on Jan. 24 that Romney told him a decision would be forthcoming within two weeks
He seemed to recognize that reality on Friday, but framed his decision in terms of what some in the party had begun to call ‘Romney fatigue.’
‘I feel that it is critical that America elect a conservative leader to become our next president,’ he said. ‘You know that I have wanted to be that president.’
‘But I do not want to make it more difficult for someone else to emerge who may have a better chance of becoming that president.’
At the same time, Romney clung to the idea that his financing and organization would have been adequate to the task.
‘Our finance calls made it clear we would have enough funding to be more than competitive and with few exceptions our field political leadership is ready and enthusiastic about a new race.,’ he told supporters.
‘The reaction of Republican voters across the country was both surprising and heartening.’
CNN made waves Friday morning by airing part of the Romney conference call, which was a private conversation and not meant for the press.
Romney would have faced considerable challenges if he had run.
In addition to his complaint in 2012 that ’47 per cent’ of Americans who depend on government benefits to make ends meet would never vote for him, he has said over and over in the past two years that he’s no longer interested in the White House.
‘Oh, no, no, no,’ he told the New York Times twelve months ago. ‘No, no, no, no, no. No, no, no. I’m not running again.’
WINNER? New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie could benefit from Romney’s disappearance in presidential polls as much of his support among self-described ‘moderates’ had swung to Romney – and Romney himself will dine with Christie on Friday night
‘In February 2014, he said on Meet the Press: ‘You know, I’m not Ronald Reagan. And I’m not running for president. We’ve got some very good people who are considering the race. And I’m looking forward to supporting someone who I think will have the best shot of defeating whoever it is the Democrats put up.’
In June 2014 he told another NBC News interviewer that ‘I’m not running for president.’
‘I’m not running, I’m not planning on running, and I’ve got nothing new on that story,’ he told Bloomberg in October.
Ann Romney, the once upon a time would-be first lady, piled on too.
‘Done, completely,’ she said then. ‘Not only Mitt and I are done, but the kids are done. Done. Done. Done.’
Romney jumped back into the presidential discussion on Jan. 10, when he told a small group of former donors in New York that he was eyeing another White House run.
But it’s over for him as of Friday morning, as it became apparent that many of his past supporters and major fundraisers had defected to the Bush camp.
One told the Associated Press this week, ‘I have turned the page.’
Several called other candidates and their campaign consultants, pledgign support to presidential hopefuls including Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
Christie got a boost from news that he will have dinner with Romney on Friday night.
That could indicate the Utah Republican’s desire to box Jeb Bush out and help a different moderate alternative rise to take his place.
MITT ROMNEY’S PREPARED STATEMENT TO DONORS
‘Let me begin by letting you know who else is on this call, besides Ann and me. There are a large number of people who signed on to be leaders of our 2016 finance effort. In addition, state political leadership from several of the early primary states are on the line. And here in New York City, and on the phone, are people who have been helping me think through how to build a new team, as well as supporters from the past who have all been kind enough to volunteer their time during this deliberation stage. Welcome, and thank you. Your loyalty and friendship, and your desire to see the country with new, competent and conservative leadership warms my heart.
‘After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the Party the opportunity to become our next nominee.
‘Let me give you some of my thinking. First, I am convinced that with the help of the people on this call, we could win the nomination. Our finance calls made it clear that we would have enough funding to be more than competitive. With few exceptions, our field political leadership is ready and enthusiastic about a new race. And the reaction of Republican voters across the country was both surprising and heartening. I know that early poll numbers move up and down a great deal during a campaign, but we would have no doubt started in a strong position. One poll out just today shows me gaining support and leading the next closest contender by nearly two to one. I also am leading in all of the four early states. So I am convinced that we could win the nomination, but fully realize it would have been difficult test and a hard fight.
‘I also believe with the message of making the world safer, providing opportunity to every American regardless of the neighborhood they live in, and working to break the grip of poverty, I would have the best chance of beating the eventual Democrat nominee, but that is before the other contenders have had the opportunity to take their message to the voters.
‘I believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country, one who is just getting started, may well emerge as being better able to defeat the Democrat nominee. In fact, I expect and hope that to be the case.
‘I feel that it is critical that America elect a conservative leader to become our next president. You know that I have wanted to be that president. But I do not want to make it more difficult for someone else to emerge who may have a better chance of becoming that president. You can’t imagine how hard it is for Ann and me to step aside, especially knowing of your support and the support of so many people across the country. But we believe it is for the best of the Party and the nation.
‘I’ve been asked, and will certainly be asked again if there are any circumstances whatsoever that might develop that could change my mind. That seems unlikely. Accordingly, I’m not organizing a PAC or taking donations; I’m not hiring a campaign team.
‘I encourage all of you on this call to stay engaged in the critical process of selecting a Republican nominee for President. Please feel free to sign up on a campaign for a person who you believe may become our best nominee.
‘I believe a Republican winning back the White House is essential for our country, and I will do whatever I can to make that happen.
‘To all my supporters, friends and family who worked both tirelessly and loyally to support my campaigns in the past, I will always be deeply appreciative. What you have already done is a tribute to your patriotism. We are overwhelmed and humbled by your loyalty to us, by your generosity of spirit, and by your friendship. God bless you all.
The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio
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Just gave up on Rand Paul as future President of the United States.
Enforce the existing immigration laws and deport illegal aliens now.
Both the Democratic and Republican parties are selling out the American people.
Get a clue Senator, there are over 25 million American citizens looking for a full-time job.
The number of illegal aliens is not 11 million but over 40 million.
What we have now is not de facto amnesty but the unwillingness to enforce existing immigration law by both the Democratic and Republican parties.
More and more American citizens are leaving both political parties over this issue and out of control government spending.
The number of independents is growing while the number of Democrats and Republicans is declining.
Pass comprehensive immigration reform and the Democratic Party will get 75% of the formerly illegal alien vote.
The FairTax is much better than a flat income tax that does not require the huge IRS to collect.
Looks like Ted Cruz will be getting my vote.
I am a pro-life, limited government classical liberal and support the Tea Party and want balanced budgets now and budgeting to last years tax collections and eliminating baseline budgeting.
While I wanted to support Senator Paul for President, I will not be doing so now.
I have been a libertarian conservative that used to vote for Republicans, but no longer.
Both the Democratic and Republican parties have been captured by big interventionist government statists (BIGS).
Time to start another political party that puts the American citizens first and not illegal aliens.
The Republican Party has become the party of big interventionist government statists.
Start another political party or stay home.
Presidents Hoover, Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower enforced immigration law.
It is the responsibility of the Federal government under the Constitution to protect the states from invasions.
If millions of illegal aliens are over staying their visas and entering the U.S. illegally, this is an invasion.
Enforce existing immigration laws by removing illegal aliens from their place of employment and deporting them.
Stop encouraging and rewarding illegal behavior.
Otherwise you will keep attracting more and more illegal aliens.
Senator Rand Paul discusses individualism, freedom, and national security on Uncommon Knowledge
Senator Rand Paul “I Say To ALL Americans Enough’s ENOUGH! We’re NOT Gonna Take It Anymore!”
Pat Buchanan brings up operation Wet Back with open border liberal
Operation Wetback 1954
Rand Paul slams Obama s plans for Syria involvement
FULL Sen. Rand Paul Interview: President Obama Loses Moral Authority to Lead the Nation
Rand Paul: Voters ready for Libertarian Republican in 2016
Rand Paul (R KY) Interview On Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace
Rand Paul Discuses Civil Liberties On FreedomWorks on Tap – 7/17/2013
Sen Rand Paul Interviewed By Bill Bennett, July 25, 2013
Sen. Rand Paul Speaks at Veterans of Foreign Wars 144th National Convention- July 22, 2013
Rand Paul Interview Senator Are You Saying The General And Other Officials Are Liars
Rand Paul on Immigration Reform – We already have de facto amnesty for 11 Million
Rand Paul Interview: Rush Limbaugh (7 March 2013)
Rand Paul extended interview on The Sean Hannity Show 3/19/13
Laura Ingraham: Neoconservative view has clearly hurt the GOP (Rand Paul interview 3/08/13)
Tom Woods Interviews Rand Paul on the Budget, Ron Paul, and More
Rand Paul At Howard. Full Speech and Q & A
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Rush Limbaugh Details Pat Caddell’s Hammering GOP Consultant Class at CPAC
CPAC 2013 Promotional Video
March 14, 2013: The Day In 100 Seconds
cpac 2013 View from the main stage
Birds eye view CPAC 2013 from upstairs
Revolutionary CPAC 2013
CPAC 2013: Stop the Statists
Shooting Guns At CPAC
Voices of CPAC Why Stand with Rand T-Shirts
CPAC 2013 – The Guardian asks youngsters why they’re here, and what they want to hear
CPAC 2013 – The Guardian asks women if there are enough women at CPAC
Ken Cuccinelli Opens CPAC 2013
CPAC 2013 Invocation
CPAC 2013 – Pledge of Allegiance and Invocation
CPAC 2013 – Former Governor Mitt Romney (Intro by Gov. Nikki Haley)
CPAC 2013 – Governor Rick Perry
CPAC 2013 – Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA)
CPAC 2013 – Governor Scott Walker (R-WI)
Jebby Bush Speech At CPAC 2013
CPAC 2013 – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Rand Paul’s CPAC 2013 Speech – 3/14/2013
Pat Toomey’s Full Speech at CPAC 2013
CPAC 2013 – US Senator Tim Scott
CPAC 2013 – US Senator Mike Lee
CPAC 2013 – Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
CPAC 2013 – U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
CPAC 2013 – Rick Santorum
CPAC 2013 – President Obama’s Prayer Breakfast Club (feat. Dr. Ben Carson and Eric Metaxas)
CPAC 2013 – Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R-VA)
CPAC 2013 – Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton
CPAC 2013 – ACU National Director Gregg Keller
CPAC 2013 – Mario Lopez
CPAC 2013 – ACU Chairman Al Cardenas
CPAC 2013 – ACU Award for Conservative Philanthropy dedicated to Foster Friess
CPAC 2013 – Grover Norquist Moderates Balanced Budget Amendment Panel
CPAC 2013 – “Too Many American Wars” Panel
CPAC 2013 – “Smartest Guys in the Room” Panel
CPAC 2013 – Respecting Families and the Rule of Law: A Lasting Immigration Policy
CPAC 2013 – The Fight for Religious Liberty: 40 Years After Roe v. Wade
CPAC 2013 – Benghazi and its Aftermath
Full Tom Cotton Speech at CPAC 2013
Wayne LaPierre CPAC 2013 Speech | NRA vice president Wayne LaPierre ” They Call me Crazy ?! ”
CPAC 2013 David Bossie President of Citizens United
Donald Trump Speech CPAC 2013
CPAC 2013 – Fight Club (feat. Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala)
CPAC 2013 – The Right View and the Real Issues
Congressman Labrador Addresses CPAC 2013
CPAC 2013 – U.S. Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI)
CPAC 2013 – U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN)
CPAC 2013 – Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), Chairman Republican Study Committee
Congressman Labrador Addresses CPAC 2013
CPAC 2013 – Lt. Col. Allen West
CPAC 2013 – Former U.S. Representative Artur Davis
Greta Van Susteren on Gov. Christie’s CPAC Snub: ‘This Wasn’t An Accident’
CPAC 2013 – Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich Stands With Rand at CPAC
Raw Video from CPAC 2013 / iroots.org
CPAC 2013 – Tea Party Patriot’s Jenny Beth Martin
CPAC 2013 – Kristian Hawkins
CPAC 2013 – David Bossie, Citizens United
CPAC 2013 – Ronald Reagan Dinner (feat. Jeb Bush)
Raw Video CPAC 2013 The Tea Party Guy
Background Articles and Videos
Audio » Mark Levin – CPAC 2013 & William F. Buckley Jr. 1955 Conservatism
Charles Krauthammer Calls Chris Christie’s CPAC Snub A ‘Mistake’
Ron Meyer Analysis of CPAC Invites with Monica Mehta & Julie Roginsky on Neil Cavuto – 3-4-13
Christie Says He’s Not Bothered By Lack of Invite to Conservative Conference
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“If Mr. Paul wants to be taken seriously he needs to do more than pull political stunts that fire up impressionable libertarian kids in their college dorms.”
— Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaking on the Senate floor, quoting a Wall Street Journal editorial attacking Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.
I supported Senator Barry Goldwater for President in 1964 as a classical liberal or libertarian, as did Ronald Reagan.
Today I support Senator Rand Paul for President in 2016.
Senators McCain and Graham remind me of Governor Nelson Rockefeller, another progressive Republican.
Mike Huckabee: Thank you, Rand Paul
Rand Paul Fires Back At Filibuster Critics, Shocks Glenn Beck With Revelation
Shep Smith Offends John McCain W Interventionist Comment Grills Him Over Rand Paul
SA@TAC – What’s a ‘Neoconservative?’
SA@TAC – Ronald Reagan: Isolationist
SA@TAC – John McCain Supports Al-Qaeda
John McCain ATTACKS Rand Paul’s Filibuster
Laura Ingraham: Neoconservative view has clearly hurt the GOP (Rand Paul interview 3/08/13)
STAND WITH RAND
Rand Paul: Time To Bring Troops Home, Cut Foreign Aid, And Fix Entitlements – CNN 3/11/2013
“I Don’t Think We Should Go To War On ONE Person’s Authority” Rand Paul
What is classical liberalism?
Background Articles and Videos
Mind blowing speech by Robert Welch in 1958 predicting Insiders plans to destroy America
Mr. Conservative: Barry Goldwater at the 1964 Republican National Convention
Barry Goldwater: On the Failed Liberal Agenda
“A Time for Choosing” by Ronald Reagan
Congressman Ron Paul, MD – We’ve Been NeoConned
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Sen. Rand Paul on America’s Newsroom w/ Megyn Kelly to discuss the Brennan Filibuster – 3/7/13
Rand Paul Fires Back At Filibuster Critics, Shocks Glenn Beck With Revelation
Michelle Malkin: Did Rand Paul’s Filibuster Refurbish The Republican Party’s Tarnished Brand? 3/7/13
Sen. Paul appears on CNN’s Newsroom with Dana Bash- 3/7/2013
#StandWithRand Rand Paul Filibuster Highlights
Rand Paul Interview: Rush Limbaugh (7 March 2013)
Drone Strikes: Where Are Obama’s Tears For Those Child Victims?
Yes, Lethal Drone Attacks on Americans Are Allowed, Says Atty General
“The Obama administration believes it could technically use military force to kill an American on U.S. soil in an “extraordinary circumstance” but has “no intention of doing so,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a letter disclosed Tuesday.”*
It’s starting to happen. Attorney General Eric Holder says lethal drone attacks without due process on Americans while on American soil, are hypothetically legal. A surprising Republican Senator is standing against it. Do Republicans and Democrats make exceptions for their own “teams?” Cenk Uygur breaks it down.
Sean Hannity & Krauthammer Talk Excitement in GOP Grassroots on Rand Paul Filibuster & Spending Cuts
Drone Strikes on American Citizens, on US Soil. Sen. Rand Paul Talks with Sean Hannity
Reality Check: Sen. Rand Paul’s Talking Filibuster of John Brennan
Rand Paul blasted Obama for using drone strikes against American citizens
Rand Paul “Senators McCain & Graham Voted FOR Indefinite Detention Of Americans!”
What’s ‘Cooler’ Than Being ‘Cool’? Rand Paul’s Filibuster, According To Fox News’ The Five
Importing the War on Terror: Glenn Greenwald & Activist Trevor Timm on Domestic Drone Surveillance
Obama’s Chilling Secrecy, From Denying Drone Program’s Existence to Stonewalling on Legal Memos
Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs revealed over the weekend he was initially instructed to deny the existence of the Obama administration’s targeted killing program overseas. Even though the administration has since backed down from that stance, it continues to stonewall members of Congress on releasing the Justice Department memos explaining the program’s legal rationale. Unanswered questions around the program have held up the confirmation of CIA nominee John Brennan. “For a program that is so far reaching and that has so many consequences — not just in the word, but for the rule of law — the Obama administration has an obligation to be far more transparent than they’ve been so far,” says Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union.
US drones killed almost five thousand people
Special court to approve of killing Americans with drones?
Obama’s Kill List, Drones, & Assassinating U.S. Citizens
MQ-9 Reaper UAV Predator
Predator RQ-1 / MQ-1 / MQ-9 Reaper – Unmanned Aerial Vehicle part 1
Predator RQ-1 / MQ-1 / MQ-9 Reaper – Unmanned Aerial Vehicle part 2
Boeing Dominator air-launched UAV
Attack of the Drones – USA
The drone war and Obama’s “kill list” – Up w/ Chris Hayes (June 2nd, 2012)
Limits on Obama’s Flying Killer Robots?
Rand Paul: Obama Wants No Judicial Oversight To Kill An American – Hannity 3/5/2013
Eric Holder Admits Killing Americans With Drones on U.S. Soil is Unconstitutional
030613 – Sen. Rand Paul Senate Filibuster – HOUR 1
030613 – Sen. Rand Paul Senate Filibuster – HOUR 2
030613 – Sen. Rand Paul Senate Filibuster – HOUR 3
030613 – Sen. Rand Paul Senate Filibuster HOUR 4
030613 – Sen. Rand Paul Senate Filibuster HOUR 5
030613 – Sen. Rand Paul Senate Filibuster HOUR 6
030613 – Sen. Rand Paul Senate Filibuster HOUR 7
030613 – Sen. Rand Paul Senate Filibuster HOUR 8
030613 – Sen. Rand Paul Senate Filibuster Hour 9
Alluding to his full bladder, Sen. Rand Paul ends his filibuster in the Senate
Sen. Mike Lee Joins Rand Paul Filibuster of Brennan: ‘It Is The Opposite of Due Process’
Sen. Ted Cruz Joins Sen. Rand Paul’s Filibuster on Brennan Nomination Part 2
Sen. Jerry Moran Joins Rand Paul Filibuster: Drone Strikes on Americans Illogical ~ 3/6/2013
Sen. Ron Wyden Joins Rand Paul Filibuster: Drone Strikes Should Not Be Allowed Without Any Scrutiny
Harry Reid Tries, And Fails, to End Rand Paul’s Filibuster ~ 3/6/13
Alex Jones Show: Thursday (3-7-13) Full Show
Related Posts On Pronk Palisades
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Obama PROMISES To Cut Deficit In Half By 2012
Live Obama speech on debt 23th february 2009
Amazing – Obama Caught in Bald-Faced Lie on White House Sequester
Sequester- President Obama says $85B in spending cuts WILL kick in Friday
Judge Napolitano: Facts About Sequester Caught Up To Obama “His Scare Tactics Are Reprehensible”
Obama’s big lie and massive deficits: spending addiction disorder (SAD)
By Raymond Thomas Pronk
Crisis and fear mongering as well as blame shifting are again running rampant among the ruling political elites in Washington over out-of-control government spending and what to do about it.
President Barack Obama and progressive Congressional Democrats want to increase federal government spending by increasing taxes through closing so-called “tax loopholes” or more precisely eliminating existing tax deductions and credits in the Internal Revenue code.
House Speaker John Boehner and conservative Congressional Republicans want to decrease government spending and decrease tax rates by also eliminating “tax loopholes.” There is no middle ground to negotiate given the diametrically opposed positions of the political parties. This was not always the case.
Early in his first term Obama delivered a speech in the White House titled “A New Era of Responsibility,” captured on the YouTube video titled “Obama will cut deficit in half FEB 2009.” He said, “We cannot, and will not, sustain deficits like these without end. Contrary to the prevailing wisdom in Washington these past few years, we cannot simply spend as we please and defer the consequences to the next budget, the next administration, or the next generation.
“We are paying the price for these deficits right now. In 2008 alone, we paid $250 billion in interest on our debt — one in every 10 taxpayer dollars. That is more than three times what we spent on education that year; more than seven times what we spent on VA health care.
“So if we confront this crisis without also confronting the deficits that helped cause it, we risk sinking into another crisis down the road as our interest payments rise, our obligations come due, confidence in our economy erodes, and our children and our grandchildren are unable to pursue their dreams because they’re saddled with our debts.
“And that’s why today I’m pledging to cut the deficit we inherited in half by the end of my first term in office. This will not be easy. It will require us to make difficult decisions and face challenges we’ve long neglected. But I refuse to leave our children with a debt that they cannot repay — and that means taking responsibility right now, in this administration, for getting our spending under control.”
The last George W. Bush deficit for fiscal year 2008 was nearly $459 billion. If Obama was serious about meeting his pledge of cutting the deficit in half by the end of his first term, the deficit should have been less than $230 billion for fiscal year 2012. Obama did the exact opposite of what he promised the American people he would do in February 2009. Instead of cutting the deficit in half, he doubled the deficit to more than a trillion dollars for each fiscal year he has been in office as the table below clearly shows:
Summary of Spending Outlays, Tax Receipts, Deficits (-) or Surpluses, 2005-2013
(in millions of dollars)
|Source: The Budget for Fiscal Year 2013, Historical Tables, Table 1.1http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2013/assets/hist.pdf
These massive and unprecedented deficits required that the national debt be increased to pay for the government’s out-of-control spending and for Congress to increase the debt ceiling to $16.4 trillion. On Aug. 2, 2011 President Obama signed into law The Budget Control Act of 2011. This ended the so-called debt ceiling crisis by increasing the debt-level immediately by $400 billion and allowing Obama to ask for another increase of the ceiling by $500 billion with Congressional approval in the future. The law established the Congressional Joint Select Committee on Debt Reduction, better known as the “super committee,” with the task of reducing the deficit by $1.5 trillion by Dec. 23, 2011. The super committee failed to accomplish its assigned task.
This triggered the sequestration provisions in the law requiring across-the-board cuts in government spending of $1.2 trillion over 10 years with a corresponding increase in the debt-level by $1.2 trillion. Both Democrats and Republicans voted for the sequestration when they passed the law. However, the original idea for sequestration came from White House congressional relations chief Rob Nabors and Jack Lew, who was then budget director, whom with Obama’s approval presented the idea to Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, according to Bob Woodward as documented in his book “The Price of Politics.“
On Jan. 31, Congress suspended the borrowing limit or debt ceiling of $16.4 trillion for three months until May 19.
By March 1 Congress needed to cut $1.2 trillion from the growth in the Congressional Budget Office baseline for fiscal years 2013 through 2021 or the sequestration would be triggered. These automatic spending cuts had to come from both discretionary and mandatory spending.
Under the sequestration order for fiscal year 2013, signed by Obama on Mar. 1, there needs to be a $85.3 billion cut in growth in federal government budget authority of which $42.7 billion is defense, $28.7 billion non-defense discretionary, $9.9 billion Medicare and $4 billion other mandatory.
For fiscal year 2013 the total federal government spending outlays are estimated to be about $3.8 trillion with estimated total tax revenues of about $2.9 trillion resulting in a deficit of about $901 billion. The sequestration impact for fiscal year 2013 is an estimated $44 billion cut in spending outlays or about 1.4% of total federal government spending.
The crisis and fear mongering and blame shifting is never-ending as Congress must now agree to a fiscal year 2013 continuing resolution by March 31. Meanwhile the U.S. economy is on the verge of another recession with higher unemployment rates and many more millions of unemployed Americans.
The absence of leadership in Washington to budget to estimated tax receipts and by so doing live within the means of the American people is the core problem. The solution would require the repeal of Congress’s baseline budgeting process whereby current spending levels are used to determine future funding requirements by adding increased funding for population growth, inflation and other factors to the current level of spending. The congressional budget baseline process totally ignores estimated tax receipts or revenues as a budgetary constraint. The result is massive unsustainable deficits.
Obama’s new era of responsibility was pure propaganda prevarication. Obama’s age of fiscal insanity and spending addiction disorder continues to destroy jobs, wreck the economy and kill the American dream. Neither progressive Democrats nor Republicans have the will, courage, integrity, wisdom and vision to balance the federal budget. Truly unbelievable.
Historical Debt Outstanding – Annual 2000 – 2012
Includes legal tender notes, gold and silver certificates, etc.
The first fiscal year for the U.S. Government started Jan. 1, 1789. Congress changed the beginning of the fiscal year from Jan. 1 to Jul. 1 in 1842, and finally from Jul. 1 to Oct. 1 in 1977 where it remains today.
To find more historical information, visit The Public Debt Historical Information archives.
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In summer 2011, a partisan Congress sparred with the White House on how to solve the U.S. debt crisis. Judy Woodruff talks to journalist Bob Woodward about his new book, “The Price of Politics,” about how Washington’s politicians couldn’t look past their own political aspirations in order to forge a deal.
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Obama invented the ‘sequester’ in the summer of 2011 to avoid facing up to America’s spending problem.
A week from now, a dramatic new federal policy is set to go into effect that threatens U.S. national security, thousands of jobs and more. In a bit of irony, President Obama stood Tuesday with first responders who could lose their jobs if the policy goes into effect. Most Americans are just hearing about this Washington creation for the first time: the sequester. What they might not realize from Mr. Obama’s statements is that it is a product of the president’s own failed leadership.
The sequester is a wave of deep spending cuts scheduled to hit on March 1. Unless Congress acts, $85 billion in across-the-board cuts will occur this year, with another $1.1 trillion coming over the next decade. There is nothing wrong with cutting spending that much—we should be cutting even more—but the sequester is an ugly and dangerous way to do it.
By law, the sequester focuses on the narrow portion of the budget that funds the operating accounts for federal agencies and departments, including the Department of Defense. Exempt is most entitlement spending—the large portion of the budget that is driving the nation’s looming debt crisis. Should the sequester take effect, America’s military budget would be slashed nearly half a trillion dollars over the next 10 years. Border security, law enforcement, aviation safety and many other programs would all have diminished resources.
How did the country find itself in this mess?
During the summer of 2011, as Washington worked toward a plan to reduce the deficit to allow for an increase in the federal debt limit, President Obama and I very nearly came to a historic agreement. Unfortunately our deal fell apart at the last minute when the president demanded an extra $400 billion in new tax revenue—50% more than we had shaken hands on just days before.
It was a disappointing decision by the president, but with just days until a breach of the debt limit, a solution was still required—and fast. I immediately got together with Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell to forge a bipartisan congressional plan. It would be called the Budget Control Act.
The plan called for immediate caps on discretionary spending (to save $917 billion) and the creation of a special House-Senate “super committee” to find an additional $1.2 trillion in savings. The deal also included a simple but powerful mechanism to ensure that the committee met its deficit-reduction target: If it didn’t, the debt limit would not be increased again in a few months.
But President Obama was determined not to face another debt-limit increase before his re-election campaign. Having just blown up one deal, the president scuttled this bipartisan, bicameral agreement. His solution? A sequester.
With the debt limit set to be hit in a matter of hours, Republicans and Democrats in Congress reluctantly accepted the president’s demand for the sequester, and a revised version of the Budget Control Act was passed on a bipartisan basis.
Ultimately, the super committee failed to find an agreement, despite Republicans offering a balanced mix of spending cuts and new revenue through tax reform. As a result, the president’s sequester is now imminent.
Both parties today have a responsibility to find a bipartisan solution to the sequester. Turning it off and erasing its deficit reduction isn’t an option. What Congress should do is replace it with other spending cuts that put America on the path to a balanced budget in 10 years, without threatening national security.
Having first proposed and demanded the sequester, it would make sense that the president lead the effort to replace it. Unfortunately, he has put forth no detailed plan that can pass Congress, and the Senate—controlled by his Democratic allies—hasn’t even voted on a solution, let alone passed one. By contrast, House Republicans have twice passed plans to replace the sequester with common-sense cuts and reforms that protect national security.
The president has repeatedly called for even more tax revenue, but the American people don’t support trading spending cuts for higher taxes. They understand that the tax debate is now closed.
The president got his higher taxes—$600 billion from higher earners, with no spending cuts—at the end of 2012. He also got higher taxes via ObamaCare. Meanwhile, no one should be talking about raising taxes when the government is still paying people to play videogames, giving folks free cellphones, and buying $47,000 cigarette-smoking machines.
Washington must get serious about its spending problem. If it can’t reform America’s safety net and retirement-security programs, they will no longer be there for those who rely on them. Republicans’ willingness to do what is necessary to save these programs is well-known. But after four years, we haven’t seen the same type of courage from the president.
The president’s sequester is the wrong way to reduce the deficit, but it is here to stay until Washington Democrats get serious about cutting spending. The government simply cannot keep delaying the inevitable and spending money it doesn’t have.
So, as the president’s outrage about the sequester grows in coming days, Republicans have a simple response: Mr. President, we agree that your sequester is bad policy. What spending are you willing to cut to replace it?
— Mr. Boehner, a Republican congressman from Ohio, is speaker of the House.
A version of this article appeared February 20, 2013, on page A15 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: The President Is Raging Against a Budget Crisis He Created.
2013 United States federal budget
The 2013 United States federal budget is the budget to fund government operations for the fiscal year 2013, which is October 2012–September 2013. The original spending request was issued by President Barack Obama in February 2012. The actual appropriations for fiscal year 2013 must be authorized by the full Congress before the budget can take effect, in accordance with the United States budget process.
The Budget Control Act of 2011 mandates caps on discretionary spending, which under current law will be lowered beginning in January 2013 to remove $1.2 trillion of spending over the following ten years. In addition, several temporary tax cuts are scheduled to expire at the beginning of the 2013 calendar year, including the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts on income, capital gains, and estate tax, which had been extended in a 2010 tax deal, as well as a payroll tax cut that began as a result of the 2010 deal and had been most recently extended in an early 2012 tax deal. The combination of sudden spending cuts and tax increases has led to concerns about significant negative effects on the economy in the wake of the weak recovery from the late 2000s recession.
Budget Control Act and the Deficit Reduction Committee
The Budget Control Act of 2011 was passed in August 2011 as a resolution to the debt-ceiling crisis. The fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget is the first to be affected by the second of two rounds of budget cuts specified in the act. (The first round of cuts has already been applied to the ten years beginning in FY2012.) For this second round of cuts, the Budget Control Act had formed the United States Congress Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, sometimes referred to as the “supercommittee”, to identify at least $1.2 trillion in cuts over the ten years beginning with FY2013, and specified automatic across-the-board cuts of the same amount, equally split between security and non-security programs, if no such budget reduction legislation was passed by Congress.
On November 21, 2011, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction announced that it did not reach a deal on the budget-cutting legislation, raising the possibility that the automatic cuts would be activated if the full Congress could not enact its own deficit reduction legislation by December 23, 2011. The supercommittee’s lack of an agreement was attributed to the refusal of Republicans to consider any tax increases, combined with Democratic insistence on including these revenue increases such as the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, which under current law expire at the end of 2012.
President Obama’s February 2012 budget message to Congress addressed themes of economic crisis and response, an updated defense strategy, taxation fairness, income equality, fiscal responsibility, and investments in education and research to help the U.S. compete economically. He wrote: “The way to rebuild our economy and strengthen the middle class is to make sure that everyone in America gets a fair shot at success. Instead of lowering our standards and our sights, we need to win a race to the top for good jobs that pay well and offer security for the middle class. To succeed and thrive in the global, high-tech economy, we need America to be a place with the highest-skilled, highest-educated workers; the most advanced transportation and communication networks; and the strongest commitment to research and technology in the world. This Budget makes investments that can help America win this race, create good jobs, and lead in the world economy.”
Key elements of the President’s budget for fiscal year (FY) 2013 included expiration of a variety of tax cuts for couples earning over $250,000 ($200,000 if single), short-term stimulus measures to support job growth, and targeted tax cuts for families and businesses. The budget included 2013 revenues of $2.9 trillion or 17.8% GDP (up from $2.5 trillion or 15.8% GDP in 2012) and spending of $3.8 trillion or 23.3% GDP (similar to the prior year in dollar terms but below the 24.3% GDP in 2012). The projected 2013 deficit was $900 billion (5.5% GDP), down from the 2012 deficit of $1.3 trillion (8.5% GDP).
Over the 2013-2022 period, the budget essentially freezes defense and non-defense discretionary spending in dollar terms, such that these categories shrink relative to a growing economy, from 8.7% GDP to 5.9% GDP. Mandatory spending (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and other safety net programs) remain around 14% GDP. Net interest rises from 1.5% GDP to 3.3% GDP. Revenues rise steadily during the period from 17.8% GDP to 20.1% GDP, averaging 19.2% GDP. Debt held by the public rises from $12.6 trillion to $18.7 trillion, but remains flat around 77% GDP during the period.
On May 16, 2012, the United States Senate voted on a 52-page Republican budget amendment billed as a summary of the nearly 2,000 pages in the Obama administration’s 2013 budget proposal. The amendment was defeated by a unanimous 99–0 vote, which paralleled the House of Representatives having voted a similar rejection in March by a count of 414–0. Those defeats of the Republicans’ amendments marked the second year in a row such summary bills met unanimous opposition. In explaining their votes against, Congressional Democrats disputed whether the Republican summary accurately represented the Obama budget proposal; by contrast, Congressional Republicans claimed that their amendment included ample data taken directly from said budget.
Legislation begins to be passed
On July 31, 2012, a tentative deal was announced to fund the government from October 2012 through March 2013 through a continuing resolution, with spending rates slightly higher than the FY2012 levels. The deal was reached because Republicans were eager to avoid a prolonged dispute that could threaten a government shutdown just before the upcoming 2012 general elections. The bill, the Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2013, was passed in the House 329–91, passed in the Senate 62–30, and signed by President Obama on September 28, 2012.
On August 1, 2012, the House and Senate passed competing bills on the extension of the Bush tax cuts. The House bill would extend all the tax cuts for one year, while the Senate version would allow taxes to rise on incomes over $250,000. The passage of the bills was reported as being intended as political cover; progress on tax legislation was not expected until after the November elections.
In late December, the Republican House leadership proposed legislation that would allow tax cuts to rise relative to 2012 levels only for annual income over $1,000,000. The proposal was known as “Plan B”, and was intended to force the Senate and the Obama administration to pass it and delay further negotiations until the following month, when Republicans were expected to use the reaching of the federal debt limit as leverage. However, the House vote on the plan was abruptly cancelled on December 20, 2012 after it became clear that the bill did not have enough support to pass, due to conservative members of the House who would not support any legislation that would raise taxes without also cutting spending.
On December 28, 2012, the Senate passed the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013 to provide for $60.4 billion in additional spending to cover recovery costs from Hurricane Sandy, which had hit the northeastern United States in late October. The bill passed the Senate 62–32, but faced uncertain prospects in the House.
At around 2 a.m. on January 1, 2013, the Senate passed a compromise bill, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, by a margin of 89–8. The bill would delay the budget sequestration by two months, and bill includes $600 billion over ten years in new tax revenue relative to extending 2012 levels, which is about one-fifth of the revenue that would have been raised had no legislation been passed. The revenue would come from increased marginal income and capital gains tax rates relative to their 2012 levels for annual income over $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples; a phase-out of certain tax deductions and credits for those with incomes over $250,000 for individuals and $300,000 for couples, an increase in estate taxes relative to 2012 levels on estates over $5 million, and expiration of the two-year-old cut to payroll taxes, which is applied to income under the Social Security Wage Base, which was $110,100 in 2012. All these changes would all be made permanent. House Speaker John Boehner promised a prompt vote on the Senate bill, but the prospect of the House passing an amended bill raised the prospect that legislation might not be enacted by the end of the 112th Congress at noon on January 3.
Implications of the Budget Control Act
Main articles: Budget Control Act of 2011 and United States fiscal cliff
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The automatic cuts of $1.2 trillion resulting from the absence of a deal from the supercommittee over ten years would be split equally between security and non-security programs, and include $500 billion in cuts to the Department of Defense. The FY2013 defense budget would be reduced 11%, from $525 billion to $472 billion, after already having been cut from $571 billion in the first installment of cuts in the Budget Control Act. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta initially gave the total cut figure as 23%. The planned cuts include reductions in troop levels, a modest limit in pay raises for soldiers starting in 2015, an increase in health fees for veterans, delays in the construction of new naval ships and in the purchasing of new fighter aircraft such as the F-35, and the possibility of a round of base closings within the United States, but cuts to special operations, cyberwarfare, and intelligence programs were avoided. Initial reports had also suggested that the number of carrier battle groups might be reduced from 11 to 10, although it was later determined that the number of aircraft carriers would not in fact be cut. Some Republicans in Congress advocated reversing the cuts to the military, citing the effect on national security, and Secretary Panetta has opposed the cuts, calling them “devastating” and raising “substantial risk of not being able to meet our defense needs.” President Obama has promised to veto any legislation seeking to avoid the cuts, and House Speaker John Boehner also indicated his commitment to following the cuts in the Budget Control Act. According to the Center for American Progress, several Presidents have significantly reduced defense spending after wars, without compromising national security. Defense spending in 2011 remained high by historical standards, adjusted for inflation.
The Budget Control Act also specifies automatic cuts of 7.8% to domestic programs and 2% to Medicare, while Medicaid and Social Security will be unaffected. These entitlement programs were protected from cuts in return for the absence of new revenues in the Budget Control Act.
The automatic cuts to domestic programs would include cuts of up to 11% to science research and development agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, NASA, and the U. S. National Laboratories run by the Department of Energy. It is anticipated that this could cause federal grant acceptance levels to fall into the single digits, a consequence which has been called catastrophic for academic institutions by Michael Lubell of the American Physical Society. The cuts could also endanger politically controversial research such as climate change research programs in NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Due to the role of scientific research in economic growth and job creation, and given international competition in this field, the cuts have been opposed by professional and academic organizations, and federal support of research and development has been called “an area of U.S. investment too critical to be cut” by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Annual rates of increase in major revenue categories budgeted for the 2012-2022 period were:
- Individual income taxes: 8.4%
- Corporation income taxes: 8.2%
- Social insurance (mainly payroll) taxes: 6.6%
- Total tax revenues: 7.6%
Annual rates of increase in major spending categories budgeted for the 2012-2022 period were:
- Defense: 1.8%
- Non-defense discretionary: 1.6%
- Social Security: 5.8%
- Medicare: 6.6%
- Medicaid: 8.5%
- Net interest: 14.2%
- Total spending: 5.0%
Changes in revenues primarily represent a return to the long-run average. Tax revenues historically have averaged around 18% GDP. The subprime mortgage crisis resulted in significant declines in revenues due to high unemployment and reduced economic activity, with revenue falling to a record low 15% GDP. President Obama’s budget preserves the Bush income tax cuts for couples earning below $250,000, while eliminating some tax exemptions and deductions (tax expenditures).
Defense and non-defense discretionary expenses are essentially frozen in real dollar terms for the 2013-2022 period, growing at or below the rate of inflation. Department of Defense spending rose at an annual rate of 8% between 2000 and 2011; this amount includes both the baseline and war spending. Non-defense discretionary spending rose at an annual rate of 6.6% between 2000 and 2011. Mandatory spending is mainly driven by demographic changes (i.e., an aging population, with fewer workers per retiree), healthcare cost increases per capita, and Social Security cost of living adjustments. Interest costs represent a return to more typical interest rates as the economy recovers along with the growing public debt.
Total revenues and spending
The Obama administration’s February 2012 budget request contained $2.902 trillion in receipts and $3.803 trillion in outlays, for a deficit of $901 billion. The budget projects a reduction in the deficit to $575 billion by 2018 before rising to $704 billion by 2022.
Total receipts (in billions of dollars)::
|Individual income tax
|Corporate income tax
|Social Security and other payroll tax
|Estate and gift taxes
|Deposits of earnings and Federal Reserve System
|Other miscellaneous receipts
Total outlays by agency (in billions of dollars):
|Department of Defense including Overseas Contingency Operations
|Department of Health and Human Services including Medicare and Medicaid
|Department of Education
|Department of Veterans Affairs
|Department of Housing and Urban Development
|Department of State and Other International Programs
|Department of Homeland Security
|Department of Energy
|Department of Justice
|Department of Agriculture
|National Aeronautics and Space Administration
|National Intelligence Program
|Department of Transportation
|Department of the Treasury
|Department of the Interior
|Department of Labor
|Social Security Administration
|Department of Commerce
|Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works
|Environmental Protection Agency
|National Science Foundation
|Small Business Administration
|Corporation for National and Community Service
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- ^ Hensarling, Jeb (November 22, 2011). “Why the Super Committee Failed”. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 9, 2011.
- ^ Murray, Patty. “Deficit-reduction chair says she’s not done working for compromise”. Retrieved December 14, 2011.
- ^ Lisa Mascaro; Kathleen Hennessey (July 31, 2011). “U.S. leaders strike debt deal to avoid default”. Los Angeles Times.
- ^ a b Steinhauer, Jennifer; Cooper, Helene; and Pear, Robert (22 November 2011). “Panel Fails to Reach Deal on Plan for Deficit Reduction”. The New York Times: p. A18. Retrieved 7 December 2011.
- ^ President Obama-The Budget Message of the President-February 2012
- ^ OMB-President Obama’s 2013 Budget-Summary Tables S5 and S6
- ^ OMB-President Obama’s 2013 Budget-Summary Table S-6
- ^ OMB-President Obama’s 2013 Budget-Summary Table S15
- ^ Dinan, Stephen (16 May 2012). “Obama budget defeated 99-0 in Senate”. Washington Times. Retrieved 16 May 2012.
- ^ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/05/house-and-senate-unanimously-reject-obama-budgets-or-do-they/
- ^ Steinhauer, Jennifer (1 August 2012). “Leaders Reach Tentative Deal on Spending to Avoid Fight Before Election Day”. The New York Times: p. A11. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
- ^ Weisman, Jonathan (14 September 2012). “House Republicans Welcome Back Ryan, and His Vote, on a Spending Measure”. The New York Times: p. A13. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
- ^ “U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 112th Congress – 2nd Session: On the Joint Resolution (H.J.Res. 117)”. United States Senate. Retrieved 1 October 2012.
- ^ “Status of Appropriations Legislation for Fiscal Year 2013″. Library of Congress. Retrieved 1 October 2012.
- ^ Weisman, Jonathan (2 August 2012). “House Approves One-Year Extension of the Bush-Era Tax Cuts”. The New York Times: p. A12. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
- ^ Weisman, Jonathat (21 December 2012). “Boehner Cancels Tax Vote in Face of G.O.P. Revolt”. The New York Times: p. A1. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
- ^ Hernandez, Raymond (29 December 2012). “Senate Passes $60.4 Billion for Storm Aid; Bill’s Fate in House Is Unclear”. The New York Times: p. A15. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
- ^ Weisman, Jonathan (1 January 2013). “Senate Passes Legislation to Allow Taxes on Affluent to Rise”. The New York Times. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
- ^ Hook, Janet; Hughes, Siobhan (1 January 2013). “Fiscal-Cliff Focus Moves to House”. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
- ^ Steinhauer, Jennifer; Weisman, Jonathan (1 January 2013). “G.O.P. Anger Over Tax Deal Endangers Final Passage”. The New York Times. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
- ^ a b Bumiller, Elisabeth (23 November 2011). “Despite Threat of Cuts, Pentagon Officials Made No Contingency Plans”. The New York Times: p. A20. Retrieved 7 December 2011.
- ^ Bumiller, Elisabeth; Shanker, Thom (27 January 2012). “Defense Budget Cuts Would Limit Raises and Close Bases”. The New York Times: p. A12. Retrieved 3 February 2012.
- ^ Stewart, Phil (21 January 2012). “U.S. won’t cut carrier fleet to fix budget, Panetta says”. Reuters. Retrieved 3 February 2012.
- ^ Steinhauer, Jennifer (23 November 2011). “Automatic Military Cuts May Stand in Congress”. The New York Times: p. A20. Retrieved 7 December 2011.
- ^ Center on American Progress-A Historical Perspective on Defense Spending-July 2011
- ^ Bendavid, Naftali (21 November 2011). “Congress’s Deficit ‘Bomb’: Scary or Not?”. Washington Wire. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 7 December 2011.
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- ^ a b CBO-Long Term Economic Outlook-January 2012
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- ^ Weisman, Jonathan (2012-02-10). “Obama Budget Bets Other Concerns Will Trump the Deficit”. New York Times. Retrieved 2012-04-22.
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Rand Paul Gives The Tea Party Response To The President’s State of the Union Address
Rand Paul’s Plan To Grow The Economy – Glenn Beck Radio 2/13/2013
Senator Rand Paul: Restoring the Founders’ Vision of Foreign Policy – Heritage Foundation
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The 2013 State of the Union Address
Rand Paul Gives The Tea Party Response To The President’s State of the Union Address
Marco Rubio – 2013 State of the Union – GOP Response w/ Water Break (12:01) (English)
Transcript: Obama’s State Of The Union Address As Prepared For Delivery
Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, fellow citizens:
Fifty-one years ago, John F. Kennedy declared to this Chamber that “the Constitution makes us not rivals for power but partners for progress…It is my task,” he said, “to report the State of the Union – to improve it is the task of us all.”
Tonight, thanks to the grit and determination of the American people, there is much progress to report. After a decade of grinding war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home. After years of grueling recession, our businesses have created over six million new jobs. We buy more American cars than we have in five years, and less foreign oil than we have in twenty. Our housing market is healing, our stock market is rebounding, and consumers, patients, and homeowners enjoy stronger protections than ever before.
Together, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and can say with renewed confidence that the state of our union is stronger.
But we gather here knowing that there are millions of Americans whose hard work and dedication have not yet been rewarded. Our economy is adding jobs – but too many people still can’t find full-time employment. Corporate profits have rocketed to all-time highs – but for more than a decade, wages and incomes have barely budged.
It is our generation’s task, then, to reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth – a rising, thriving middle class.
It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country – the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love.
It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many, and not just the few; that it encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative, and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great nation.
The American people don’t expect government to solve every problem. They don’t expect those of us in this chamber to agree on every issue. But they do expect us to put the nation’s interests before party. They do expect us to forge reasonable compromise where we can. For they know that America moves forward only when we do so together; and that the responsibility of improving this union remains the task of us all.
Our work must begin by making some basic decisions about our budget – decisions that will have a huge impact on the strength of our recovery.
Over the last few years, both parties have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion – mostly through spending cuts, but also by raising tax rates on the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. As a result, we are more than halfway towards the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists say we need to stabilize our finances.
Now we need to finish the job. And the question is, how?
In 2011, Congress passed a law saying that if both parties couldn’t agree on a plan to reach our deficit goal, about a trillion dollars’ worth of budget cuts would automatically go into effect this year. These sudden, harsh, arbitrary cuts would jeopardize our military readiness. They’d devastate priorities like education, energy, and medical research. They would certainly slow our recovery, and cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs. That’s why Democrats, Republicans, business leaders, and economists have already said that these cuts, known here in Washington as “the sequester,” are a really bad idea.
Now, some in this Congress have proposed preventing only the defense cuts by making even bigger cuts to things like education and job training; Medicare and Social Security benefits.
That idea is even worse. Yes, the biggest driver of our long-term debt is the rising cost of health care for an aging population. And those of us who care deeply about programs like Medicare must embrace the need for modest reforms – otherwise, our retirement programs will crowd out the investments we need for our children, and jeopardize the promise of a secure retirement for future generations.
But we can’t ask senior citizens and working families to shoulder the entire burden of deficit reduction while asking nothing more from the wealthiest and most powerful. We won’t grow the middle class simply by shifting the cost of health care or college onto families that are already struggling, or by forcing communities to lay off more teachers, cops, and firefighters. Most Americans – Democrats, Republicans, and Independents – understand that we can’t just cut our way to prosperity. They know that broad-based economic growth requires a balanced approach to deficit reduction, with spending cuts and revenue, and with everybody doing their fair share. And that’s the approach I offer tonight.
On Medicare, I’m prepared to enact reforms that will achieve the same amount of health care savings by the beginning of the next decade as the reforms proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission. Already, the Affordable Care Act is helping to slow the growth of health care costs. The reforms I’m proposing go even further. We’ll reduce taxpayer subsidies to prescription drug companies and ask more from the wealthiest seniors. We’ll bring down costs by changing the way our government pays for Medicare, because our medical bills shouldn’t be based on the number of tests ordered or days spent in the hospital – they should be based on the quality of care that our seniors receive. And I am open to additional reforms from both parties, so long as they don’t violate the guarantee of a secure retirement. Our government shouldn’t make promises we cannot keep – but we must keep the promises we’ve already made.
To hit the rest of our deficit reduction target, we should do what leaders in both parties have already suggested, and save hundreds of billions of dollars by getting rid of tax loopholes and deductions for the well-off and well-connected. After all, why would we choose to make deeper cuts to education and Medicare just to protect special interest tax breaks? How is that fair? How does that promote growth?
Now is our best chance for bipartisan, comprehensive tax reform that encourages job creation and helps bring down the deficit. The American people deserve a tax code that helps small businesses spend less time filling out complicated forms, and more time expanding and hiring; a tax code that ensures billionaires with high-powered accountants can’t pay a lower rate than their hard-working secretaries; a tax code that lowers incentives to move jobs overseas, and lowers tax rates for businesses and manufacturers that create jobs right here in America. That’s what tax reform can deliver. That’s what we can do together.
I realize that tax reform and entitlement reform won’t be easy. The politics will be hard for both sides. None of us will get 100 percent of what we want. But the alternative will cost us jobs, hurt our economy, and visit hardship on millions of hardworking Americans. So let’s set party interests aside, and work to pass a budget that replaces reckless cuts with smart savings and wise investments in our future. And let’s do it without the brinksmanship that stresses consumers and scares off investors. The greatest nation on Earth cannot keep conducting its business by drifting from one manufactured crisis to the next. Let’s agree, right here, right now, to keep the people’s government open, pay our bills on time, and always uphold the full faith and credit of the United States of America. The American people have worked too hard, for too long, rebuilding from one crisis to see their elected officials cause another.
Now, most of us agree that a plan to reduce the deficit must be part of our agenda. But let’s be clear: deficit reduction alone is not an economic plan. A growing economy that creates good, middle-class jobs – that must be the North Star that guides our efforts. Every day, we should ask ourselves three questions as a nation: How do we attract more jobs to our shores? How do we equip our people with the skills needed to do those jobs? And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living?
A year and a half ago, I put forward an American Jobs Act that independent economists said would create more than one million new jobs. I thank the last Congress for passing some of that agenda, and I urge this Congress to pass the rest. Tonight, I’ll lay out additional proposals that are fully paid for and fully consistent with the budget framework both parties agreed to just 18 months ago. Let me repeat – nothing I’m proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime. It’s not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth.
Our first priority is making America a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing.
After shedding jobs for more than 10 years, our manufacturers have added about 500,000 jobs over the past three. Caterpillar is bringing jobs back from Japan. Ford is bringing jobs back from Mexico. After locating plants in other countries like China, Intel is opening its most advanced plant right here at home. And this year, Apple will start making Macs in America again.
There are things we can do, right now, to accelerate this trend. Last year, we created our first manufacturing innovation institute in Youngstown, Ohio. A once-shuttered warehouse is now a state-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering the 3D printing that has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything. There’s no reason this can’t happen in other towns. So tonight, I’m announcing the launch of three more of these manufacturing hubs, where businesses will partner with the Departments of Defense and Energy to turn regions left behind by globalization into global centers of high-tech jobs. And I ask this Congress to help create a network of fifteen of these hubs and guarantee that the next revolution in manufacturing is Made in America.
If we want to make the best products, we also have to invest in the best ideas. Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy. Today, our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer’s; developing drugs to regenerate damaged organs; devising new material to make batteries ten times more powerful. Now is not the time to gut these job-creating investments in science and innovation. Now is the time to reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the Space Race. And today, no area holds more promise than our investments in American energy.
After years of talking about it, we are finally poised to control our own energy future. We produce more oil at home than we have in 15 years. We have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas, and the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar – with tens of thousands of good, American jobs to show for it. We produce more natural gas than ever before – and nearly everyone’s energy bill is lower because of it. And over the last four years, our emissions of the dangerous carbon pollution that threatens our planet have actually fallen.
But for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change. Yes, it’s true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods – all are now more frequent and intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science – and act before it’s too late.
The good news is, we can make meaningful progress on this issue while driving strong economic growth. I urge this Congress to pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago. But if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.
Four years ago, other countries dominated the clean energy market and the jobs that came with it. We’ve begun to change that. Last year, wind energy added nearly half of all new power capacity in America. So let’s generate even more. Solar energy gets cheaper by the year – so let’s drive costs down even further. As long as countries like China keep going all-in on clean energy, so must we.
In the meantime, the natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence. That’s why my Administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits. But I also want to work with this Congress to encourage the research and technology that helps natural gas burn even cleaner and protects our air and water.
Indeed, much of our new-found energy is drawn from lands and waters that we, the public, own together. So tonight, I propose we use some of our oil and gas revenues to fund an Energy Security Trust that will drive new research and technology to shift our cars and trucks off oil for good. If a non-partisan coalition of CEOs and retired generals and admirals can get behind this idea, then so can we. Let’s take their advice and free our families and businesses from the painful spikes in gas prices we’ve put up with for far too long. I’m also issuing a new goal for America: let’s cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next twenty years. The states with the best ideas to create jobs and lower energy bills by constructing more efficient buildings will receive federal support to help make it happen.
America’s energy sector is just one part of an aging infrastructure badly in need of repair. Ask any CEO where they’d rather locate and hire: a country with deteriorating roads and bridges, or one with high-speed rail and internet; high-tech schools and self-healing power grids. The CEO of Siemens America – a company that brought hundreds of new jobs to North Carolina – has said that if we upgrade our infrastructure, they’ll bring even more jobs. And I know that you want these job-creating projects in your districts. I’ve seen you all at the ribbon-cuttings.
Tonight, I propose a “Fix-It-First” program to put people to work as soon as possible on our most urgent repairs, like the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country. And to make sure taxpayers don’t shoulder the whole burden, I’m also proposing a Partnership to Rebuild America that attracts private capital to upgrade what our businesses need most: modern ports to move our goods; modern pipelines to withstand a storm; modern schools worthy of our children. Let’s prove that there is no better place to do business than the United States of America. And let’s start right away.
Part of our rebuilding effort must also involve our housing sector. Today, our housing market is finally healing from the collapse of 2007. Home prices are rising at the fastest pace in six years, home purchases are up nearly 50 percent, and construction is expanding again.
But even with mortgage rates near a 50-year low, too many families with solid credit who want to buy a home are being rejected. Too many families who have never missed a payment and want to refinance are being told no. That’s holding our entire economy back, and we need to fix it. Right now, there’s a bill in this Congress that would give every responsible homeowner in America the chance to save $3,000 a year by refinancing at today’s rates. Democrats and Republicans have supported it before. What are we waiting for? Take a vote, and send me that bill. Right now, overlapping regulations keep responsible young families from buying their first home. What’s holding us back? Let’s streamline the process, and help our economy grow.
These initiatives in manufacturing, energy, infrastructure, and housing will help entrepreneurs and small business owners expand and create new jobs. But none of it will matter unless we also equip our citizens with the skills and training to fill those jobs. And that has to start at the earliest possible age.
Study after study shows that the sooner a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road. But today, fewer than 3 in 10 four year-olds are enrolled in a high-quality preschool program. Most middle-class parents can’t afford a few hundred bucks a week for private preschool. And for poor kids who need help the most, this lack of access to preschool education can shadow them for the rest of their lives.
Tonight, I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every child in America. Every dollar we invest in high-quality early education can save more than seven dollars later on – by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime. In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children, like Georgia or Oklahoma, studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, and form more stable families of their own. So let’s do what works, and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind. Let’s give our kids that chance.
Let’s also make sure that a high school diploma puts our kids on a path to a good job. Right now, countries like Germany focus on graduating their high school students with the equivalent of a technical degree from one of our community colleges, so that they’re ready for a job. At schools like P-Tech in Brooklyn, a collaboration between New York Public Schools, the City University of New York, and IBM, students will graduate with a high school diploma and an associate degree in computers or engineering.
We need to give every American student opportunities like this. Four years ago, we started Race to the Top – a competition that convinced almost every state to develop smarter curricula and higher standards, for about 1 percent of what we spend on education each year. Tonight, I’m announcing a new challenge to redesign America’s high schools so they better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy. We’ll reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers, and create classes that focus on science, technology, engineering, and math – the skills today’s employers are looking for to fill jobs right now and in the future.
Now, even with better high schools, most young people will need some higher education. It’s a simple fact: the more education you have, the more likely you are to have a job and work your way into the middle class. But today, skyrocketing costs price way too many young people out of a higher education, or saddle them with unsustainable debt.
Through tax credits, grants, and better loans, we have made college more affordable for millions of students and families over the last few years. But taxpayers cannot continue to subsidize the soaring cost of higher education. Colleges must do their part to keep costs down, and it’s our job to make sure they do. Tonight, I ask Congress to change the Higher Education Act, so that affordability and value are included in determining which colleges receive certain types of federal aid. And tomorrow, my Administration will release a new “College Scorecard” that parents and students can use to compare schools based on a simple criteria: where you can get the most bang for your educational buck.
To grow our middle class, our citizens must have access to the education and training that today’s jobs require. But we also have to make sure that America remains a place where everyone who’s willing to work hard has the chance to get ahead.
Our economy is stronger when we harness the talents and ingenuity of striving, hopeful immigrants. And right now, leaders from the business, labor, law enforcement, and faith communities all agree that the time has come to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
Real reform means strong border security, and we can build on the progress my Administration has already made – putting more boots on the southern border than at any time in our history, and reducing illegal crossings to their lowest levels in 40 years.
Real reform means establishing a responsible pathway to earned citizenship – a path that includes passing a background check, paying taxes and a meaningful penalty, learning English, and going to the back of the line behind the folks trying to come here legally.
And real reform means fixing the legal immigration system to cut waiting periods, reduce bureaucracy, and attract the highly-skilled entrepreneurs and engineers that will help create jobs and grow our economy.
In other words, we know what needs to be done. As we speak, bipartisan groups in both chambers are working diligently to draft a bill, and I applaud their efforts. Now let’s get this done. Send me a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the next few months, and I will sign it right away.
But we can’t stop there. We know our economy is stronger when our wives, mothers, and daughters can live their lives free from discrimination in the workplace, and free from the fear of domestic violence. Today, the Senate passed the Violence Against Women Act that Joe Biden originally wrote almost 20 years ago. I urge the House to do the same. And I ask this Congress to declare that women should earn a living equal to their efforts, and finally pass the Paycheck Fairness Act this year.
We know our economy is stronger when we reward an honest day’s work with honest wages. But today, a full-time worker making the minimum wage earns $14,500 a year. Even with the tax relief we’ve put in place, a family with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty line. That’s wrong. That’s why, since the last time this Congress raised the minimum wage, nineteen states have chosen to bump theirs even higher.
Tonight, let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour. This single step would raise the incomes of millions of working families. It could mean the difference between groceries or the food bank; rent or eviction; scraping by or finally getting ahead. For businesses across the country, it would mean customers with more money in their pockets. In fact, working folks shouldn’t have to wait year after year for the minimum wage to go up while CEO pay has never been higher. So here’s an idea that Governor Romney and I actually agreed on last year: let’s tie the minimum wage to the cost of living, so that it finally becomes a wage you can live on.
Tonight, let’s also recognize that there are communities in this country where no matter how hard you work, it’s virtually impossible to get ahead. Factory towns decimated from years of plants packing up. Inescapable pockets of poverty, urban and rural, where young adults are still fighting for their first job. America is not a place where chance of birth or circumstance should decide our destiny. And that is why we need to build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class for all who are willing to climb them.
Let’s offer incentives to companies that hire Americans who’ve got what it takes to fill that job opening, but have been out of work so long that no one will give them a chance. Let’s put people back to work rebuilding vacant homes in run-down neighborhoods. And this year, my Administration will begin to partner with 20 of the hardest-hit towns in America to get these communities back on their feet. We’ll work with local leaders to target resources at public safety, education, and housing. We’ll give new tax credits to businesses that hire and invest. And we’ll work to strengthen families by removing the financial deterrents to marriage for low-income couples, and doing more to encourage fatherhood – because what makes you a man isn’t the ability to conceive a child; it’s having the courage to raise one.
Stronger families. Stronger communities. A stronger America. It is this kind of prosperity – broad, shared, and built on a thriving middle class – that has always been the source of our progress at home. It is also the foundation of our power and influence throughout the world.
Tonight, we stand united in saluting the troops and civilians who sacrifice every day to protect us. Because of them, we can say with confidence that America will complete its mission in Afghanistan, and achieve our objective of defeating the core of al Qaeda. Already, we have brought home 33,000 of our brave servicemen and women. This spring, our forces will move into a support role, while Afghan security forces take the lead. Tonight, I can announce that over the next year, another 34,000 American troops will come home from Afghanistan. This drawdown will continue. And by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over.
Beyond 2014, America’s commitment to a unified and sovereign Afghanistan will endure, but the nature of our commitment will change. We are negotiating an agreement with the Afghan government that focuses on two missions: training and equipping Afghan forces so that the country does not again slip into chaos, and counter-terrorism efforts that allow us to pursue the remnants of al Qaeda and their affiliates.
Today, the organization that attacked us on 9/11 is a shadow of its former self. Different al Qaeda affiliates and extremist groups have emerged – from the Arabian Peninsula to Africa. The threat these groups pose is evolving. But to meet this threat, we don’t need to send tens of thousands of our sons and daughters abroad, or occupy other nations. Instead, we will need to help countries like Yemen, Libya, and Somalia provide for their own security, and help allies who take the fight to terrorists, as we have in Mali. And, where necessary, through a range of capabilities, we will continue to take direct action against those terrorists who pose the gravest threat to Americans.
As we do, we must enlist our values in the fight. That is why my Administration has worked tirelessly to forge a durable legal and policy framework to guide our counterterrorism operations. Throughout, we have kept Congress fully informed of our efforts. I recognize that in our democracy, no one should just take my word that we’re doing things the right way. So, in the months ahead, I will continue to engage with Congress to ensure not only that our targeting, detention, and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances, but that our efforts are even more transparent to the American people and to the world.
Of course, our challenges don’t end with al Qaeda. America will continue to lead the effort to prevent the spread of the world’s most dangerous weapons. The regime in North Korea must know that they will only achieve security and prosperity by meeting their international oblig