NSA is Recording All of the Calls in More Than One Country

NSA is Recording All of the Calls in More Than One Country

FirstLook’s The Intercept reported yesterday that the NSA is “secretly intercepting, recording, and archiving the audio of virtually every cell phone conversation on the island nation of the Bahamas,” as well as Mexico and the Philippines.  Another country mentioned as being in the phone dragnet is Kenya.  Perhaps they’re looking for more relatives of our feckless wanna-be leader, so taxpayers can support them too.  While they’re listening, they should probably be able to figure out which village is missing its idiot so we can send our head one home.

How did they even get the access to do this?  Did they ask the Bahamian government for permission?  You know, since “the Bahamas is a stable democracy that shares democratic principles, personal freedoms, and rule of law with the United States [and] there is little to no threat facing Americans from domestic (Bahamian) terrorism, war, or civil unrest”, says the State Department.  Obviously, since we’re all such good friends, certainly the NSA simply asked for access, right?  Wrong.

According to documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the surveillance is part of a top-secret system – code-named SOMALGET – that was implemented without the knowledge or consent of the Bahamian government. Instead, the agency appears to have used access legally obtained in cooperation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to open a backdoor to the country’s cellular telephone network, enabling it to covertly record and store the “full-take audio” of every mobile call made to, from and within the Bahamas – and to replay those calls for up to a month.

The access was actually granted on a limited basis for DEA investigations, and they claim that it is targeting “international narcotics traffickers and special-interest alien smugglers,” so the average person nods sagely and goes back to their video games.  In reality, as The Intercept points out, it’s a lot dirtier than that.

By targeting the Bahamas’ entire mobile network, the NSA is intentionally collecting and retaining intelligence on millions of people who have not been accused of any crime or terrorist activity. Nearly five million Americans visit the country each year, and many prominent U.S. citizens keep homes there, including Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Bill Gates, and Oprah Winfrey.

Personally, I find all three of those people to be fairly worthless human beings in terms of the hate and idiocy that they spew and work towards, but that doesn’t mean that they deserve to have their privacy infringed upon just because the NSA decided to turn limited backdoor DEA access into a fiesta of federal overreach.  It’s almost like telling a friend that if she ever wants to visit, she’s welcome…and then you find out that not only has she moved in, but she’s staring at you while you’re in the shower.  But here’s where it gets interesting.

The NSA refused to comment on the program, but said in a statement that “the implication that NSA’s foreign intelligence collection is arbitrary and unconstrained is false.” The agency also insisted that it follows procedures to “protect the privacy of U.S. persons” whose communications are “incidentally collected.”

Statement analysis time, folks.  The NSA says that the implication that they’re “arbitrary and unconstrained” is false.  It’s not arbitrary, and they do have constraints—they just don’t follow them.  This is not a denial whatsoever.  In fact, it can be taken as an admission.

NSA also claims that it follows procedures to protect privacy of persons whose information is “incidentally collected.”  The problem with this is that their goal is total collection.  There are no incidental collections; therefore, no protections are necessary.  The short version of this is simple:  “We are collecting info on all kinds of Americans who have not been charged with a crime, and we don’t care what you think about it.”

It seems like these updates on the surveillance state are almost too frequent to be bothered with anymore.  Tales of federal overreach are more often than not these days met with a shrug.  Of course they’re spying on this phone and that phone and even every phone.  Of course they’re recording my Facebook and emails and everything else.  That being said, the updates need to keep coming, and we need to fight the urge to get desensitized to it, fight the tendency to just shake our heads and go about our business.  It matters.  Our government is absolutely, completely, dangerously out of control.  It may even be too late.

Written by

  • GWB says:

    Sorry, but I’m not concerned with NSA spying on other countries. That is what it’s supposed to do! It might be a poor use of resources to simply indiscriminately collect on everyone there, and it might be politically radioactive if it gets out (oops!), but that is what the agency is tasked to do – collect intel on the rest of the world.

    Don’t let this dilute the anger over the very wrong spying it has been doing on the country’s own citizens.

  • Eddie Bates says:

    This is a watershed moment for our freedom to live our lives and the privacy to be who we are. With NSA surveillance programs, the US Government now has the power to arbitrarily track, target, and go after any one of us — our friends, family, the journalists and activists we depend on — because they don’t like our ideas. In a world without privacy, anything you’ve written, done, or seen can be used against you, making your life a nightmare. Spying IS censorship.

    Now that we know, WE decide what happens next.
    Americans Right to Privacy has solutions and I am anxious to share them with you. We offer secure, encrypted email that , a Virtual Private Network (VPN) which secures your computer’s internet connection and changes your IP address every 10 minutes to guarantee that all of the data you’re sending and receiving is encrypted and secured from prying eyes. Also a “Swiss Bank Account for your Data” Digital Safe! Switzerland, a country known for its strict data privacy laws, has no back door access to encryption for any government agency, not even Switzerland itself!
    If governments and “free” email providers can peek through your webcam, read your emails and look inside your computer, so can the criminals.
    Solutions exist. Today, regaining your online Privacy means going Abroad…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Become a Victory Girl!

Are you interested in writing for Victory Girls? If you’d like to blog about politics and current events from a conservative POV, send us a writing sample here.
Ava Gardner