Obama administration defends PRISM data-collection as legal anti-terrorism tool

“The Obama administration confirmed the existence of a classified U.S. government program that gathers data on foreign nationals from Internet companies, defending the effort as legally authorized and essential to thwarting terrorist attacks,” Mike Dorning and Chris Strohm report for Bloomberg News. “The disclosure last night came a day after reports emerged of a secret court order compelling Verizon Communications Inc. to provide the National Security Agency with data on all its customers’ calls. While the revelations stirred outrage among privacy-rights advocates, U.S. lawmakers from both parties acknowledged earlier yesterday that they were aware of the Verizon order and backed the collection of telephone records as necessary to combating terrorism.”

“The news came as President Barack Obama is being challenged over his regard for individual privacy and constitutionally guaranteed freedom of the press,” Dorning and Strohm report. “The Post and the Guardian reported yesterday, citing classified documents, that the FBI and NSA had accessed the central servers of nine U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs.”

Dorning and Strohm report, “Microsoft Corp., Yahoo! Inc., Google Inc., Facebook Inc., and Apple Inc. were among the technology providers involved, the newspapers reported. The companies issued statements last night either denying that they had granted the government access to their servers or saying that they were unaware of the program… The American Civil Liberties Union last night condemned the data collection described by the Post and Guardian as an abuse of power and called on U.S. lawmakers to investigate. ‘Unchecked government surveillance presents a grave threat to democratic freedoms,’ ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer said in an e-mailed statement. ‘These revelations are a reminder that Congress has given the executive branch far too much power to invade individual privacy.'”

“The Supreme Court has never ruled on the constitutionality of such a sweeping surveillance program. In February, the court voted 5-4 to bar a challenge by lawyers and civil-rights activists to a federal law that allows government wiretapping of international phone calls and e-mails,” Dorning and Strohm report. “The majority didn’t rule on the surveillance program itself, instead saying the opponents lacked “standing” to sue because they hadn’t shown they were being harmed.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Facebook, Google, Yahoo join Apple in sort-of denying PRISM involvement – June 7, 2013
Report: Intelligence program gives U.S. government direct access to customer data on Apple servers; Apple denies – June 6, 2013


  1. Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t. It’s terrorism, so it has to be confronted. We just have to hope that the people “in charge” don’t abuse this power. Good luck to us.

    1. Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. —- Benjamin Franklin, February 1775

        1. Obama’s excuse this time is George Bush (again)!

          He loves to toss George under the bus, but he also loves to hide behind this past president. This double standard shows that Obama is a cowered (man up)!

          The press and Obama voters just keep looking the other way! Its time to wake up!

        2. It’s ridiculous to blame Bush just because the program was created under his administration. They only went after those suspected of terrorist related activities. Not 100,000,000 Verizon customers!

          Even the left-wing NY Times editorial board has realized Obama is a fake:

          “The administration has now lost all credibility on this issue. Mr. Obama is proving the truism that the executive branch will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it.”


        3. The actions of Obama and his co-conspirator say,”In order to preserve your freedoms we must first destroy them.” I would prefer death by terrorist bombing rather than unwarranted and insidious surveillance and manipulation by the government.

        4. “twit.”

          Really?? You seem like someone we all want to get to know! Everyone loves the guy who responds to simple questions with name calling. I bet you’re fun at parties and Christmas day must be a blast. Please, regal us some more with your tough guy retorts so we can all marvel in the awesome that is you!

        5. “You want more? I can give you more. Lots more. Stay tuned.”

          Oh I can’t wait! We’re all giddy with excitement!

          And when you’re done, you can come over and f*** my sister you awesome guy you!!!

        6. Lesson one, for the ignorant and uninformed. I write what I mean and mean what I write. Unlike Obama who quite obviously is a man unwilling to tell the truth. I hope that answers your question.

        7. Obama will enter in history as the one who cemented and extended civil rights abuse, as well as serial killer of people without trial. Obama is international criminal that should be prosecuted by Haag tribunal and sentenced to life.

          This one bloody lying hypocritical cynical man. If I was religious, Omaba would be the closest thing to Antichrist, which is promised to come as the most charming of them all.

    2. And we’ve seen this administration abuse its powers over and over again but somehow the low information voters still give Obama a pass. Anybody who thinks then IRS issue was about a rogue office in Cincinnati overstepping its bounds is a fool. So you’re telling me that in an election year an IRS office in THE key battleground state of Ohio decided on their own to target conservative groups and dragging out their 501(c)(3), thereby stalling their fundraising abilities, and that Washington had nothing to do with this? A top IRS official visited the White House more than twice the times Hillary Clinton did and we’re supposed to believe Obama found out about the scandal on TV? Wake up people. Is it going to take something happening to you personally for you to finally care? The press is finally turning on Obama because they got hit where It hurts. You shouldn’t wait to be personally affected to stand up for what’s right. This whole PRISM thing doesn’t pass the smell test. Not with this administration.

  2. US Citizens on US soil are not supposed to be surveilled by their own US government without due cause.

    So let’s get this straight: There was NO due cause. Blanket catch-all surveillance, baloney court-approved or not, is illegal as per the 4th Amendment of the US Constitution.

    IOW: Go to jail Mr. President and all your spies with you.

    They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
    – Benjamin Franklin

    1. 4th Amendment to the US Constitution:

      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.

      IOW: FISA courts, or any other courts, approving blanket surveillance of US citizens on US soil without probably cause are CRIMINAL.

      It doesn’t get more simple or fundamental. To jail with you, traitors ALL.

      1. @Derek – The 4th Amendment only protects people from unreasonable searches when they have “a reasonable expectation” of privacy. 

        With Google, Facebook and others monitoring our communications (and selling the details), we no longer have a reasonable expectation of privacy when communicating electronically.

        1. Google and Facebook or anything else publicly accessible is NOT what’s breaking the law here. I entirely agree with you, except it’s PRIVATE information that is being gathered in this situation. Please go read the details.

    2. “Politically I call myself a ‘Positive Anarchist’ in that I believe in maximum choice. But I also believe in maximum responsibility for our choices, therefore being positive as opposed to irresponsible or negative.” – Derek


      You are nothing but a irresponsible, judgemental, worthless agitator. Yes, a Troll.

  3. Here is a list of America’s most wanted terrorists currently residing in the United States:

    – Sen. Carl Levin
    – Dept. of Justice
    – Eric Holder
    – International Trade Commission
    – Judge Lucy Koh
    – Barry Soetoro
    – Eric Schmidt

        1. More fuel for the fire. Al-Qaeda rejoices for they have the Tea Party, republicans and MDN doing their job of miss-information. On ward to victory.

          The republican party, America’s Trojan Horse. It’s only a matter of time – but only if we let them.

        2. Said he who claims to be a patriot yet claimed,

          “The US government finances “Al-Queeda.””

          of a government that killed many of Al-Qaeda’s leaders and continues too, including Bin Laden.

          No need for WMD’s when Al-Qaeda has the Tea Party and republicans doing their bidding. On ward to victory.

        3. This latest criminal act of the Obama administration has nothing to do with party politics. It is about the preservation of the Republic, the Bill Of Rights: Jefferson’s Great Experiment.

        4. The only one playing politics are the republicans. Obama is following the law to keep this country safe. A law the congress and Bush had no problems creating, passing and later renewing. Evidently as long as it was a white guy in the white house.

          What’s good for the white man is too good for the black man. Lets call the black man a criminal for doing what the white also did, though he was called a patriot.

        5. Well, as a destroyer and conquerer, Obama failed miserably. Not that he could do much considering the condition the US was in when he inherited Bush’s economic destruction. As a creator and leader bringing the US back from the brink of economic collapse, Obama excelled.

    1. What utter rot.

      FISA was originated by the late Senator Kennedy and passed into law by President Carter. It was then adapted by the likes of Jim Sensenbrenner (R, WI-5) to fit into the Patriot Act which was part of the ‘for us or against us’ absolutist aftermath of 9/11 and was often excused by many people using the line ‘if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear’.

      Sensenbrenner – who went off on one yesterday – needs to look in a mirror and develop a sense of consistency; only a year ago, he was arguing that the Espionage Act of 1917 needed to be amended so that journalists publishing leaked information could be prosecuted and imprisoned, which sounds like a pretty clear breach of First Amendment rights to me.

      But let’s say you’re right and it’s all a liberal conspiracy: how much do you want to wager that the Republican majority in the House will try to remediate the FISA/Patriot Act legislation to protect the liberties of American citizens? Or do you think that they’ll concentrate their considerable wisdom on trying (yet again) to repeal the ACA, despite the fact it has no chance of getting past the Senate. I’ll give you dollars to two bear claws and a Berliner that Boehner, Cantor et al will do nothing, but I wait to be pleasantly surprised if the House could use one of it’s 126 scheduled days of work this year to proving it still gave a rat’s furry ass.

      1. This latest criminal act of the Obama administration has nothing to do with party politics. It is about the preservation of the Republic, the Bill Of Rights: Jefferson’s Great Experiment.
        It’s about whether you want your children to be free or putrefy in a police-state, autocratic shithole.
        There is no difference between the policies of Obama Messiah, Dubya, Billy Boy or CIA George.

        1. In the end, it will be the 2nd Amendment that will be pivotal. Without that right, there are no others. Sure, one can say that our armed citizens would be no match for our high tech military, and in spite of examples in Vietnam and Afghanistan, one could possibly be right. But the contemplated cost and magnitude of the conflict and destruction involved is a deterrent in itself.

        2. Personally, I don’t think the majority of the US military would sustain attacking their own people. I would anticipate a foreign UN-type force to quell civil unrest in the United States. Mercenaries.

        3. nah, if you’re serious, I think the enemy would be Mexican paramilitary. Pure speculation on my part, however I am convinced there has to be an alternative planned, the US military will not fire upon its own people.

  4. If any of this eavesdropping worked at all, it seems like they would have been able to “know about” the Boston bombers in advance. And even Russia told the gov about the BB’s in advance. So what is all of this eavesdroppiing for, if they ignore REAL threat warnings?

    1. It’s mostly there to flush out supporters of the Republican Party to be targeted by the IRS and the DOJ and so the next election can also be rigged.

      Obama = No. 1 Terrorist living in he US.

  5. The only way this can be justified is if those in authority consider all U.S. citizens to be potential terrorists.

    And “the hope” that those in charge will not abuse this power is naive in the extreme or ignorant beyond all reason.

    There is an old expression that explains why, “Power corrupts… and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. There is a reason our Constitution is setup the way it is… which is to limit the power of those in power… people are not to be trusted.

  6. I didn’t like the “enhanced” surveillance tactics instituted under the prior president, and I don’t like these that continue under Obama.

    But this is truly a case of all our Washington, D.C. leadership failing us by taking the easy way out with respect to defending us from potential attacks.

    As I recall, that piece of paper says something about “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and not “life, but with reduced liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — so long as you’ve got nothing to hide.”

    Technology has extended the power of human beings in most ways good. In some other ways, it has replaced our balls with binoculars.

  7. It’s always fun to see such small minds try to quantify things they don’t understand anything about. It’s clear none of you took the “think for yourself” class in the school of life. You are so easily baited and you respond with such ridiculous allegations. Everyone is a friggin terrorist to you people!

    Terrorists are the creators of fear. And that fear is spoon fed to you by your own 24 hour news networks, agenda driven talk radio, and social media.

    We as people will never overcome terrorism while people like you allow the terrorists to build outposts in your mind.

        1. Don’t do sloppy seconds, Fox News has already mind fucked you enough.

          I’m laughing at you dude. Why? I have read your drivel on this site for a long time. I know 7 year olds with better grips on reality. Even they can understand simple metaphors.

          However, I will forgive you if english is your second language. You clearly don’t have a grip on it. But I’ll say this, you do very well with the “angry white dude safe behind his keyboard” thing. It suits you. Don’t ever change, the world wouldn’t be the same with out you. Comedy is a must.

        2. Oh darn, and here I was just gonna start in on the you’re mama jokes! Alas, i must shed a tear as I have been eLashed by the great, original and all knowing botvinnik. The smartest blog commenter alive.

          I bet is says that on your business cards doesn’t it? Or it will when you graduate from kindergarten right? It’s good to have aspirations. I fully support that!

        3. Sadly, I’ve never even heard of that before. But good job on the google search. Was that supposed to be a virtual black eye you big eThug you? Come on, punch me again. Show me your keyboard has muscles!!!

        4. Bob, you’ve been busted as the plagiarist phony you are, just accept it like a man and move on with your touchy-feely life. Because, ya know, all illusions seem so real in the outposts of your mind. aahhh.

        5. Actually, the term came from an email signature my girlfriend had back 20 years ago on AOL. I have no knowledge of that song in anyway shape or form. But I’m glad you believe you have uncovered the conspiracy. You’re keen detective skills have obviously been very useful in cracking open all this government corruption as well as creating a picture perfect profile of who am I and what I’m all about. 😉 Kuddos captain fancy pants.

        1. Bob, I know you must be terribly embarrassed, as you should be..but it’s time to stop with the diversionary lies (eBully, you got trolled, old AOL girlfriend, etc.) and just accept you are an asshat. Further comment just compounds your dilemma.

  8. What do you expect from a guy that had 2 guys he used to fuck in the bathhouses killed when he became president.

    You American assholes deserve this Piece of Shit of a President.

    1. Unfortunately no popular candidate is proposing to throw out all the crooks in Congress and the laws curtailing civil liberties. Ideally she would give regulatory agencies more teeth, remove money from elections and end all US involvement in wars. Extra credit for getting rid of the federal reserve and stripping legalese and complication from laws and contacts.

  9. It’s ridiculous to blame Bush just because the program was created under his administration. They only went after those suspected of terrorist related activities. Not 100,000,000 Verizon customers!

    Even the left-wing NY Times editorial board has realized Obama is a charlatan:

    “The administration has now lost all credibility on this issue. Mr. Obama is proving the truism that the executive branch will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it.”


    1. I don’t believe they are going after 100 million Verizon customers.

      But they are throwing the baby out with the bathwater with respect to our values and what this country ought to stand for.

      Further, to think that there will be no level of abuse of this power is awfully naive.

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