Rep. Alan Grayson on the NSA:
Let’s start with the name of the court, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. As the name of the act implies, the jurisdiction of the court is limited to foreign surveillance and foreign threats. This is by statute.
Well, let me say to the NSA and to the Defense Department,
you can rest assured there is no threat to America when I talk to my mother.
Now, what exactly is wrong with this? What’s wrong with this, first of all, is that there is a firewall between the Defense Department and the CIA on the one hand, and the FBI and the Department of Justice on the other. One protects us from international threats, the other one protects us from domestic threats. That’s been the law in America since the 1870s when Congress enacted and the President signed the Posse Comitatus Act. And this order crushes that distinction. It eliminates it, it obliterates it, it kills it now and forever.
Now, the second thing that is offensive about this court order is that it clearly violates the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment reads as follows: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.Now, first of all, when the government seizes your phone records, unless you happen to be Osama Bin Laden or someone close to him, there is no reason why the government would believe or have reason to believe probable cause that you’ve committed a crime or you’re going to commit a crime or you have any evidence about someone committing a crime. There’s no probable cause here.
Secondly, the Fourth Amendment requires particularity. There’s no particularity when the government insists by court order and under threat of further action that Verizon or AT&T or Sprint or anyone else be required to turn over their phone records to the government. There’s no particularity.
The NSA also says that, for reasons not evident from this document at all, they don’t do this for U.S. citizens. Now, that raises a host of questions.
So if there is something that indicates that the NSA is only doing this for Americans, apparently it’s not in this document, and we’ve reached a strange point where people are being trained in the NSA to have the ability to get the emails and the other information on Americans, but somehow we are told later, separately, that that’s not correct. In addition to that, the NSA says that there is some process by which they can distinguish between the emails of Americans and the emails of foreigners.
Frankly, that is a technology so advanced to me that it seems like it might be magic. I used to be the president of a telephone company. I have literally no idea how I could distinguish between the email accounts of an American and a foreigner. I don’t know how to do it. Maybe they can tell us how they do it if they’re doing it at all. That’s the real question: if they’re doing it at all. I don’t know how they could possibly say this email account is for a foreigner, and this email account is for an American. If they can’t, that means they’re taking all this stuff -- American and foreign -- and having it, using it, looking at it, and destroying our privacy rights.
That really is the heart of the matter here.
I don’t understand why anyone would think that it’s somehow okay for the Department of Defense to get every single one of our call records regardless of who we are, regardless of whether we are innocent or guilty of anything. I venture to say that there are Americans who have never even had a parking ticket; yet the Defense Department is pulling their call records as well. Eventually, we will find out whether the NSA’s own document is misleading and whether the NSA is not pulling email accounts and emails and photos and VoIP calls on people who are Americans, because, if you read this document, it sure looks like they are.
This is not the first time that we have had this problem. This is not the first time that the government has entered into surveillance on people without probable cause. Many of us remember that there was FBI surveillance of Martin Luther King, including the wiretapping and bugging of his personal conversations. I thought, perhaps naively, that we had moved beyond that. In some sense, we have moved beyond that because now they’re doing it to everyone. In fact, one could well say that we are reaching the point at which Uncle Sam is Big Brother.
I submit to you that this program, although the proponents picked it as American as ‘‘apple spy,’’ is an anti-American program. We are not North Koreans. We don’t live in Nazi Germany. We are Americans and we are human beings, and we deserve to have our privacy respected. I have no way to call my mother except to employ the services of Verizon or AT&T or some other telephone company. I’m not going to string two cups between my house and her house 70 miles away. That doesn’t mean that it’s okay with me for the government -- and specifically the Department of Defense -- to be getting information about every telephone call I make to her. It’s not okay with me.
H3640 -- CONGRESSIONAL RECORD—HOUSE -- June 14, 2013
Rep. Alan Grayson on the NSA: American As Apple Spy
June 14, 2013
link to video
Full transcript available here.
When you talk to your Mom on the phone, or send your Dad an email, or your 'significant other' a personal Text -- are those things Terrorist Acts?
Hell No! So why do unchecked faceless agencies get to "treat them as if they were"?
Tell the NSA and the DoD to get back unto their own turf -- back to Foreign Surveillance activities ONLY.
Tell the NSA and the DoD that Domestic Surveillance is not OK with you -- not without specific and "particular" Probable Cause.
Tell the NSA and the DoD to "mind their own damn business" and stop going through your "personal effects" -- you know, like our Constitution instructs them to do.
Here’s the petition to get support for Rep. Alan Grayson's Bill before the House: the Mind Your Own Business Act.
Click this link to go to the petition page to give the NSA and DOD a piece of your mind:
Petition: "I don't want the Government looking at my e-mails, my telephone records, my website records, or my GPS records. I cherish my freedom and my privacy. I am not a terrorist, and I won't let my government treat me like one. Therefore, I support Congressman Alan Grayson's 'Mind Your Own Business Act.'"
Also, these brave Senators want to re-open our mad-rush to this secret surveillance state after 9-11, by means of the little debated, routinely extended, and ill-conceived Patriot Act:
Senators Udall want a Debate over the Patriot Act
by jamess -- Jun 09, 2013
Please support their efforts to actually follow the Constitution, instead of blindly re-writing it under duress and fear. That's not what being "home of the brave" is supposed to be all about.
Were taught, that America is the "Land of the Free" -- NOT a Land of the Forever Fearful. If things stay on the course were on, guess they'll have to re-write our cherished American Ideals too, starting with Land of the Used-Be-Free ... and the Home of the Not-so-Brave.
Thank you, for taking the time. Thank you for acting. Thank you for making use of your First Amendment rights.