Collect It All


Posted on 16th July 2013 by harry p. in Politics |Social Issues

collect it all

Yeah, just “collect it all”, that way we will have something to use against anyone when we need to.  Oh wait, it is really them using it against us.  And if you aren’t sure whether you are part of them or us, then you are definitely part of us

Glenn Greenwald bringing the conversation back to the USSA’s illegal activities instead of the asylum drama going on in Russia.  But think about this for a sec, Russia is likely to provide asylum to a person wrongfully hunted by the US guv-thugs.  And Americans have to read British News to get a taste of real journalism.  If TJ was alive today he would think he is in Bizarro-World. 

Nothing to worry about, our dear leader is nobel peace prize winner, he is only concerned about our best interests.

barack i don't always


The crux of the NSA story in one phrase: ‘collect it all’

The actual story that matters is not hard to see: the NSA is attempting to collect, monitor and store all forms of human communication

NSA Data Center in Bluffdale, Utah

The NSA Data Center in Bluffdale, Utah, will soon host supercomputers to store gargantuan quantities of data from emails, phone calls and web searches Photograph: Rick Bowmer/AP

The Washington Post this morning has a long profile of Gen. Keith Alexander, director the NSA, and it highlights the crux – the heart and soul – of the NSA stories, the reason Edward Snowden sacrificed his liberty to come forward, and the obvious focal point for any responsible or half-way serious journalists covering this story. It helpfully includes that crux right in the headline, in a single phrase:

collect it allWhat does “collect it all” mean? Exactly what it says; the Post explains how Alexander took a “collect it all” surveillance approach originally directed at Iraqis in the middle of a war, and thereafter transferred it so that it is now directed at the US domestic population as well as the global one:

“At the time, more than 100 teams of US analysts were scouring Iraq for snippets of electronic data that might lead to the bomb-makers and their hidden factories. But the NSA director, Gen. Keith B. Alexander, wanted more than mere snippets. He wanted everything: Every Iraqi text message, phone call and e-mail that could be vacuumed up by the agency’s powerful computers.

“‘Rather than look for a single needle in the haystack, his approach was, ‘Let’s collect the whole haystack,’ said one former senior US intelligence official who tracked the plan’s implementation. ‘Collect it all, tag it, store it. . . . And whatever it is you want, you go searching for it. . . . .

“It also encapsulated Alexander’s controversial approach to safeguarding Americans from what he sees as a host of imminent threats, from terrorism to devastating cyberattacks.

“In his eight years at the helm of the country’s electronic surveillance agency, Alexander, 61, has quietly presided over a revolution in the government’s ability to scoop up information in the name of national security. And, as he did in Iraq, Alexander has pushed hard for everything he can get: tools, resources and the legal authority to collect and store vast quantities of raw information on American and foreign communications.”

Aside from how obviously menacing and even creepy it is to have a state collect all forms of human communication – to have the explicit policy that literally no electronic communication can ever be free of US collection and monitoring – there’s no legal authority for the NSA to do this. Therefore:

[E]ven his defenders say Alexander’s aggressiveness has sometimes taken him to the outer edge of his legal authority.”

“The outer edge of his legal authority”: that’s official-Washington-speak for “breaking the law“, at least when it comes to talking about powerful DC officials (in Washington, only the powerless are said to have broken the law, which is why so many media figures so freely call Edward Snowden a criminal for having told his fellow citizens about all this, but would never dare use the same language for James Clapper for having lied to Congress about all of this, which is a felony). That the NSA’s “collect it all” approach to surveillance has no legal authority is clear:

“One Democrat who confronted Alexander at a congressional hearing last month accused the NSA of crossing a line by collecting the cellphone records of millions of Americans.

‘What authorization gave you the grounds for acquiring my cellphone data?’ demanded Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), waving his mobile phone at the four-star general.”

I know this is not as exciting to some media figures as Snowden’s asylum drama or his speculated personality traits. But that the NSA is collecting all forms of electronic communications between Americans as well as people around the world – and, as I’ve said many times, thereby attempting by definition to destroy any remnants of privacy both in the US and globally – is as serious of a story as it gets, particularly given that it’s all being done in secret. Here’s another former NSA whistleblower, from the Post article, explaining why that is:

“‘He is absolutely obsessed and completely driven to take it all, whenever possible,” said Thomas Drake, a former NSA official and whistleblower. The continuation of Alexander’s policies, Drake said, would result in the ‘complete evisceration of our civil liberties.'”

Numerous NSA documents we’ve already published demonstrate that the NSA’s goal is to collect, monitor and store every telephone and internet communication that takes place inside the US and on the earth. It already collects billions of calls and emails every single day. Still another former NSA whistleblower, the mathematician William Binney, has said that the NSA has “assembled on the order of 20 trillion transactions about US citizens with other US citizens” and that “estimate only was involving phone calls and emails.”

The NSA is constantly seeking to expand its capabilities without limits. They’re currently storing so much, and preparing to store so much more, that they have to build a massive, sprawling new facility in Utah just to hold all the communications from inside the US and around the world that they are collecting – communications they then have the physical ability to invade any time they want (“Collect it all, tag it, store it. . . . And whatever it is you want, you go searching for it”).

That is the definition of a ubiquitous surveillance state – and it’s been built in the dark, without the knowledge of the American people or people around the world, even though it’s aimed at them. How anyone could think this should have all remained concealed – that it would have been better had it just been left to fester and grow in the dark – is truly mystifying.

Perhaps the coining of a punchy phrase by the Washington Post to describe all of this – “collect it all” – will help those DC media figures who keep lamenting their own refusal to cover the substance of the NSA stories begin to figure out why they should cover the substance and how they can. The rest of the world is having no trouble focusing on the substance of these revelations – rather than the trivial dramas surrounding the person who enabled us to know of all this – and discussing why those revelations are so disturbing. Perhaps US media figures can now follow that example.

Original article HERE.

  1. dave says:

    well, i’m guessing they already know the comment I would have made, so no need to say it out loud or in print, eh?


    16th July 2013 at 9:38 am

  2. Eddie says:

    Save this.



    16th July 2013 at 10:24 am

  3. David says:

    Hooray for Montana! The good citizens of this country should leap from their seats, throw their fists in air, and give a mighty cheer for Montana.

    2013 Montana Legislature

    Additional Bill Links PDF version

    HOUSE BILL NO. 603




    Section 1. Location information privacy — civil penalty. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), a government entity may not obtain the location information of an electronic device without a search warrant issued by a duly authorized court.

    (2) A government entity may obtain location information of an electronic device under any of the following circumstances:

    (a) the device is reported stolen by the owner;

    (b) in order to respond to the user’s call for emergency services;

    (c) with the informed, affirmative consent of the owner or user of the electronic device; or

    (d) there exists a possible life-threatening situation.

    (3) Any evidence obtained in violation of this section is not admissible in a civil, criminal, or administrative proceeding and may not be used in an affidavit of probable cause in an effort to obtain a search warrant.

    (4) A violation of this section will result in a civil fine not to exceed $50.

    Section 2. Definitions. As used in [section 1] and this section, the following definitions apply:

    (1) “Electronic communication service” means a service that provides to users of the service the ability to send or receive wire or electronic communications.

    (2) “Electronic device” means a device that enables access to or use of an electronic communication service, remote computing service, or location information service.

    (3) “Government entity” means a state or local agency, including but not limited to a law enforcement entity or any other investigative entity, agency, department, division, bureau, board, or commission or an individual acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of a state or local agency.

    (4) “Location information” means information concerning the location of an electronic device that, in whole or in part, is generated or derived from or obtained by the operation of an electronic device.

    (5) “Location information service” means the provision of a global positioning service or other mapping, locational, or directional information service.

    (6) “Remote computing service” means the provision of computer storage or processing services by means of an electronic communications system.

    Section 3. Codification instruction. [Sections 1 and 2] are intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 46, chapter 5, and the provisions of Title 46, chapter 5, apply to [sections 1 and 2].

    – END –

    Latest Version of HB 603 (HB0603.ENR)
    Processed for the Web on April 22, 2013 (11:48am)

    New language in a bill appears underlined, deleted material appears stricken.

    Sponsor names are handwritten on introduced bills, hence do not appear on the bill until it is reprinted.

    See the status of this bill for the bill’s primary sponsor.

    Status of this Bill | 2013 Legislature | Leg. Branch Home
    All versions of all bills (PDF format)
    Authorized print version of this bill (PDF format)
    [ NEW SEARCH ]

    Prepared by Montana Legislative Services
    (406) 444-3064


    16th July 2013 at 11:04 am

  4. Fool on the hill says:

    The NAZIS would target family.

    Surely these NSA thugs have some.

    Sooooooooooooo doit


    16th July 2013 at 12:43 pm

  5. OUTTAHERE says:

    Dr. Strangelove (aka Gen. Alexander) has put the petal to the metal and is scooping up every digit of information available as fast as he can for as long as he can and storing it for future use against whoever poses a perceived threat to the elitist agenda. And we’re still sitting on our asses watching Honey Boo Boo? What’s wrong with this picture folks???? If Egypt can do it, why can’t we????


    16th July 2013 at 4:38 pm

  6. OUTTAHERE says:

    Oh yea, more conditioning for the Sheeple! More helicopter “training” flights over major cities and urban areas.


    16th July 2013 at 4:41 pm

  7. Llpoh says:

    Seriously, they are going to know everything about everyone, cradle to grave. They will know how many diapers you went through as a baby, how many rubbers you bought as a teen, when your first period came on, and what you had for lunch. It will all be made possible by a cashless society. Digital anything can be tracked and stored on a computer – and it will be.

    Cashless society is the Bible’s mark of the beast. My father was not a religious man, but he warned me many times to be on the lookout for the mark. And it has arrived in the form of credit and debit cards.


    17th July 2013 at 7:55 pm

  8. llpoh says:

    I thought this thread might really take off but it fizzled.


    18th July 2013 at 12:14 am

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