Shifting gears on the NSA

It’s time for me to move on from the NSA surveillance issue to other things.  This message includes (1) my main sources for NSA/surveillance news and commentary so you can subscribe to them if you wish; (2) eight more hot articles on the subject; and (3) a bunch of satirical humor about it.  Enjoy!

I have many articles I want to share with you that aren’t related to the NSA/privacy issue – yet the many important revelations and commentaries on surveillance keep pushing ahead of these other messages.  However, most people did not subscribe to my posts to hear about the NSA.  So I’m shifting gears.  If you want to continue following the NSA issue, I am providing links below to my own main sources so you can follow them yourself.  That will free me up to post other items of interest.  This will be my last post on the NSA – unless, of course, a radically new angle shows up…

This post ALSO includes a number of links to the latest articles I think are worth reading on the NSA/surveillance issue AND some humorous takes on it, as well.  The fact that this subject is very serious is all the more reason to indulge in some lighter reflections on it.  Perhaps in this way we can maintain our sanity while enjoying the time-honored pastime of making fun of the folly and vice that taint the care and intelligence we also find in government and business.

Enjoy, spread the word, and take action.





You can subscribe to the four newsletters through which I got 80% of the NSA stories I’ve sent to you.  They also cover many other stories of interest, primarily from a progressive perspective.  This issue, however, is a great transpartisan one, so you know conservative or liberatarian news services like these that offer good substantive coverage of the NSA/surveillance issue (among others), please let people know with a comment on this blog post.



In Depth Review: New NSA Documents Expose How Americans Can Be Spied on Without A Warrant

In WikiLeaks Probe, Feds Used a Secret Search Warrant to Get Volunteer’s Gmail

Snowden: NSA Collects ‘Everything,’ Including Content Of Emails

The Whistleblower’s Guide: How to Leak to the Press

Snowden Files: Brit Spy Agency Database Dwarfs NSA’s

Glenn Greenwald On the Espionage Act charges against Edward Snowden

Obama’s Crackdown Views Leaks as Aiding Enemies of US

A highly unusual report of cultural/design responses to surveillance



– A –

CIA’s ‘Facebook’ Program Dramatically Cut Agency’s Costs

In March 2011 the Onion created this classic “news broadcast” to open people’s eyes with over-the-top irony

– B –

U.S. Seemingly Unaware of Irony in Accusing Snowden of Spying

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—The United States government charged former intelligence analyst Edward Snowden with spying on Friday, apparently unaware that in doing so it had created a situation dripping with irony.

At a press conference to discuss the accusations, an N.S.A. spokesman surprised observers by announcing the spying charges against Mr. Snowden with a totally straight face.

“These charges send a clear message,” the spokesman said. “In the United States, you can’t spy on people.”

Seemingly not kidding, the spokesman went on to discuss another charge against Mr. Snowden—the theft of government documents: “The American people have the right to assume that their private documents will remain private and won’t be collected by someone in the government for his own purposes.”

“Only by bringing Mr. Snowden to justice can we safeguard the most precious of American rights: privacy,” added the spokesman, apparently serious.

– C –

Candidate Obama debates President Obama on Government Surveillance

This video is actual footage of the two Obamas, brilliantly juxtaposed…

– D –

I, for one,….

John Quiggin

… welcome the knowledge that, as a US non-person, the NSA is charged with monitoring all my emails, phone calls and other activities, without all those pesky 4th Amendment limitations applicable to people who are (on the balance of probabilities) located in the US.

I don’t have the time and energy to monitor all my emails for potential security threats. Just the other day, for example, I received an email from an Abdul Hameed, offering “Deep Cycle Maintenance Free Batteries Directly for Importer”. Abdul sounds genuine enough, but he seems to be located in Pakistan, which is a bit dubious. And who knows what can be done with batteries? Then there are the regular emails I get from genuine ladies seeking relationships. Perhaps these are the kind of “honey traps” I read about in spy novels.

The debate about PRISM has confused me as to whether these emails are being properly monitored. So, instead of waiting for NSA to go through cumbersome FISA court procedures, I’m going to set my email preferences to forward all such emails (and, when I get around to it, all my emails) automatically to the NSA “Acquisition Resource Center” Hopefully, they will sort through them to determine which are genuine, and which need further investigation by professionals. If we all do likewise, the world will be a much safer place.  Perhaps readers could suggest other addresses that should be copied in.

– E –

How shall we handle threats to our national well-being?

You decide!  Compare the Red Threat and the Green Threat!

RED THREAT:  This threat requires surveillance of everybody in the world who uses the internet:


“Mr. Mueller referred — but in greater detail than had been provided at Tuesday’s hearing — to newly declassified information linking the program to a case in which several men in San Diego were discovered to have sent about $8,500 to Al Shabab, a terrorist group in Somalia.”

GREEN THREAT:  This threat can’t be addressed, beyond additional service charges:


“State and federal authorities decided against indicting HSBC in a money-laundering case over concerns that criminal charges could jeopardize one of the world’s largest banks and ultimately destabilize the global financial system.”

– F –

Obama Administration Releases Nation’s Phone Records To Public
‘We Are Making Every Effort To Be Transparent,’ Says President

WASHINGTON—On the heels of reports that the National Security Agency has secretly been amassing the private telephone records of Verizon’s more than 120 million customers, President Barack Obama announced Thursday that his administration is releasing the entire country’s phone records to the public in an effort to handle the situation with complete transparency.

“Honesty and openness have always been the hallmarks of my presidency, which is why I believe that everybody should have free access to this essential information,” the president said at a press conference, encouraging the public to visit a newly created online database containing the time, duration, and location of every wireless and landline phone call made by all 315 million Americans.

“We—all of us—are laying our cards on the table here. Now, everyone in the country will know who’s calling whom, and when, and how often, and for how long. My administration doesn’t have any secrets, and from now on, neither will you.”

Obama noted that, for the sake of national security, personal emails, consumer reports, and medical histories will remain the exclusive property of the federal government.

– G –

Make Big Brother Our Friend

(After seriously introducing us to certain facts, laws and court decisions, the author of this article turns satirist and proposes five ways the NSA surveillance could be used to get government and corporations to behave.  It’s longer than the others, so click the link to read it.)

– H –

A Letter to Verizon Customers

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)

Today, President Obama issued the following letter to all Verizon customers:

Dear Verizon Customers,

Yesterday it came to light that the National Security Agency has been collecting millions of phone records from you each and every day. Since that news was released, many of you have called the White House with questions and concerns about this new program. To save my time and yours, here are answers to three of the F.A.Q.s (Frequently Asked Questions) we’ve been hearing from you:

1. Will I be charged extra for this service?

I’m happy to say that the answer is no. While the harvesting and surveillance of your domestic phone calls were not a part of your original Verizon service contract, the National Security Agency is providing this service entirely free of charge.

2. If I add a phone to my account, will those calls also be monitored?

Once again, the answer is good news. If you want to add a child or any other family member to your Verizon account, their phone calls—whom they called, when, and the duration of the call—will all be monitored by the United States government, at no additional cost.

3. Can the National Security Agency help me understand my Verizon bill?

Unfortunately, no. The National Security Agency has tried, but failed, to understand Verizon’s bills. Please call Verizon customer service and follow the series of electronic prompts.

I hope I’ve helped clear up some of the confusion about this exciting new program. But if you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to call the White House. Joe Biden is standing by.

God bless America,

President Obama

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