[FoRK] NSA Whistleblower Drake: You're automatically suspicious until proven otherwise

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Wed Jul 18 04:58:29 PDT 2012

(O brave new world that has such people in't)


NSA Whistleblower Drake: You're automatically suspicious until proven

NSA whistleblower Thomas A. Drake is backing the EFF's lawsuit over the
government's massive spying program. Drake also had a lot to say about the
establishment of a 'surveillance society' in America. In a video interview,
he said it was bsoft tyranny. It raises the specter of you're automatically
suspicious until we prove that you're not. It raises the specter of a
universal wiretap, a persistent universal wiretap on every single person, or
if not, they can create one.'

By Ms. Smith on Mon, 07/16/12 - 4:32pm.

Continuing in the theme of what NSA whistleblowers have to say about
Americans under mass surveillance, such as William Binney's claim that the
NSA has dossiers on nearly every U.S. citizen, we'll take a look at another
former NSA official, Thomas A. Drake, who was also brave enough to turn
whistleblower and had his life turned upside down because of it.

RT had a very interesting interview with Drake, who said, "Security has
effectively become the State religion; you don't question it. And if you
question it, then your loyalty is questioned." . . . "Speaking truth of power
is very dangerous in today's world." The journalist pointed out that
investigative journalists are labeled as "terrorist helpers" for trying to
reveal the truth, to which Drake said the government's take is "you go after
the messenger because the last thing you want to do is deal with the
message." The NSA, the government, "They object" to anyone who dares to "air
dirty laundry" or show the skeletons in the closet. "Not only do they object
to it, they decide to turn it into criminal activity."

Drake added, "Most people don't stand up to power because power wields a lot
of power and power can do you in, or make life very difficult." This almost
made me throw up since those who are brave enough to object to our country
moving away from the Constitution and everything that America stands for,
cannot possibly mean those people are for the terrorists! Most are people who
love our country and believe in freedom, believe in the USA! Those people
believe the government can't stomp out our rights and hide behind national
security secrets to avoid telling We the People the truth about mass domestic
spying. Some of those people who are brave enough to not only stand up and be
counted, but also to fight for our rights include the EFF with Jewel v. NSA.
EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn wrote:

    For years, government lawyers have been arguing that our case is too
secret for the courts to consider, despite the mounting confirmation of
widespread mass illegal surveillance of ordinary people. Now we have three
former NSA officials confirming the basic facts. Neither the Constitution nor
federal law allow the government to collect massive amounts of communications
and data of innocent Americans and fish around in it in case it might find
something interesting. This kind of power is too easily abused. We're
extremely pleased that more whistleblowers have come forward to help end this
massive spying program.

Many people do not read the law, proposed bills, or what is happening in the
court. If you are so inclined, you can read the EFF's motion for partial
summary judgment, William Binney's declaration and J. Kirk Wiebe's
declaration. Among many other eye-openers, Thomas A. Drake's declaration

    The NSA has the capability to do individualized searches, similar to
Google, for particular electronic communications in real time through such
criteria as target addresses, locations, countries and phone numbers, as well
as watch-listed names, keywords and phrases in email. The NSA has the ability
to do individualized or small scale searches for particular electronic
communications in real time. It also has, or is in the process of obtaining,
the capability to seize and store most electronic communications passing
through its U.S. intercept centers. The wholesale collection of data allows
the NSA to identify and analyze Entities or Communities of Interest later in
a static database.

Some more of Drake's statements in the video interview included, "The NSA had
entered into a secret agreement with the White House in which NSA would
become the executive agent for this secret surveillance program. On the front
end, it was designed to deal with the threat, the terrorist threat, and that
was probably understandable. But what it did is it actually, essentially,
turned the United States into just a collection platform." He spoke a little
bit about how CISPA would take the secret law of the Patriot Act, Section
215, up a notch so that under the label of "cyber threats and to provide
cybersecurity, the government wants even more invasive access -- almost
persistent access to networks which are not normally available to the

    If you take what has been happening post 9/11 security world, what you're
seeing is the establishment of a surveillance society. You're seeing the
establishment of the surveillance network....People don't realize the extent
to which we are already surveilled in many, many different ways -- the extent
to which vast amounts of our own transactional data, in all forms -- all
electronic forms, and emails, and your tweets, and bank records, and
everything else, are all subject -- or suspect, in terms of
surveillance....It raises the specter of kind of the rise of soft tyranny. It
raises the specter of you're automatically suspicious until we prove that
you're not. It raises the specter of a  universal -- I call it a universal
wiretap, a persistent universal wiretap on every single person, or if not,
they can create one.

"You also have the fear element. Fear in itself is control. And what people
will do if they are fearful is to censor themselves." Regarding NSA and other
government surveillance powers, Drake added, "What happens if they don't like
you? What happens if you speak ill-will against the government? What happens
if you say something that they consider disloyal?" Drake pointed out that
what happened to him, a top government executive, sends a "very chilling
message that if you speak out, if you speak up, we're going to hammer you and
we're going to hammer you hard."

Wielding fear like a weapon and using policy as opposed to the Constitution
and protections granted to us via the Bill of Rights is very dangerous and
seems very anti-American. I agree with Drake, "We are going down a very
slippery slope in America."

If cursing upsets you, then please don't watch this clip gone viral about
"Good Will Hunting had it right 14 years ago."

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