Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Unmasking, Surveillance and Crimes

There is a lot of news about former National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, had requested documents to be "unmasked". Some of you are wondering what this means.

Let me start with the most basic. EVERYTHING transmitted electronically is copied by the federal government. While Snowden and Manning provided evidence that this is true, it is not new and has been going on for decades, not years, decades. I personally have been writing about it for 8 years on this blog. Everything that has ever been transmitted on the internet has been recorded and that includes e-mails. For those who do not know, the Pimpernel was one of the first million people on the internet. Heck, the internet was created and is controlled by the federal government. If you don't understand that, you need to look it up.

The internet has a backup. If the internet went down tomorrow it could be rebooted along with all of the information on it. To understand this you need two pieces of information.

Gizmodo - Seven People Have Been Entrusted With The Keys To The Internet.  Gizmodo is a tech site. The article is from 2010. Seven people have the ability to restart the internet. ICANN determines who gets the keys. In fact, the reboot would be done from US military bases. The internet was started by the US military and was originally called ARPNET.

The second thing you need to know is that all of the information that travels on the internet and over cell phones is collected and stored by the US government. This is what we learned from Manning and Snowden.

This is an amazing amount of information that is collected on a daily basis. Now for any paranoids out there, nobody cares about your personal information. Well, the government doesn't care about whether or not your cheating on your wife or smoking weed. You just aren't that interesting to the NSA until you are. Think about it this way, with all the surveillance cameras in the United States and Britain, do you really believe people are assigned to review every second of film? Of course not, it is reviewed only when there is a reason to, like after a bombing. Same thing with internet communications.

In order to protect your privacy, rules have been put in place to determine when the government can look at collected information. If the government wants to look at John Doe's communications, it must have a reason if he is an American. They don't really need much of a reason to look at communications between foreign individuals although I am quite sure there are rules for that too.

What has come to light is that the former National Security Advisor received communications that had been made by Russians and unknown Americans. They were unknown, as required by law, until she requested that they be "unmasked".  That means that transcripts which originally said "American number 1" were changed to show the Americans actual name.

Unmasking occurs more frequently than we might like; but, the actual name of Americans who are unmasked is to be limited in distribution to people with a need to know who are validly investigating with authority a subject. This is the purpose of the FISA courts. Rice requested that Americans names be provided for a series of communications and it included people such as General Flynn. How do we know this, it was reported by the New York Times and others. In fact, they reported that they had seen the transcripts showing Flynn's name. This unmasking occurred after the communications.

Now, these transcripts should have gone directly from the collecting agency to the requestor, in this case Rice; but, somehow they were mysteriously distributed to others in the intelligence community and Obama administration. That is the first problem as it shows that the rules were not followed. Once that information was made public there should have been an immediate investigation into who had access to it and when and why they were given access to it. From what we know now, that did not happen under the Obama administration. Why not? You don't ask what you don't want to know. Just as importantly, what was the justification for the unmasking? We haven't been told that and the corporate media doesn't even want to ask the question. At least CNN doesn't.

The standard questions for reporters to ask are who was given this information, why were they given the information, when were they given the information,, what information were they given and how was the information given to them and where was this information distributed. That is reporting 101. Well, we know where some of this information was distributed. It was distributed to members of the corporate media who then reported on it. Reporting it was not a crime; but, providing it to the press is.

After the WikiLeaks release of the Podesta emails, the corporate media refused to report on it and some went so far as to claim that it was illegal for anyone to look at it other than the corporate media.

YouTube - CNN says it's ILLEGAL for you to read the Wikileaks/Hillary Clinton emails

Somehow these same rules did not apply to General Flynn. The same corporate media that was offended by the release of Podesta's emails was thrilled to release Flynn's private communications.

YouTube - CNN - Don Lemon: Won't aid and abet Trump's diversion... 

Mr. Lemon, aside from refusing to be a real reporter, ignores the basic fact. Flynn's communications were released to the press. Flynn's conversations were recorded and transcripts were made. Those transcripts were unmasked. Those are the facts. To refuse to investigate these facts or ask basic questions is dishonest and predictable. While the corporate media should be addressing privacy issues in a world of universal surveillance, they instead chose to ignore it because they don't like the answers.

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