Congress Knew About Big Brother Surveillance of Americans Before Snowden’s Revelations

SPYING PROGRAMS DATE BACK TO AT LEAST 2002

by Sharon Rondeau

Is the NSA performing necessary functions to thwart terror attacks, or is it out of control?

(Jun. 16, 2013) — In early May, The Post & Email learned of a government initiative, the “Total Information Awareness Program,” launched in 2002 by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) run by the U.S. military.

DARPA was established in 1958 and describes itself as “the DOD’s primary innovation engine” utilizing various scientific disciplines.  DARPA currently has a job opening in the area of “Computer Network Operations Research and Development.”

The agency issued a statement as a result of a meeting on January 29, 2013 which reads:

Our Government and our military are creating mountains of data that hold powerful insights on how we can improve our operations.

The statement was attributed to “Todd Park, Assistant to the President and U.S. Chief Technology Officer DARPA Big Data Meeting.”

DARPA is conducting a program designed to study how information travels through social media websites in order “to develop tools to support the efforts of human operators to counter misinformation or deception campaigns with truthful information.”

“One example of such an environment might be a closed social media network of 2,000 to 5,000 people who have agreed to conduct social media-based activities in this network and agree to participate in required data collection and experiments,” states DARPA.

Regarding the issue of privacy, DARPA maintains that its work was “once the source of discomfort and unease.”  It cites the “Total Information Awareness Program” as having been “at the leading edge of the tension created between new technological approaches to addressing threats to the Nation’s security and individual privacy or civil liberties that are core values for the Nation.”

In consulting with internet pioneer Dave Farber, John Hogan, a professor at a science technology institute, reported that Farber was

Like Edward Snowden, who revealed to the press earlier this month that the National Security Agency (NSA) collects and stores large amounts of data on American citizens, Farber does not believe that China is a significant cybersecurity threat to the United States. Prior to Snowden’s revelations becoming public, Farber told Hogan that “Big Brother” surveillance of American citizens should be a “worry” for them.

Some in Congress have called Snowden a “traitor” and want him extradited from Hong Kong, where he is currently residing, while others hail him as a hero for exposing what could be Fourth Amendment violations by the federal government.

Although the TIA was “officially discontinued” in TIA after concerns about civil liberties arose, Farber “suspected that new surveillance programs represent a continuation of Total Information Awareness.”  Like DARPA’s Todd Park, Farber used the term “Big Data.”

In 2004, Congress placed administrative limits on the Total Information Awareness Program, whose name had been changed to the “Terrorism Information Awareness program,” but continued to fund it.

In March of last year, James Banford of Wired reported on a massive “data center” being constructed in Bluffdale, UT to store information collected by the NSA and quoted an official as having stated, “Everybody’s a target; everybody with communication is a target.”

On May 6, The Post & Email submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the FBI on the TIA and received an acknowledgement letter dated May 17, 2013.

We are awaiting a response which the FBI’s database indicates it is currently researching:

Screenshot of results after The Post & Email checked the status of its FOIA request on the Total Information Awareness Program with the FBI

While the TIA is technically defunct, the NSA is reported to have admitted that it can listen to “domestic phone calls” without a warrant from any court.

On March 12, 2008, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) stated in a press release:

The American Civil Liberties Union responded today to a stunning new report that the NSA has effectively revived the Orwellian “Total Information Awareness” domestic-spying program that was banned by Congress in 2003…

“Congress shut down TIA because it represented a massive and unjustified governmental intrusion into the personal lives of Americans,” said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the Washington Legislative Office of the ACLU. “Now we find out that the security agencies are pushing ahead with the program anyway, despite that clear congressional prohibition. The program described by current and former intelligence officials in Monday’s Wall Street Journal could be modeled on Orwell’s Big Brother.”

The ACLU said the new report confirmed its past warnings that the NSA was engaging in extremely broad-based data mining that was violating the privacy of vast numbers of Americans…

“Congress needs to investigate immediately whether its will has been thwarted, and the media needs to give this program the attention it deserves as a radical departure from the privacy that Americans have always expected,” said Fredrickson. “Just how many times is Congress going to sit back and watch this administration run roughshod over its prerogatives?”…

After Snowden’s description of the NSA’s secret monitoring of Americans’ electronic communications, some lawmakers appeared surprised, while others did not.  It is possible that some were briefed on the extent of the data-mining while others were not.

DARPA reported that in May 2010, as IRS agents were targeting Tea Party and other groups seen to be political enemies, Obama had issued a “national security strategy” which DARPA claimed addressed privacy concerns and a means by which to review DARPA’s activities with “transparency.”

On the day of the first NSA report from Snowden, who was as yet unnamed, Speaker of the House John Boehner demanded that Obama explain why the NSA is gathering Americans’ personal data and communications, but he also subsequently labeled Snowden “a traitor.”

The NSA has defended its work, claiming that terrorist attacks have been thwarted.

No congressman has called out Barack Hussein Obama for treason despite his “stand-down” order to U.S. military commanders, which halted contingency plans meant to save the lives of anyone endangered in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, when a U.S. building came under attack by Islamic terrorists.  The Obama regime lied about the cause, calling it a “spontaneous protest” rather than the work of Islamic extremists.  The America people also were not told that extremist attacks throughout the summer in Libya had caused the British embassy in that country to withdraw all of its diplomatic personnel.

Under Obama, Americans have been persecuted for their religious and political beliefs by the IRS, FBI, Secret Service, Department of Defense, and Department of Justice.

Journalists have had their call records and email accounts breached without their knowledge or participation in any unlawful activities.  CBS journalist Sharyl Attkisson reported that her computer was invaded on several occasions, with her employer’s investigation showing that the attack was “sophisticated.”

This writer has reported on several occasions that telephone and email communications for The Post & Email have undoubtedly been monitored by an unknown party.  The Post & Email was hacked on many occasions, necessitating a move to a dedicated server in February 2012.  In December 2011, a letter was sent to the FBI with documented evidence of telephone eavesdropping long before the “scandals” involving the Associated Press and Fox News reporter James Rosen were made public.  We are aware of others who have reported the same phenomena while they are on the phone and who happen to have performed investigation into Obama’s background.

Obama told an audience on June 7 that Congress has been aware of and approved the NSA spying program and attempted to assure the American people that “nobody is listening to your telephone calls.”

Socialized health care was forced on the nation with a majority of citizens opposed, possibly aided by the coercion of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts to uphold the law as constitutional last year, according to radio show host Glenn Beck.  On Monday, Sen. Mike Lee will be a guest on Beck’s radio show to expound on that claim.

On Friday, Rep. Steve King told Beck that Republicans are aware that their internet activities were monitored by the opposition in the months leading up to the 2012 elections.

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