Friday, January 11, 2008
Bu$hco was monitering telecommunications before 911
When Bu$hco came into power in 2001 there were already intelligence gathering telecommunications snooping in place. It was called Echelon whose existence had only recently been acknowledged by US officials, and was capable of hoovering up millions of phone calls, faxes and emails a minute. But this was not enough for Bu$hco and agency officials said that the NSA must become a “powerful, permanent presence” on the commercial communications networks, a goal they admitted would raise legal and privacy issues.
In February 2001 ’Project Groundbreaker’ was set Up to monitor domestic phone communications and in October 2001 the NSA created a massive data base of US citizen's phone calls.
more than half of about 1,000 FBI phone bills reviewed were not paid on time and resulted in wiretaps being cut. The FBI, led by Robert S. Mueller III, said no evidence was lost.
Recently the Senate intelligence committee voted 10 to 9 along party lines to approve a bill that added new restrictions on government surveillance powers. But this did not include language addressing the immunity issue, which would mean that the telecommunications companies would have to testify in court.
The committee defeated in a 12 to 7 vote a proposal from Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) that would have precluded legal protections for telecom companies. Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Herb Kohl (Wis.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) joined nine Republicans in voting against the proposal.
There is sure a lot of difference between Feingold and Feinstein. In San Francisco some folks are calling Dianne Feinstein a Neocon in drag.