News story from the New York Times, similar to other NYTimes stories we've uncovered from the past. Strangely it seems to follow very closely the story about the SWIFT Program. Just one more piece of evidence that BFEE needs to be reigned in. I can believe we've let it get to this...
[Disclosure - The attached is a fictional story which uses much of the text from the Time's SWIFT Story (linked above). I feel that this dislcosure is necessary because one my co-conspirators could not tell whether this was a real story or a parody. This speaks volumes about the current state of the New York Times.]
Internet "Chat Rooms" Secretly Reviewed by U.S. to Fight Terror
June 22, 2006
By ERIC LICHTBLAU and JAMES RISEN
Editors Note: The Bush Administration has requested that the Times hold the publication of this story, expressing concern over the fact that publicizing it could have an impact on on-going investigations. However, given the Administration's secrecy in this and other programs, we here at the Times felt that it was in the public's interest to learn as much as possible about the program. Now that it has been confirmed that we are living in a fascist state, governed by a leader that does not even read this paper and deserves impeachment, it is our duty to expose these dangerous infringements on the privacy of all Americans.
WASHINGTON, July 7 - Under a secret Bush administration program initiated weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, counterterrorism officials have gained access to internet "chat rooms" records from a vast internet database and examined discussions involving thousands of Americans and others in the United States, according to government and internet officials.
The program is limited, government officials say, to tracing discussions of people with suspected of ties to Al Qaeda by reviewing chat logs from the nerve center of the global chat room industry. The logs of chat rooms mostly involve discussions about teens' personal lives and other subjects, but on occassion the talks turn to an even more disturbing subject - terrorism.
Viewed by the Bush administration as a vital tool, the program has played a hidden role in domestic and foreign terrorism investigations since 2001 and helped in the capture of three New York City area youths, the officials said. The program, run out of the Central Intelligence Agency and the FBI, "has provided us with a unique and powerful window into the operations of terrorist networks and is, without doubt, a legal and proper use of our authorities," Stuart Levey, an undersecretary at the CIA, said in an interview Thursday. The program is grounded in part on the president's emergency powers, Mr. Levey said, and multiple safeguards have been imposed to protect against any unwarranted searches of Americans' chat logs.
The program, however, is a significant departure from typical practice in how the government acquires the thoughts of Americans. FBI officials did not seek individual court-approved warrants or subpoenas to examine specific chat room discussions, instead relying on broad administrative subpoenas for millions of records.
That access to large amounts of sensitive data was highly unusual, several officials said, and stirred concerns inside the administration about legal and privacy issues.
"The capability here is awesome or, depending on where you're sitting, troubling," said one former senior counterterrorism official who considers the program valuable. While tight controls are in place, the official added, "The potential for abuse is enormous." Critics and independent technology consultants have identified the method of eavesdropping used by the Administration and recommend that chat room participants leave the room immediately if a user with the screen name of "Barney777" enters the room. Barney is the Bush's Scottish Terrier and the 777 is clearly a religious reference. Using this screen name, the FBI has been monitoring thousands of chat room over the past five years.
The program is separate from the tracking of international financial records and the National Security Agency's efforts to eavesdrop without warrants and collect domestic phone records, operations that have provoked fierce debate by journalists and moonbats alike, spurring lawsuits against the government, telecommunications companies, and banks. But all of the programs grew out of the Bush administration's strange desire to exploit technological tools to prevent another terrorist strike, and all reflect attempts to break down longstanding legal or institutional barriers to the government's access to private information about Americans and others inside the United States.
Congressional oversight of such programs is certainly warranted and, under US law it is imperative that warrants be issued for each chat room that is monitored, even if the participants of the chat room are based entirely overseas, legal scholars and civil rights advocates said on Friday.
It has been suggested that this controversial program was directly responsible for breaking up a "terror network" and the arrest of three gentlemen who were allegedly planning to blow up the Holland Tunnel. The gentlemen had suggested that blowing up the tunnel would flood New York's financial district, which independent analysis by hydraulic engineers has shown would be highly unlikely. The ridiculousness of the plot suggests that perhaps the plot was either a joke between the three gentlemen or that there was no serious threat to the United States.
The three men arrested overseas on Friday have been detained by their home countries, a troubling prospect given the common use of torture. The Supreme Court, fresh on the heels of its repudiation of the Administration's use of Guantanemo Bay to hold detainees in Hamdan, will surely intercede and extend protections to these gentlemen held by foreign governments under the auspices of international law regarding the treatment of prisoners.
ARC: St Wendeler