Blumner's latest editorial column finds her in a panic over the claims of former AT&T employee Mark Klein.
In his weekly radio address, Bush said he had ordered the NSA "to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al-Qaida and related terrorist organizations." And he promised that "before we intercept these communications, the government must have information that establishes a clear link to these terrorist networks."
The president was essentially saying that only Americans in overseas communication with known terror suspects would have their privacy invaded.
But as with so much of what Bush says, this does not pass the pants-on-fire test.
Former telecommunications technician Mark Klein worked for more than 22 years for AT&T before retiring. He knows the specifics of Bush's program and witnessed "the NSA's vacuum cleaner surveillance infrastructure." He calls it "a vast, government-sponsored warrantless spying program," and has detailed internal documents to back up his claims.
Blumner apparently makes no effort to distinguish between data-mining and wiretapping, and for that reason her "pants-on-fire" jab at President Bush probably has no legs. The NSA probably uses data mining to figure out when suspects have changed cell phones, as they routinely do to avoid government eavesdropping. Blumner would make it easier for terrorists to do that, if she could, because she doesn't want the government to overhear the time of her manicure appointment (or whatever she does with her time).In short, the government in part probably uses the data mining to establish the clear links. After that they go after the conversations. The Ninth Circuit (one of the most liberal in the nation) gave it their OK.
Apparently not even a court ruling makes it legal in Blumner's eyes.
McKeown took pains to say that the 9th Circuit had carefully scrutinized the government's assertions.I'd sure like to know the context of Klein's statements. Just to see if they jibe with the way he was quoted by Wired.
She said the judges had taken "very seriously our obligation to review the documents with a very careful, indeed a skeptical eye, and not to accept at face value the government's claim or justification of privilege."
Based on my understanding of the connections and equipment at issue, it appears the NSA is capable of conducting what amounts to vacuum-cleaner surveillance of all the data crossing the internet -- whether that be peoples' e-mail, web surfing or any other data.And if they're capable of doing it then they are actually doing it.
Right, Ms. Blumner?