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Thursday, May 18

Yes, The FBI Is Spying on Reporters

While phone companies like Bell South and Verizon are vehemently claiming that they didn't turn over phone records to the NSA, the FBI says that indeed they were investigating leaks about the secret prisons and the NSA wiretaps. The FBI IS checking reporters' contacts.

This article in the CS Monitor exposes the great lengths the government goes to in order to squash stories. It's pretty alarming. This is only the tip of the iceberg. It's no wonder that many reporters simply write what the government tells them to write.

According the article, William Arkin of the Washington Post says that the only "innocent" people in the US today are "mostly white, mostly Christian Americans who accept that the government knows best and that the national security state is only after the bad guys and would never apply its new found capacities in any illegitimate way." Everyone else is suspect, particularly those with brown skin and foreign origins.

"In an interview with news site, NSA historian Matthew Aid said he believes it is only a matter of time before we discover that cellphone and Internet companies also helped the government spy on Americans.

"We should be terrified that Congress has not been doing its job and because all of the checks and balances put in place to prevent this have been deliberately obviated. In order to get this done, the NSA and White House went around all of the checks and balances. I'm convinced that 20 years from now we, as historians, will be looking back at this as one of the darkest eras in American history. And we're just beginning to sort of peel back the first layers of the onion. We're hoping against hope that it's not as bad as I suspect it will be, but reality sets in every time a new article is published and the first thing the Bush administration tries to do is quash the story. It's like the lawsuit brought by [the Electronic Frontier Foundation] against AT&T – the government's first reaction was to try to quash the lawsuit. That ought to be a warning sign that they're on to something."

"Mr. Aid said he feels certain that when the complete story of the warrantless wiretapping and the collection of phone records becomes public, it will show that "key oversight functions – those functions that were put in place to protect the rights of Americans – were deliberately circumvented.""
See also NSA rejected system that sifted phone data legally in today's Baltimore Sun. I wonder if anyone will ask Gen. Hayden about this at his hearing today?

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