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The FBI, Wiretapping and You

Posted on Aug 29, 2007

Not to be deterred by new developments in digital technology, the FBI laid the groundwork for its current DCSNet (Digital Collection System Network) wiretapping system during the Clinton years, allowing agents to just point ‘n’ click their way into the nation’s land lines, cell phones and internet telephony networks. 


FBI wiretapping rooms in field offices and undercover locations around the country are connected through a private, encrypted backbone that is separated from the internet. Sprint runs it on the government’s behalf.

The network allows an FBI agent in New York, for example, to remotely set up a wiretap on a cell phone based in Sacramento, California, and immediately learn the phone’s location, then begin receiving conversations, text messages and voicemail pass codes in New York. With a few keystrokes, the agent can route the recordings to language specialists for translation.

The numbers dialed are automatically sent to FBI analysts trained to interpret phone-call patterns, and are transferred nightly, by external storage devices, to the bureau’s Telephone Application Database, where they’re subjected to a type of data mining called link analysis.

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By cyrena, August 31, 2007 at 9:24 pm Link to this comment

Did anybody see this yet?

Bush seeks immunity for companies in spy case
Verizon, AT&T face privacy suits for helping White House eavesdrop

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By Zena, August 31, 2007 at 8:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

OH, NO! Scott ; I think it’s a wonderful idea! And we need some “Case-workers” to work with them, when they are feeling dishonest! In fact, because of the people who wanted to down-size our government, in fact; are the ones making it necessary to EXPAND it???
In fact, it is NECESSARY to create a program to rehabilitate our public servants who are disfunctional; before they infect the other workers??

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By Scott, August 31, 2007 at 8:11 pm Link to this comment

We could put electronic correction collars on the really bad apples.

Once a critical number of constituents who dissaprove of something their representative says or does, click on a certain hyperlink the wired rep gets a lttle jolt to bring them back in line.

(Just kidding.)

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By Zena, August 31, 2007 at 8:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Don’t forget voice recorders in your daily life and all the business you have to do; ESPECIALLY with government agencies, and cam corders. DON’T LeAVE HOME WITHOUT IT!!!

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By boggs, August 31, 2007 at 7:51 pm Link to this comment

This gives us one more tool to let the PR*cks know how much we like them!

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By Scott, August 31, 2007 at 12:23 am Link to this comment

Please, for everyone’s sake, spread the idea of wiring the government to the Internet far and wide.

Its an idea that seems to touch nerves in odd ways. Strangely enough it seems to give hard-core right-wingers a certain amount of gas. No doubt the governments of communist dictatorships in the world will be just as loath as the governments of capitalist democracies at the prospect of real transparency. The main complaint I’ve heard is that a totally transparent government would leave the society being governed transparently, vulnerable and open to attack.

I subscribe to the idea that the root cause of the worst insecurity in the world, the type that might provoke an attack, probably stems from decisions made in the ‘privacy’ of the smoke-filled back rooms where politicians meet with lobbyists and CEO’s. Wire the politicians and that all changes.

I figure that once people in other country’s can see what we’re trying to do that they’ll be wiring up their governments in short order too.

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farmertx's avatar

By farmertx, August 30, 2007 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment

Re:#97611 by williamf on 8/29 at 7:53 pm
(2 comments total)

There used to be a 4th Amendment. There used to be a Constitution as well.
In this administration, there has been no sign of either.
You spoke of having a day in court.
Having a day in a secret court, run by sycophants of the Shrub, with no rights for the accused, all proceedings unrecorded for later appeal doesn’t sound like an acquittal could be forthcoming.
If any such data/information was used only to nab terrorist’s, that wouldn’t be a totally bad thing. But anyone who would trust anyone connected to this administration not to use such info for partisan purposes has been alseep for that last 7 years.
Scotts idea of wiring up the politicians is a great one, though I’d be loathe to see what they really do in mens room’s around the country.
Still, it would be a starting point.

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By cyrena, August 30, 2007 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment

Thanks for the links to the networks. Scary, but not even surprising. But then, I lived in Texas, where they’ve been doing this stuff at the state level, even before they took over in Washington.

I don’t believe for a minute though, that Clinton’s administration is responsible for setting up the policies that have resulted in this violation of our rights. I think he’d be the last person to do that, all things considered…at least on the privacy front.

No doubt he’s responsible for the disaster of NAFTA though, and it has definitely been a disaster for American workers, and really the rest of the globe as well. Only the corps have made out like bandits from that. And, that continues to happen.

Still, I don’t see that as connected to the facism and police state that has emerged here in the 21st Century.

That’s all compliments of dick cheney.

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By KISS, August 30, 2007 at 8:51 am Link to this comment

“Clinton was another corporate rat” A very fine repug, also. How few remember he set the ground work for tyranny of today’s administration. The Texas Turd has expanded on the ground work of Clinton and it is obvious that the next President will never give up those powers for more freedom for American citizens. Hell, I’d be happy if we got back the freedoms we lost in the 60’s.

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By Zena, August 30, 2007 at 12:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

That wouldn’t be happening in a true democracy.

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Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, August 29, 2007 at 10:40 pm Link to this comment

RE: #97555 by NewsSophisticate

Snapshots of the FBI wiretap network

Great link NewSophisticate!  I especially liked that last picture, I think it was awfully thoughtful of the programmers to make it so “user friendly”. 


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By williamf, August 29, 2007 at 8:53 pm Link to this comment

I think the fourth amendment says that we shall be safe in our persons, places, and things.  If this wiretapping has no judicial seal on it and it is not being reviewed regularly by the judiciary guided by fourth amendment standards then my rights, if my phone is being monitored, have been violated.  Everything obtained by the government comes under the auspices of the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine.  That which is obtained illegally will be thrown out of court and cannot be used against the offended party.  There is no threat so great that our government cannot be civil to its people and faithful to constitutional standards and surely, there are people smart enough in the government to make terror cases without snooping on Americans wholesale.  Eventually, the fourth amendment will have its day in court on this matter and it will be vindicated.

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By Zena, August 29, 2007 at 8:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Scott; that exactly what I’ve been thinking for a long time….u are BRILLIANT!!

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By waxman, August 29, 2007 at 8:17 pm Link to this comment


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By Scott, August 29, 2007 at 7:01 pm Link to this comment

Real change for a change? How about sending something up completely different against the very system.

I’d be willing to invest some of my taxes outfitting politicians with wireless modems, video cameras, audio pick-ups etc. I’d also like to see a point and click monitoring system that I can log onto from home that interfaces with software that my elected representatives are using. Representatives should be able to monitor feedback streaming back realtime from constituents that are logged on to…Governet or some such thing.

Instead of wiring the people up to the government like the Borg we should think about wiring the government up to the people.

The anti-Borg…Little Brother…Governet. Call it what you want but it’ll be a corporate lobbyist’s worst nightmare come true by any other name.

I don’t expect politicians or any human being for that matter to submit to becoming the Borg against their will. Call me old fashioned but, do unto others and all that…

What might possibly work though is a new political party with candidates who are committed to total transparency and total public awareness who are willing to wire themselves and their computers and telephones etc to the Internet during their terms of office.

I’d like to see an incumbent from a secrecy-based old-school political party compete against that.

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By PatrickHenry, August 29, 2007 at 3:48 pm Link to this comment

This demonstrates to me that the government has too much of the taxpayers money.

Much of the 200+ billion in deficit spending can be saved by eliminating programs like these.

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By NewsSophisticate, August 29, 2007 at 2:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Snapshots of the FBI wiretap network

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By don knutsen, August 29, 2007 at 2:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Clinton was obviously a better president then the current maniac. He had a functioning brain which was one big advantage from the get go. He also didn’t have a dark, twisten man that can only be described as the most corrupt and evil vice president to hold that office directing his every move. But Clinton was another corporate rat, certainly not to the ridiculous extent of the current idiot in charge, but we are all seeing that alot of the crimes committed by this administration , as it relates to the people’s loss of freedoms qaurenteed by our constitution, were made possible by policies enacted by the Clinton administration. Then there is the NAFTA agreement, which has done much more harm then good for the average american worker. Again, thankyou very much Bill Clinton. I hope the democrats can have someone other then HIllary out there to go against the GOP. We need a real change, for a change.

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