Accuracy in Media

The first Assistant Secretary for Policy at the United States Department of Homeland Security warned Congress on Wednesday that “hyped and distorted press reports” about the NSA’s terrorist surveillance programs “may cause us—or other nations—to construct new restraints on our intelligence gathering, restraints that will leave us vulnerable to another security disaster.”

Stewart A. Baker, in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, said that when the story about the terrorist surveillance program known as PRISM broke, “reporters at The Guardian and The Washington Post made it look as if the NSA had direct, unfettered access to private service providers’ networks and that they were downloading materials at will.” But he said this was “hyped” in order to “spur a public debate about NSA surveillance.”

Baker added, “Actually, they didn’t just want to spur debate; they tried to control it—by withholding information from the public.” He said the press failed to emphasize the “minimization and targeting guidelines” adopted by the government and approved by the FISA court for this program.

Baker explained: “Snowden and his allies in the press had copies of the minimization and targeting guidelines; they surely knew that the guidelines made the programs look far more responsible. So they suppressed them, waiting a full two weeks—while the controversy grew and took the shape they preferred—before releasing the documents. Since no self-respecting reporter withholds relevant information from the public, it’s only fair to conclude that this was an act of advocacy, not journalism. Perhaps the reporters lost their bearings; perhaps the timing was controlled by advocates. Either way, the public was manipulated, not informed.”

He was referring to Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian and Barton Gellman of The Washington Post.

Yet, on the basis of these inflammatory and misleading reports, members of Congress such as Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) are trying to restrict the ability of the NSA to collect data and apprehend terrorists.

A story about Wednesday’s Judiciary Committee hearing, “Bipartisan House panel slams administration on surveillance” by Josh Gerstein in Politico, completely ignored Baker’s testimony and criticism of media coverage of the NSA. Gerstein told AIM he only had time to cover the first panel, which featured administration and government witnesses, and not the second panel, which included Baker and others. He thought Politico’s “media team” might be interested in Baker’s criticism of the press.

We wait for that story to appear.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post story, “Lawmakers of both parties voice doubts about NSA surveillance programs,” and The New York Times story, “Bipartisan Backlash Grows Against Domestic Surveillance,” covered part of the hearing but ignored Baker’s incisive criticism of the press.

Hence, the media are perpetuating the manipulation of the public through misinformation about the nature of the NSA terrorist surveillance programs. The entire hearing can be viewed on C-SPAN.

After 9/11, of course, the NSA and the FBI got new surveillance and investigative powers, and cooperation between them was increased.

The possible result of new restrictions on the NSA, Baker made clear, could be another catastrophic terrorist attack on America.

Baker, who also served as general counsel to the National Security Agency, essentially warned members of the committee not to panic in response to the misleading media coverage. He said that “civil liberties criticism all across the ideological spectrum,” including from such organizations as the libertarian Cato Institute, forced the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court in the 1980s to restrict the government’s use of information from NSA surveillance, imposing a “wall” between law enforcement and intelligence—and the result was 9/11.

But panic they did; as some Republicans joined the ranking Democrat on the committee, far-left Democratic Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, in criticizing the NSA’s programs.

As a result of the “wall” between law enforcement and intelligence, Baker explained, the FBI did not pursue two al-Qaeda operatives in the U.S. who planned the 9/11 attacks. He said, “I realize that this story is not widely told, perhaps because it’s not an especially welcome story, not in the mainstream media and not on the Internet. But it is true; the parts of my book that describe it are well-grounded in recently declassified government reports.”

His book is Skating on Stilts: Why We Aren’t Stopping Tomorrow’s Terrorism.

Snowden’s disclosure about the NSA collecting telephone metadata (such as the called number but not the content for calls into, out of, or within the United States) was made in an “out of context” manner, in order to create the impression of a “troubling” overreach by government, he said. “But context is everything here,” Baker noted. “It turns out that collecting the data isn’t the same as actually looking at it.” In order to look at the data, the government request has to be deemed “relevant” under court-ordered rules.

The notion that the government is “seizing” millions of records without a warrant or probable cause sounds like a constitutional violation, he noted, but the Supreme Court has held that such records are not protected by the Fourth Amendment, since they’ve already been given to a third party.

He went on, “The Court has recognized more than half a dozen instances where searches and seizures are reasonable even in the absence of probable cause and a warrant. They range from drug screening to border searches. There can hardly be doubt that the need to protect national security fits within this doctrine as well, particularly when waiting to conduct a traditional search won’t work. Call data doesn’t last. If the government doesn’t preserve the data now, the government may not be able to search it later, when the need arises.”

“Today, law enforcement agencies collect several hundred thousand telephone billing records a year using nothing but a subpoena,” he said. “That means you’re roughly a thousand times more likely to have your telephone calling patterns reviewed by a law enforcement agency than by NSA.”

While warning against rash Congressional action to restrict the NSA’s terrorist surveillance powers, he noted that European nations and the European Parliament are now demanding, in response to Snowden’s disclosures, that surveillance be restricted in the name of civil liberties.

He commented that French President Hollande and the French interior minister criticized the United States for its surveillance programs in Europe, although the newspaper Le Monde “disclosed what both French officials well knew—that France has its own program for large-scale interception of international telecommunications traffic.”

“Practically every comparative study of law enforcement and security practice shows that the United States imposes more restriction on its agencies and protects its citizens’ privacy rights from government surveillance more carefully than Europe,” Baker testified.

He explained: “European regimes, by and large, offer far less protection against arbitrary collection of personal data—and expose their programs to far less public scrutiny. One recent study showed that, out of a dozen advanced democracies, only two—the United States and Japan—impose serious limits on what electronic data private companies can give to the government without legal process. In most other countries, and particularly in Europe, little or no process is required before a provider hands over information about subscribers.”

Another witness, Steven G. Bradbury, former head of the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel, said the NSA’s programs “are entirely lawful and are conducted in a manner that appropriately respects the privacy and civil liberties of Americans and the principles enshrined in the Constitution.”

Anti-NSA testimony came from Kate Martin of the Center for National Security Studies and Jameel Jaffer of the American Civil Liberties Union. These are groups that have been involved for decades in campaigns to restrict intelligence gathering by U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Not surprisingly, they found a sympathetic ear in Rep. Conyers.

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  • Richard Hellstrom

    Loftus on our phone collection system and how it’s shared with Britain !

    Point, Click … Eavesdrop: How the FBI Wiretap Net Operates

  • Senor Equis

    Cliff is an NSA shill. He’s even trying to pressure and Politico into more ‘correct’ (read: pro-NSA) reporting on this subject. He is utterly terrified to even discuss the NSA getting caught spying on his fellow Canada Free Press contributor Doug Hagmann.

    Cliff has dispatched proxies to debate me here while cowering behind his standard Cointelpro training of just making stupid ‘tin foil hat’ jokes when confronted about the NSA’s lawlessness and blank check ‘general warrants’ aka the type of non-specific warrants our Founding Fathers revolted against in Boston that the Redcoats used to go house to house (in this case, the NSA collects data from billions of calls a day, all instantly available for call up by even outside contractors as Snowden revealed — and those contractors could be working for the Russians, the Chinese, or even Obama’s minions to blackmail everyone of any importance!

    In short, Cliff and all the other fake Beltway ‘conservatives’ are terrified of authentic Constitutionalists and their challenge to this police state grid.

    And if NSA surveillance stopped another 9-11 Cliff, why couldn’t they stop the Boston bombing even with a head start? What they somehow missed the Tsarnaev’s drive to upstate New York to buy gunpowder for the pressure cooker bombs? Where was the Leviathian whose boots you lick to protect us then?

    Baker should be arrested for conspiracy against rights and as an accessory to felony wiretapping if he ever steps foot in Montana.

  • Senor Equis

    Here it is Cliff:

    Text of sworn affidavit by Erie, PA based private investigator Douglas J. Hagmann regarding unlawful domestic surveillance of his person by the National Security Agency:

    Voluntary Statement
    Date: 30 May 2013

    I Douglas J. Hagmann, your affiant, makes the following free and voluntary statement to publicly memorialize an event that occurred at 1206 hours on Thursday, 30 May, 2013 relating to a domestic, interstate landline telephone conversation between [Name and telephone number REDACTED], and myself, (814)-[REDACTED]. I make this statement of my own free will without any threats or promises extended to me.

    The purpose of this written statement is to officially memorialize an event and make publicly known what appears to be either (1) an accidental exposure by an official agency of the United States government of active surveillance and data collection on two private U.S. citizens without the consent of either party; or (2) harassment by an official agency of the United States government of law-abiding citizen journalists, or (3) a combination thereof, or (4) purposes unknown.

    I fully understand that this statement is given concerning my knowledge of the following:

    A landline telephone conversation concerning your affiant’s sources within the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), following contact with other domestic and international intelligence agencies, and also multiple telephone communications with certain reporters from Fox News.

    At 1150 hours on Thursday, 30 May 2013, your affiant, a United States citizen having no prior criminal record history, received a telephone call (landline to landline) from [REDACTED], also a citizen of the United States. As documented by your affiant’s telephone system, this unscheduled conversation lasted exactly 16 minutes and 17 seconds, from 11:50:05 hours ET to 12:06:22 ET, and included but was not limited to information obtained from a high level source within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (hereafter referred to as DHS) known publicly under the pseudonym “Rosebud,” and another intelligence source with a separate intelligence agency. Both sources previously provided concise and accurate information about the inner workings of the DHS as well as the activities and agendas of various individuals in that agency. The intelligence source provided whistleblower information pertaining to the events in Benghazi on multiple occasions. It was during this conversation that your affiant shared specific information about the latest contacts with these sources that is in the process of being transcribed for future publication.

    It is important to note that the DHS source has expressed concern about the security and confidentiality of any telephone or e-mail communications, and previously requested your affiant to use alternate methods of contact. This source also stated that the DHS is actively and aggressively searching for “leaks” within the top levels of DHS, or those with access to certain inter-agency information. This source confirmed that certain individuals, under suspicion of talking to journalists, have been reassigned or otherwise cut-off from access to agency departments. This source also stated his belief that the landlines, cellular telephones, and all electronic communications of your affiant and contacts are being monitored by ‘several’ agencies within the U.S. government, including but not limited to the NSA, the FBI, and others for the purpose of identification of this source. Additionally, it is known to this source that your affiant, Douglas J. Hagmann, has been in contact with [REDACTED], a reported with Fox News by telephone concerning certain information that has yet to be made public.

    Subsequent to the telephone conversation that concluded at 12:06:17, your affiant replaced the receiver on the telephone. At that moment, the telephone emitted a short ring, perhaps best described as a muffled ring or a “chirp.“Initially, your affiant believed it to be a simple ring-back, much like those occasionally experienced during the course of otherwise normal telephone use. It is important to note, however, that the sound made by the telephone did not have that same characteristics as a ring back.

    Curious because of the ring tone, your affiant looked at the caller ID displayed and was startled to see the following on the telephone caller ID screen:“UT NSA DATA REC CTR.”Your affiant immediate muted the telephone and picked up the receiver, hearing the following message in a male voice:

    ”…your notification that the Utah NSA Data Recording Center successfully captured this landline communication under file # [I was unable to copy the numbers as they were spoken quickly]. Refer to senior duty officer for access code under file #[this appeared to be a different alpha-numeric sequence].”
    It should be noted that your affiant copied the wording of the verbal message by hand onto a stenographer’s notebook kept by the telephone. No mechanical recording devices were accessible at this time. After the final number was spoken, your affiant heard a distinct “click” on the line, followed by silence. Interestingly, the caller ID information completely disappeared from the telephone at the instant of the “click.” Accordingly, your affiant has no photographic documentation to illustrate or verify the information provided herein. Additionally, the re-dial capabilities of your affiant’s telephone were rendered non-functional following this event.

    I have read the statement consisting of one-(1) page and affirm that the facts contained herein are true and correct.

    No more ignorance Cliff. You’re without excuse.

  • oxco

    I beg to differ Cliff

  • t socrates

    “…could lead to another 9/11”
    FEAR-mongering PROPAGANDA.
    the resort of cowards and tyrants.

  • 911 was orchestrated by Luciferians, witches & followers of Aleister Crowley in the U.S. government, military & business world. 11 master occultists, masons, kabbalist-zionists, were in his/her assigned spots by Strategic Communication Laboratries, London, on 911 91 for the 911 mega ritual. WTC demolitions were stages for massive insurance fraud. There were no planes, just a huge staged illusion. 11 luciferian masters (they like to be called “masters” instead of witches) are Bush, Cheney, Tenet, Bush’s sorcerer aunt, Ann Cappelletti, Bill Gates, Giuliani, Condi Rice, Schwarzenegger, Silverstein, Soros & Saddam Hussein, not dead, a 33 degree mason, pal of GHW Bush, who knows the ancient Sumerian secrets of trasmuting gold into monoatomic gold for anti-gravity space travel matierials & an elixir for immortality.

    911 was executed by Bush Cheney et al for massive insurance fraud. Gold is used in Satanic sacrifices for demonic power in rituals for more wealth. Bushes are Luciferians, as well as grandsons of Aleister Crowley by Barbara Bush. Ann Cappelletti (sorcerer 1/2 sister of Barb from Upper Darby, PA, conceived in 1923 with sex magick at Abbey of Thelema with her 20 yr old Sicilian mother & Aleister Crowley for money). Barbara Bush was conceived in 1924 w sex magick w Crowley in Paris as his sex assistant in his sex stage act of Eroto Comotose Lucidity. (Barb even noted her mother has a ralationship with Crowley in her memoirs.) Ann Cappelletti & Barbara Bush (from different mothers) got together in 1970s to set the masonic/Luciferian plan of ushering in the Antichrist into action. John Cappelletti is the spitting image of young Crowley. It was the face of John Cappelletti in 1970s which convinced Barbara Bush that Ann was her 1/2 sister. Ann is a totally evil woman who has corrupted all of those around her & her children with $$$ gotten from demonic rituals for power. John/Mike Cappelletti’s demolition did the gutting, prepping & planting of explosives for the 911 demolitions. 911 is the Egyptian New Year. Crowley brought witchcraft universally in the 1920s & witchcraft has since been put at a new plateau. Crowley’s goals were to sire/ usher in the Antichrist & destroy Christianity. Bushes, Clintons, Obamas are all occultists, followers of Crowley. They all staged Satanic 911 events which they blamed on the muslims to stir up hate & war against people with whom they wanted to stage war. Obama was picked by the head CABALISTS because he is a Luciferian as are they all. Barry grew up in Indonesia, son of commie Frank Marshal Davis.

    Time to stop all the lies. Napolitano is a witch, not doubt. The evil U.S. government & military staged all the lies that have occurred over the last 20 years.

  • John/Mike Cappelletti (Bush cousins) got the lucrative job of gutting, prepping & planting the explosives for the U.S. CABAL in the WTC towers for the planned 911 demolitions. John/Mike’s sorcerer mother, Ann (via the Strega witch community of So.Philadelphia), is an illegitimate daughter of Aleister Crowley, as is Barbara Bush. These 2 witches set the 911 plan to usher in the Antichrist into action in the 1970s. There are plenty of witches & followers of Aleister Crowley in the U.S. govt, as therr are witches who are teachers, firemen, policement, dentists, doctors & traders on Wall Street. Don’t for a moment don’t think their illusions are not done to destroy the world as we used to know it. We have criminals covering up the crimes of other criminals. The last 4 presidents are all scams & Luciferians. Open you eyes & AIM stop the lies.

  • Bear009

    the minimization is a joke, 3 hops can include millions

  • Carol Davidek-Waller

    “Restrict intelligence gathering’? No, you just have to stay out of underwear drawers and ‘protect and defend the Constitution’.
    The American people are said to be the most lied to people on earth. Here’s a fine example.

  • Richard Hellstrom

    Give Me A Break – The communist propaganda in this country is just horrible
    Here is how the game is played. The British liaison officer at Fort Meade types the target list of “suspects” into the American computer. The NSA sorts through its wiretaps and gives the British officer the recording of any American citizen he wants. Since it is technically a British target of surveillance, no American search warrant is necessary. The British officer then simply hands the results over to his American liaison officer. Of course, the Americans provide the same service to the British in return. All international and domestic telephone calls in Great Britain are run through the NSA’s station in the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) at Menwith Hill, which allows the American liaison officer to spy on any British citizen without a warrant. According to our sources, this duplicitous, reciprocal arrangement disguises the most massive, and illegal, domestic espionage apparatus in the world.

    The Secret War Against the Jews”
    Authors: John Loftus and Mark Aarons, ISBN 0-312-11057-X, 1994