Your quick history on the Patriot Act -The “USA PATRIOT Act of 2001” is an Act of the U.S. Congress that was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001. The act, as a response to the terrorist attacks of September 11th, significantly weakened restrictions on law enforcement agencies’ gathering of intelligence within the United States; expanded the Secretary of the Treasury’s authority to regulate financial transactions, particularly those involving foreign individuals and entities; and broadened the discretion of law enforcement and immigration authorities in detaining and deporting immigrants suspected of terrorism-related acts. The act also expanded the definition of terrorism to include domestic terrorism, thus enlarging the number of activities to which the USA PATRIOT Act’s expanded law enforcement powers can be applied.

On May 26, 2011, President Barack Obama signed the PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act of 2011 a four-year extension of three key provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act: roving wiretaps; searches of business records (the “library records provision”); and conducting surveillance of “lone wolves” — individuals suspected of terrorist-related activities not linked to terrorist groups.

Ski’s spin: Edward Snowden is a 29 year old “former” contractor with the military contracting juggernaut, Booz Allen Hamilton. Edward started his career with BAH as a high school dropout turned security guard. Snowden worked his way up to a six-figure salary position as an IT systems engineer, administrator and senior advisor for NSA/CIA before turning rogue “whistle-blower-traitorous-IT-geek” and then bugging-out to Hong Kong in an attempt to avoid extradition back to the States for leaking tons of classified documents.

So we are looking at someone with at least a Top Secret, Sensitive Compartmented Information clearance, with unrestricted mainframe access to documents on the classified program that has been gathering technical cell phone data on millions of U.S. citizens operating under the umbrella of the Sunset Patriot Act extension.

This is what you get when the vast majority of the American population was scared shitless after September 11th, giving the federal government a blank check to “protect” us from terrorism (the new buzz word of the 21th Century). This type of surveillance program is what happens when you ask the feds to find bad guys within the borders of our country.

I was very surprised to learn that so many people in America really had no idea that this type of shit was being conducted by NSA and the CIA. This event has brought us full-circle on the Patriot Act. I wish we would have heeded the wisdom of our Founding Fathers on this one, before everyone decided to jump into the same life raft.

“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” -Benjamin Franklin

Original transcript of Snowden’s interview

Snowden: “When you’re in positions of privileged access like a systems administrator for the sort of intelligence community agencies, you’re exposed to a lot more information on a broader scale then the average employee and because of that you see things that may be disturbing but over the course of a normal person’s career you’d only see one or two of these instances. When you see everything you see them on a more frequent basis and you recognize that some of these things are actually abuses. And when you talk to people about them in a place like this where this is the normal state of business people tend not to take them very seriously and move on from them.

NSA and intelligence community in general is focused on getting intelligence wherever it can by any means possible. It believes, on the grounds of sort of a self-certification, that they serve the national interest. Originally we saw that focus very narrowly tailored as foreign intelligence gathered overseas.

Now increasingly we see that it’s happening domestically and to do that they, the NSA specifically, targets the communications of everyone. It ingests them by default. It collects them in its system and it filters them and it analyses them and it measures them and it stores them for periods of time simply because that’s the easiest, most efficient, and most valuable way to achieve these ends. So while they may be intending to target someone associated with a foreign government or someone they suspect of terrorism, they’re collecting you’re communications to do so.

Any analyst at any time can target anyone, any selector, anywhere. Where those communications will be picked up depends on the range of the sensor networks and the authorities that analyst is empowered with. Not all analysts have the ability to target everything. But I sitting at my desk certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone from you or your accountant to a Federal judge to even the President if I had a personal e-mail.”

Remain vigilant and get some, Ski

Level Zero Heroes | The Story of U.S. Marine SOF in Bala Murghab, Afghanistan


Dedicated to the loving memory and sacrifice of GySgt. Robert L. Gilbert & SSgt. Patrick R. Dolphin