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. 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.

  1. 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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