Sunday, June 30, 2013

The NSA: Made in Israel

[American Free Press]

[Originally posted at ]

June 27, 2013 AFP

 • NSA expert exposes role of Unit 8200 in massive snooping op

By Victor Thorn

Despite denials by Google spokesmen that they willingly permitted any of their data to be mined, it appears they did allow the National Security Agency (NSA) to passively infiltrate their networks.

The missing link in this cyber-spying conundrum can be traced to two Israeli companies founded in the 1990s. According to a June 8 article by syndicated columnist and peace activist Richard Silverstein, “The NSA hired two secretive Israeli companies to wiretap the U.S. telecommunications network. Verint and Narus created programs which offered the NSA back-doors to all major U.S. technology companies, including Facebook, Microsoft and Google.”

On June 9, investigative reporter Jon Rappoport cited James Bamford, author of three books on the NSA, to confirm the role of Verint and Narus. “They played a key role in developing and selling the technology that allowed NSA to deploy its PRISM spying program.” Even more interesting, Silverstein explained how the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) maintained a top-secret department called Unit 8200 which served as their version of our NSA.

“[Unit 8200] developed Stuxnet and Flame along with its colleagues in the NSA. Unit 8200 veterans founded numerous start-ups that commercialized their military applications for security use by companies and intelligence agencies.”

One of these companies was Verint, which is conveniently owned by Comverse, an entity that, prior to 9-11, provided computers to the federal government which allowed them to install wiretapping equipment into practically every phone across the U.S. The ties go deeper. Former Comverse CEO Jacob “Kobi” Alexander also purchased the Odigo instant messaging service which alerted Jewish workers employed at the World Trade Center towers two hours before they were struck by airliners on September 11, 2001.

With these capabilities in mind, a June 7 Washington Post article contained this line: “98% of PRISM production is based on Yahoo, Google and Microsoft.”

Google, it should be noted, is referred to in some quarters as a distinct branch of the government, especially since its CEO, Eric Schmidt, has developed a special relationship with Obama. According to White House advisor David Plouffe, “On election night [2012] he was in our boiler room in Chicago.” 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Multiple Government Agencies Are Keeping Records Of Your Credit Card Transactions

[The Economic Collapse Blog]

Credit Cards

Were you under the impression that your credit card transactions are private?  If so, I am sorry to burst your bubble.  As you will see below, there are actually multiple government agencies that are gathering and storing records of your credit card transactions.  And in turn, those government agencies share that information with other government agencies that want it.  So if you are making a purchase that you don't want anyone to know about, don't use a credit card.  This is one of the reasons why the government hates cash so much.  It is just so hard to track.  In this day and age, the federal government seems to be absolutely obsessed with gathering as much information about all of us as it possibly can.  But there is one big problem.  What they are doing directly violates the U.S. Constitution.  For those that are not familiar with it, the following is what the Fourth Amendment actually says: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."  Unfortunately, the Fourth Amendment is essentially dead at this point.  The federal government is investigating all of us and gathering information on all of us all day, every day without end. (Read More....)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Former Stasi Officer: The NSA Domestic Surveillance Program Would Have Been 'A Dream Come True' For East Germany

[Business Insider]

The National Security Agency's domestic surveillance capabilities would have been "a dream come true" for East Germany, a former lieutenant colonel in the defunct communist country's secret police told Matthew Schofield of McClatchy.

The Stasi was one of the most effective and repressive intelligence and secret police agencies in the world.

Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal called them "worse than the Gestapo," referring to the secret police of Nazi Germany.

“You know, for us, this would have been a dream come true,” Wolfgang Schmidt said. “So much information, on so many people.”

The comments echo those made by NSA whistleblower William Binney, who told documentarian Laura Poitras that the danger of the NSA's domestic dragnet is that "we fall into a totalitarian state. This is something the KGB, the Stasi or the Gestapo would have loved to have had."

America Will See Its Worst Race Riot Yet This Summer

[Crime File News]

Sanford, FL—Yes, the George Zimmerman trial here has thousands of African-Americans getting ready for some serious bloodletting.
I don’t want to make idle and dire predictions but this nation has never been so divided and racially sensitive.  Our African-American President took sides on this case at the very beginning.  That ratified a George Zimmerman guilty verdict in the minds of millions.
There’s just one little problem, and that is the murder case should have never been filed.  It was filed purely for political reasons despite the fact that it was a simple justifiable homicide. 
Zimmerman was on the block watch lookout program and followed a suspicious Trayvon Martin after he used an improper entrance to a gated community.  Zimmerman was acting as the eyes and ears of the Sanford Police Department. Martin did not like being followed and knew that he could easily beat up the out-of-shape Zimmerman and did so.
The force was unequal and Zimmerman was getting his head pounded on the concrete sidewalk.  Zimmerman was fighting for his life when he removed his Kel-Tec pistol and put a round into Martin’s chest.
The Sanford Police Department investigated the shooting and had no probable cause to arrest Zimmerman who regrettably cooperated with them fully.  They made no arrest. 
The Leftist gun rights hating media and African-American agitators could not wait to exploit this sad story.  They used angelic pictures of Martin from his childhood and even broadcast doctored 911 tapes to make Zimmerman appear racist.
The propaganda fairy tale was so simple.  An unarmed youngster was merely skipping along in an apartment complex carrying tea and candy. The lad was suddenly murdered by an armed monster stalking him because of his skin color.   
It was the Seminole County Prosecutor that buckled under the political pressure and brought forward a wrongful prosecution feeding the propaganda.  The case is now on trial and is set to end at the hottest point in our summer season.
The family produced a “star” witness, Rachel Jeantel who was on the phone with Martin at the time of the attack and subsequent shooting.  Jeantel is a very slow-witted girl that was schooled by the Martin family and possibly their civil lawyer on what she should tell authorities. 
The family and prosecutors soon claimed that Jeantel “Connected all the dots to this vicious racially motivated murder.”  Unfortunately for Jeantel the dots all scattered everywhere today in court. 
Jeantel tried her best to pull off the charade but could not keep her lies straight from one moment to the next. Today she had a very painful afternoon on the witness stand not only admitting lies, but she got caught red-handed in a perjury trap. They are far from being through with her yet!  
The media and prosecutors claimed that Zimmerman was a ruthless vigilante that was racially profiling and stalking African-Americans to kill.  They redundantly said he violated orders from the Sanford Police Department employees. 
The problem was when the 911 and police officials were examined under oath in court they really had very little difficulty with Zimmeman’s conduct.
Zimmerman’s prior 911 calls were somehow supposed to show he was out-of-control but he always merely reported suspicious activity as he was told to do. 
The prosecution has been doing terrible and the case is going down in flames, as it should. 
The Martin Family sued the Homeowner’s Association and collected a king’s ransom without any resistance from their insurer.  Frankly they were afraid of the nasty racial overtones and paid the extortion demand out of court.
My Chicago cop friends have a not so kind term for such legal actions, "The Ghetto Lottery."
Today I did a simple name search on Twitter and saw a long list of nasty, seething threats of violence and riots.  Apparently a lot of angry African-Americans see that case is all but over. 
With today’s social media I fully expect organized race rioting to begin in every major city to dwarf the Rodney King and the Martin Luther King riots of past decades.
If you live in a large city be prepared to evacuate or put up a fight to win.  You will need firearms, fire suppression equipment along with lots of food and water.  Police resources will be slow and outgunned everywhere. 
America is about to see some combat related population control like we’ve not seen since the Civil War.  Martial Law can’t be far behind complete with major efforts at gun grabbing. 
This may be a turning point in America.  Freedom will either be retaken or lost for our lifetimes and our children's.-[Full Article]

Thursday, June 27, 2013

MATT CONNOLLY: FBI still mum on death of Ibragim Todashev

On  May 22, 2013 Ibragim Todshev was involved in a homicide. He was the victim. He was in a room with at least six law enforcement officers. The homicide occurred in Florida. The State of Florida refuses to investigate it. Two of the officers were Massachusetts State Police officers. The Massachusetts State Police refuse to discuss what happened.

He was gunned down with about 7 bullets by an FBI agent. Immediately after the shooting the FBI began investigating what happened in that room. This was to be an easy one. Only cops could say what happened. No messy civilian witnesses who might not have seen correctly.

If you wanted to find out what happened, you’d ask the officers who were present and you’d know. How long would it take you to do that? An hour, two. Maybe a day or two if you were particularly inept. Then you’d know and you could tell the public what happened in that room.

We are now a month after that event. The FBI is still covering up investigating what happened. We don’t even know how many officers were present in the room. We know nothing. Even our state authorities are terrorized into not speaking about it. Such silence from our officials is something new.
Let me ask you: did you ever think they’d come a time in America when a person could be the victim of a homicide and you’d never find out how it happened, or, if you did it was only after what happened was washed, rinsed and hung out to dry? Did you ever think one cop could kill an unarmed person in a room full of cops and it'd take at least a month to learn anything about it?

How are we any different from those countries who made people they did not like disappear?  Where is our free press that is supposed to be watching out for these things?  How would you feel if it happened to someone you loved that she could be killed in a room jammed full of cops and you were told they could not tell you what happened until they massaged the facts?

The New York Times reported. that the FBI deemed its agents faultless in 150 shootings from 1993 to 2001. Ain’t that interesting?

Read more: MATT CONNOLLY: FBI still mum on death of Ibragim Todashev - Quincy, MA - The Patriot Ledger
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License-plate readers let police collect millions of records on drivers

[Center for Investigative Reporting]

A license-plate reader mounted on a San Leandro Police Department car can log thousands of plates in an eight-hour patrol shift. “It works 100 times better than driving around looking for license plates with our eyes,” says police Lt. Randall Brandt.
Credit: Michael Katz-Lacabe

When the city of San Leandro, Calif., purchased a license-plate reader for its police department in 2008, computer security consultant Michael Katz-Lacabe asked the city for a record of every time the scanners had photographed his car.

The results shocked him.

The paperback-size device, installed on the outside of police cars, can log thousands of license plates in an eight-hour patrol shift. Katz-Lacabe said it had photographed his two cars on 112 occasions, including one image from 2009 that shows him and his daughters stepping out of his Toyota Prius in their driveway.

That photograph, Katz-Lacabe said, made him “frightened and concerned about the magnitude of police surveillance and data collection.” The single patrol car in San Leandro equipped with a plate reader had logged his car once a week on average, photographing his license plate and documenting the time and location.

At a rapid pace, and mostly hidden from the public, police agencies throughout California have been collecting millions of records on drivers and feeding them to intelligence fusion centers operated by local, state and federal law enforcement.

An image captured by a license-plate reader in 2009 shows Katz-Lacabe and his daughters stepping out of a car in their driveway. The photograph made Katz-Lacabe “frightened and concerned about the magnitude of police surveillance and data collection,” he says. 
Credit: San Leandro Police Department photo courtesy of Michael Katz-Lacabe

With heightened concern over secret intelligence operations at the National Security Agency, the localized effort to track drivers highlights the extent to which the government has committed to collecting large amounts of data on people who have done nothing wrong.-[Full Article]

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Booz Allen Hamilton: What You Don't Know About Snowden's Former Employer

[The Daily Paul]

Let's take another trip down the rabbit hole, shall we?

Lost in the Edward Snowden debate is a critical look at his former employer, the company doing the spying on Americans in the first place: Booz Allen Hamilton.

Booz Allen Hamilton is a government contractor, with 99% of its revenue coming from the US government. Not only does it receive money from the NSA, but also the US Army, US Navy, US Air Force, US Marine Corps, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and ... the IRS. In addition, Booz Allen is heavily connected to the CIA.-[Full Article]

Friday, June 21, 2013

NSA Whistleblower: NSA Spying On – and Blackmailing – Top Government Officials and Military Officers

Posted on by WashingtonsBlog

Whistleblower Says Spy Agency Targeting Top American Leaders

NSA whistleblower Russel Tice – a key source in the 2005 New York Times report that blew the lid off the Bush administration’s use of warrantless wiretapping – told Peter B. Collins on Boiling Frogs Post (the website of FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds):

Tice: Okay. They went after–and I know this because I had my hands literally on the paperwork for these sort of things–they went after high-ranking military officers; they went after 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. But they went after other ones, too. They went after lawyers and law firms. All kinds of–heaps of lawyers and law firms. They went after judges. One of the judges is now sitting on the Supreme Court that I had his wiretap information in my hand. Two are former FISA court judges. They went after State Department officials. They went after people in the executive service that were part of the White House–their own people. They went after antiwar groups. They went after U.S. international–U.S. companies that that do international business, you know, business around the world. They went after U.S. banking firms and financial firms that do international business. They went after NGOs that–like the Red Cross, people like that that go overseas and do humanitarian work. They went after a few antiwar civil rights groups. So, you know, don’t tell me that there’s no abuse, because I’ve had this stuff in my hand and looked at it. And in some cases, I literally was involved in the technology that was going after this stuff. And you know, when I said to [former MSNBC show host Keith] Olbermann, I said, my particular thing is high tech and you know, what’s going on is the other thing, which is the dragnet. The dragnet is what Mark Klein is talking about, the terrestrial dragnet. Well my specialty is outer space. I deal with satellites, and everything that goes in and out of space. I did my spying via space. So that’s how I found out about this...-[Full Article]

["Tice: Absolutely! And remember we talked about that before, that I was worried that the intelligence community now has sway over what is going on. Now here’s the big one. I haven’t given you any names. This was is summer of 2004. One of the papers that I held in my hand was to wiretap a bunch of numbers associated with, with a 40-something-year-old wannabe senator from Illinois. You wouldn’t happen to know where that guy lives right now, would you? It’s a big white house in Washington, DC. That’s who they went after. And that’s the president of the United States now."]

Thursday, June 20, 2013

We'll be uploading our entire MINDS to computers by 2045 and our bodies will be replaced by machines within 90 years, Google expert claims

UK Daily Mail

  • Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google, believes we will be able to upload our entire brains to computers within the next 32 years - an event known as singularity
  • Our 'fragile' human body parts will be replaced by machines by the turn of the century
  • And if these predictions comes true, it could make humans immortal

  • In just over 30 years, humans will be able to upload their entire minds to computers and become digitally immortal - an event called singularity - according to a futurist from Google.

    Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google, also claims that the biological parts of our body will be replaced with mechanical parts and this could happen as early as 2100.

    Kurweil made the claims during his conference speech at the Global Futures 2045 International Congress in New York at the weekend.

    Read more:

    Wednesday, June 19, 2013

    21 Facts About NSA Snooping That Every American Should Know

    [End of the American Dream]

    North America

    There seems to be a lot of confusion about what the NSA is actually doing.  Are they reading our emails?  Are they listening to our telephone calls?  Do they target American citizens or is it only foreigners that they are targeting?  Unfortunately, the truth is that we aren’t going to get straight answers from our leaders about this.  The folks running the NSA have already shown that they are willing to flat out lie to Congress, and Barack Obama doesn’t exactly have the greatest track record when it comes to telling the truth.  These are men that play word games and tell lies for a living.  So it would be unrealistic to expect them to come out and tell us the unvarnished truth about what is going on.  That is why it is so important that whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden have come forward.  Thanks to them and to the brave journalists that are willing to look into these things, we have been able to get some glimpses behind the curtain.  And what we have learned is not very pretty.  The following are 21 facts about NSA snooping that every American should know… (Read More.....)

    Main Core: A List Of Millions Of Americans That Will Be Subject To Detention During Martial Law

    [End of the American Dream]

    Prison Camp

    Are you on the list?  Are you one of the millions of Americans that have been designated a threat to national security by the U.S. government?  Will you be subject to detention when martial law is imposed during a major national emergency?  As you will see below, there is actually a list that contains the names of at least 8 million Americans known as Main Core that the U.S. intelligence community has been compiling since the 1980s.  A recent article on Washington’s Blog quoted a couple of old magazine articles that mentioned this program, and I was intrigued because I didn’t know what it was.  So I decided to look into Main Core, and what I found out was absolutely stunning – especially in light of what Edward Snowden has just revealed to the world.  It turns out that the U.S. government is not just gathering information on all of us.  The truth is that the U.S. government has used this information to create a list of threats to national security that the government would potentially watch, question or even detain during a national crisis.  If you have ever been publicly critical of the government, there is a very good chance that you are on that list. (Read More.....)

    Sunday, June 16, 2013

    PRISM Is Just Part Of A Much Larger, Scarier Government Surveillance Program

    (Business Insider)

    What makes Prism shine? National Security Agency's megadata collection from Internet pipeline

    WASHINGTON (AP) — In the months and early years after 9/11, FBI agents began showing up at Microsoft Corp. more frequently than before, armed with court orders demanding information on customers.
    Around the world, government spies and eavesdroppers were tracking the email and Internet addresses used by suspected terrorists. Often, those trails led to the world's largest software company and, at the time, largest email provider.

    The agents wanted email archives, account information, practically everything, and quickly. Engineers compiled the data, sometimes by hand, and delivered it to the government.

    Often there was no easy way to tell if the information belonged to foreigners or Americans. So much data was changing hands that one former Microsoft employee recalls that the engineers were anxious about whether the company should cooperate.

    Inside Microsoft, some called it "Hoovering" — not after the vacuum cleaner, but after J. Edgar Hoover, the first FBI director, who gathered dirt on countless Americans.

    This frenetic, manual process was the forerunner to Prism, the recently revealed highly classified National Security Agency program that seizes records from Internet companies. As laws changed and technology improved, the government and industry moved toward a streamlined, electronic process, which required less time from the companies and provided the government data in a more standard format.

    The revelation of Prism this month by the Washington Post and Guardian newspapers has touched off the latest round in a decade-long debate over what limits to impose on government eavesdropping, which the Obama administration says is essential to keep the nation safe.

    But interviews with more than a dozen current and former government and technology officials and outside experts show that, while Prism has attracted the recent attention, the program actually is a relatively small part of a much more expansive and intrusive eavesdropping effort.

    Americans who disapprove of the government reading their emails have more to worry about from a different and larger NSA effort that snatches data as it passes through the fiber optic cables that make up the Internet's backbone. That program, which has been known for years, copies Internet traffic as it enters and leaves the United States, then routes it to the NSA for analysis.

    Read more:

    US companies handing over personal data to NSA


    A new report has revealed that thousands of U.S. companies have been handing over personal information of American citizens to the National Security Agency.

    Bloomberg reported on Saturday that four people familiar with the process said “technology, finance and manufacturing companies are working closely with U.S. national security agencies, providing sensitive information and in return receiving benefits that include access to classified intelligence.”

    The shocking report came after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden disclosed that the agency is collecting millions of Americans’ phone records and the computer communications of foreigners from Google and other Internet companies.

    The new revelation shows that Internet and phone companies are not the only firms giving information to the government.

    According to the Bloomberg report, “makers of hardware and software, banks, Internet security providers, satellite telecommunications companies and many other companies” are handing over personal data to federal agencies.-[Full Article]

    NSA admits listening to U.S. phone calls without warrants


    National Security Agency discloses in secret Capitol Hill briefing that thousands of analysts can listen to domestic phone calls. That authorization appears to extend to e-mail and text messages too.

    NSA Director Keith Alexander says his agency's analysts, which until recently included Edward Snowden among their ranks, take protecting "civil liberties and privacy and the security of this nation to their heart every day."
    NSA Director Keith Alexander says his agency's analysts, which until recently included Edward Snowden among their ranks, take protecting "civil liberties and privacy and the security of this nation to their heart every day."
    (Credit: Getty Images) 
    The National Security Agency has acknowledged in a new classified briefing that it does not need court authorization to listen to domestic phone calls.

    Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, disclosed this week that during a secret briefing to members of Congress, he was told that the contents of a phone call could be accessed "simply based on an analyst deciding that."

    If the NSA wants "to listen to the phone," an analyst's decision is sufficient, without any other legal authorization required, Nadler said he learned. "I was rather startled," said Nadler, an attorney and congressman who serves on the House Judiciary committee. -[Full Article]

    Wednesday, June 12, 2013

    Main Core: A List Of Millions Of Americans That Will Be Subject To Detention During Martial Law

    End of the American Dream

    Prison Camp

    Are you on the list?  Are you one of the millions of Americans that have been designated a threat to national security by the U.S. government?  Will you be subject to detention when martial law is imposed during a major national emergency?  As you will see below, there is actually a list that contains the names of at least 8 million Americans known as Main Core that the U.S. intelligence community has been compiling since the 1980s.  A recent article on Washington’s Blog quoted a couple of old magazine articles that mentioned this program, and I was intrigued because I didn’t know what it was.  So I decided to look into Main Core, and what I found out was absolutely stunning – especially in light of what Edward Snowden has just revealed to the world.  It turns out that the U.S. government is not just gathering information on all of us.  The truth is that the U.S. government has used this information to create a list of threats to national security that the government would potentially watch, question or even detain during a national crisis.  If you have ever been publicly critical of the government, there is a very good chance that you are on that list. (Read More.....)

    Saturday, June 8, 2013

    On 46th Anniversary, Survivors of Israeli Attack on USS Liberty Demand Congressional Inquiry

    Attack Killed 34 American Crew Members

    by Jason Ditz, June 07, 2013
    Saturday marks the 46th anniversary of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty, a Naval spy ship in the Mediterranean Sea. The attack killed 34 American crew members and wounded 171 others.

    The incident came during the Six-Day War of 1967, during which Israeli occupied large chunks of territory from its Arab neighbors. The attack on the USS Liberty was America’s only involvement in the conflict.

    The attack began with two Israeli Mirage III fighter jets attacking the ship, claiming they assumed the antenna was a gun, and began attacking the US ship with rockets. The attacks escalated despite the ship being unable to return fire in any form, with torpedoes hitting the ship and napalm bombs setting it ablaze.

    The immediate US response was to deploy warplanes against Egypt on the assumption that they might conceivably have been the attackers. Though never confirmed, some reports have persisted that the planes had nuclear weapons on board, though they were thankfully recalled at the last moment when it was revealed that it was an Israeli attack.

    Israel claimed that they assumed the USS Liberty was an Egyptian destroyer, despite it flying a US flag and having clearly identified Latin alphabet letters all over it. The US rejected the claim but accepted an Israeli apology, along with a $6 million payment made in 1980 to cover a fraction of the repair costs for almost destroying the ship.

    Israel’s own investigations into the matter throw their own story into doubt, with a 1982 IDF History Department Report (pdf) noting that the Israeli Navy knew hours before the attack that the ship was from the US Navy, and then goes on to speculate that the ground controllers directing the attack were just never told about this.  It then brushed off the whole incident as “an innocent mistake.”

    There were some limited US military inquiries into the matter but nothing in the way of Congressional investigations, and 46 years later survivors of the attack are still pressing Congress on the incident, saying it’s high time they got around to actually probing unprovoked attacks on a US Navy ship in international waters.
    The survivors noted the incongruence between the treatment of the USS Liberty attack and the September 11, 2012 Benghazi consulate attack, saying it made no sense that Congress has dedicated months to that attack while refusing even nominal hearings on the USS Liberty, an attack which had many, many more casualties.

    USS Liberty Veterans Association

    USS Liberty Memorial

    NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily

    UK Guardian

    Exclusive: Top secret court order requiring Verizon to hand over all call data shows scale of domestic surveillance under Obama

    Read the Verizon court order in full here
    Obama administration justifies surveillance

      Phone records data
      Under the terms of the order, the numbers of both parties on a call are handed over, as is location data and the time and duration of all calls. Photograph: Matt Rourke/AP
      The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America's largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.

      The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an "ongoing, daily basis" to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.

      The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.

      The secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisa) granted the order to the FBI on April 25, giving the government unlimited authority to obtain the data for a specified three-month period ending on July 19.

      Under the terms of the blanket order, the numbers of both parties on a call are handed over, as is location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls. The contents of the conversation itself are not covered.

      The disclosure is likely to reignite longstanding debates in the US over the proper extent of the government's domestic spying powers.

      Under the Bush administration, officials in security agencies had disclosed to reporters the large-scale collection of call records data by the NSA, but this is the first time significant and top-secret documents have revealed the continuation of the practice on a massive scale under President Obama.
      The unlimited nature of the records being handed over to the NSA is extremely unusual. Fisa court orders typically direct the production of records pertaining to a specific named target who is suspected of being an agent of a terrorist group or foreign state, or a finite set of individually named targets.
      The Guardian approached the National Security Agency, the White House and the Department of Justice for comment in advance of publication on Wednesday. All declined. The agencies were also offered the opportunity to raise specific security concerns regarding the publication of the court order.
      The court order expressly bars Verizon from disclosing to the public either the existence of the FBI's request for its customers' records, or the court order itself.

      "We decline comment," said Ed McFadden, a Washington-based Verizon spokesman.
      The order, signed by Judge Roger Vinson, compels Verizon to produce to the NSA electronic copies of "all call detail records or 'telephony metadata' created by Verizon for communications between the United States and abroad" or "wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls".

      The order directs Verizon to "continue production on an ongoing daily basis thereafter for the duration of this order". It specifies that the records to be produced include "session identifying information", such as "originating and terminating number", the duration of each call, telephone calling card numbers, trunk identifiers, International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) number, and "comprehensive communication routing information".

      The information is classed as "metadata", or transactional information, rather than communications, and so does not require individual warrants to access. The document also specifies that such "metadata" is not limited to the aforementioned items. A 2005 court ruling judged that cell site location data – the nearest cell tower a phone was connected to – was also transactional data, and so could potentially fall under the scope of the order.
      While the order itself does not include either the contents of messages or the personal information of the subscriber of any particular cell number, its collection would allow the NSA to build easily a comprehensive picture of who any individual contacted, how and when, and possibly from where, retrospectively.
      It is not known whether Verizon is the only cell-phone provider to be targeted with such an order, although previous reporting has suggested the NSA has collected cell records from all major mobile networks. It is also unclear from the leaked document whether the three-month order was a one-off, or the latest in a series of similar orders.

      The court order appears to explain the numerous cryptic public warnings by two US senators, Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, about the scope of the Obama administration's surveillance activities.

      For roughly two years, the two Democrats have been stridently advising the public that the US government is relying on "secret legal interpretations" to claim surveillance powers so broad that the American public would be "stunned" to learn of the kind of domestic spying being conducted.
      Because those activities are classified, the senators, both members of the Senate intelligence committee, have been prevented from specifying which domestic surveillance programs they find so alarming. But the information they have been able to disclose in their public warnings perfectly tracks both the specific law cited by the April 25 court order as well as the vast scope of record-gathering it authorized.

      Julian Sanchez, a surveillance expert with the Cato Institute, explained: "We've certainly seen the government increasingly strain the bounds of 'relevance' to collect large numbers of records at once — everyone at one or two degrees of separation from a target — but vacuuming all metadata up indiscriminately would be an extraordinary repudiation of any pretence of constraint or particularized suspicion." The April order requested by the FBI and NSA does precisely that.

      The law on which the order explicitly relies is the so-called "business records" provision of the Patriot Act, 50 USC section 1861. That is the provision which Wyden and Udall have repeatedly cited when warning the public of what they believe is the Obama administration's extreme interpretation of the law to engage in excessive domestic surveillance.

      In a letter to attorney general Eric Holder last year, they argued that "there is now a significant gap between what most Americans think the law allows and what the government secretly claims the law allows."

      "We believe," they wrote, "that most Americans would be stunned to learn the details of how these secret court opinions have interpreted" the "business records" provision of the Patriot Act.

      Privacy advocates have long warned that allowing the government to collect and store unlimited "metadata" is a highly invasive form of surveillance of citizens' communications activities. Those records enable the government to know the identity of every person with whom an individual communicates electronically, how long they spoke, and their location at the time of the communication.

      Such metadata is what the US government has long attempted to obtain in order to discover an individual's network of associations and communication patterns. The request for the bulk collection of all Verizon domestic telephone records indicates that the agency is continuing some version of the data-mining program begun by the Bush administration in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attack.

      The NSA, as part of a program secretly authorized by President Bush on 4 October 2001, implemented a bulk collection program of domestic telephone, internet and email records. A furore erupted in 2006 when USA Today reported that the NSA had "been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth" and was "using the data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity." Until now, there has been no indication that the Obama administration implemented a similar program.

      These recent events reflect how profoundly the NSA's mission has transformed from an agency exclusively devoted to foreign intelligence gathering, into one that focuses increasingly on domestic communications. A 30-year employee of the NSA, William Binney, resigned from the agency shortly after 9/11 in protest at the agency's focus on domestic activities.

      In the mid-1970s, Congress, for the first time, investigated the surveillance activities of the US government. Back then, the mandate of the NSA was that it would never direct its surveillance apparatus domestically.

      At the conclusion of that investigation, Frank Church, the Democratic senator from Idaho who chaired the investigative committee, warned: "The NSA's capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter."

      Additional reporting by Ewen MacAskill and Spencer Ackerman