NSA whistleblower Russel Tice has told reporters examples of people the NSA was spying on prior to the PRISM program. Tice says these people were targeted for blackmail and other leverage over them.
- “Members of Congress, both Senate and the House, especially on the intelligence committees and on the armed services committees and some of the–and judicial”
- “One of the judges is now sitting on the Supreme Court”
- “Two … former FISA court judges”
- “State Department officials”
- “People in the executive service that were part of the White House–their own people”
- “Antiwar groups”
- “U.S. companies that that do international business”
- “U.S. banking firms and financial firms that do international business”
- “NGOs that–like the Red Cross, people like that that go overseas and do humanitarian work”
- “The president of the United States now [i.e. Barack Obama, when he was running for Senate]“
- Top Democratic and Republican congress members, especially on the Intelligence, Armed Services and Judiciary committees, as well as the senior leadership in both the House and the Senate
- General Petraeus and other generals
- Supreme Court justice Alito … and all of the other Supreme Court justices
- White House spokesman Scott McClellan
Again, this was Bush-era spying examples. The program has been ramped up and extended under Obama.
Rather than demonstrating protection from dangers, this list shows us that the spying tools were being used for political purposes. It isn’t hard to imagine that Howard Dean, Obama’s “yes we can,” the Occupy Movement, and other failed attempts at change were under total survelillance then crushed.
We know the spying goes beyond metadata. As recent reports indicate, cellphone and computer microphones and cameras can be turned on secretly and remotely. Smart meter data has already been given over to government agencies according to the ACLU. Apple, Microsoft and Google are reported to have provided backdoors in their operating system software to allow remote control.
There seems to be no filter for age, either, which means kids are having profiles built as soon as they use a phone or tablet. It brings new meaning to the idea of your “permanent record” (a mythical school file that students joked about in more innocent times.)
It’s time for our elected leaders to put an immediate end to this. It may not be possible, though, if they are being spied on and blackmailed.