Fortunately, the government authorities collect (and provide to Obama) this information in case one of them starts trouble with the ruling class. There work is important work and it must move forward unhindered.
(Hot Air) – Remember when James Clapper and Keith Alexander insisted in Congressional testimony that the NSA didn’t collect e-mail data from Americans? Good times, good times. The Washington Post Barton Gellman and Askhan Soltani reported last night that the NSA vacuums up hundreds of thousands of e-mail address books a day, at a rate approaching 250 million a year, in order to find links to terrorists within the data:
The National Security Agency is harvesting hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal e-mail and instant messaging accounts around the world, many of them belonging to Americans, according to senior intelligence officials and top-secret documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
The collection program, which has not been disclosed before, intercepts e-mail address books and “buddy lists” from instant messaging services as they move across global data links. Online services often transmit those contacts when a user logs on, composes a message, or synchronizes a computer or mobile device with information stored on remote servers.
Rather than targeting individual users, the NSA is gathering contact lists in large numbers that amount to a sizable fraction of the world’s e-mail and instant messaging accounts. Analysis of that data enables the agency to search for hidden connections and to map relationships within a much smaller universe of foreign intelligence targets.
During a single day last year, the NSA’s Special Source Operations branch collected 444,743 e-mail address books from Yahoo, 105,068 from Hotmail, 82,857 from Facebook, 33,697 from Gmail and 22,881 from unspecified other providers, according to an internal NSA PowerPoint presentation. Those figures, described as a typical daily intake in the document, correspond to a rate of more than 250 million a year.
Previously, the Obama administration insisted that the NSA only looked at metadata on e-mail and phone communications, likening it to reading the outside of envelopes. They weren’t looking at the content, Clapper and Alexander argued after their testimony got exposed as misleading, and so weren’t infringing on privacy.
We should be grateful that we have a ruling elite to keep a watchful eye on us.
They care so much, they didn’t even want to bother us with who comes and goes at the White House.