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The White House’s Secret Surveillance Program Breaks All the Laws

John & Nisha Whitehead

“We are rapidly entering the age of no privacy, where everyone is open to surveillance at all times; where there are no secrets from government.”
William O. Douglas, dissenting in Osborn v. United States (1966)

The government wants us to believe that we have nothing to fear from its mass spying programs as long as we’ve done nothing wrong.

Don’t believe it.

It doesn’t matter whether you obey every law. The government’s definition of a “bad” guy is extraordinarily broad, and it results in the warrantless surveillance of innocent, law-abiding Americans on a staggering scale.

For instance, it was recently revealed that the White House, relying on a set of privacy loopholes, has been sidestepping the Fourth Amendment by paying AT&T to allow federal, state, and local law enforcement to access—without a warrant—the phone records of Americans who are not suspected of a crime.

This goes way beyond the NSA’s metadata collection program.

Operated during the Obama, Trump and now the Biden presidencies, this secret dragnet surveillance program (formerly known as Hemisphere and now dubbed Data Analytical Services) uses its association with the White House to sidestep a vast array of privacy and transparency laws.

According to Senator Ron Wyden, Hemisphere has been operating without any oversight for more than a decade under the guise of cracking down on drug traffickers.

This is how the government routinely breaks the law and gets away with it: in the so-called name of national security.

More than a trillion domestic phone records are mined through this mass surveillance program every year, warrantlessly targeting not only those suspected of criminal activity but anyone with whom they might have contact, including spouses, children, parents, and friends.

It’s not just law enforcement agencies investigating drug crimes who are using Hemisphere to sidestep the Fourth Amendment, either. Those who have received training on the program reportedly include postal workers, prison officials, highway patrol officers, border cops, and the National Guard.

It’s a program ripe for abuse, and you can bet it’s getting abused.

Surveillance, digital stalking and the data mining of the American people—weapons of compliance and control in the government’s hands—haven’t made America any safer, and they certainly aren’t helping to preserve our freedoms.

Indeed, America will never be safe as long as the U.S. government is allowed to shred the Constitution.

The Fourth Amendment was intended to serve as a protective forcefield around our persons, our property, our activities, our communications and our movements. It keeps the government out of our private business except in certain, extenuating circumstances.

Those extenuating circumstances are spelled out clearly: government officials must have probable cause that criminal activity is afoot (a higher legal standard than “reasonable suspicion”), which is required by the Constitution before any government official can search an individual or his property.

Unfortunately, all three branches of government—the legislatures, courts and executive offices—have given the police state all kinds of leeway when it comes to sidestepping the Fourth Amendment.

As a result, on a daily basis, Americans are already being made to relinquish the most intimate details of who we are—our biological makeup, our genetic blueprints, and our biometrics (facial characteristics and structure, fingerprints, iris scans, etc.)—in order to clear the nearly insurmountable hurdle that increasingly defines life in the United States: we are now guilty until proven innocent.

Warrantless, dragnet surveillance is the manifestation of a lawless government that has gone rogue in its determination to do whatever it wants, whenever it wants, the Constitution be damned.

Dragnet surveillance. Geofencing. Fusion centers. Smart devices. Behavioral threat assessments. Terror watch lists. Facial recognition. Snitch tip lines. Biometric scanners. Pre-crime. DNA databases. Data mining. Precognitive technology. Contact tracing apps.

What these add up to is a world in which, on any given day, the average person is now monitored, surveilled, spied on and tracked in more than 20 different ways by both government and corporate eyes and ears.

This creepy new era of government/corporate spying—in which we’re being listened to, watched, tracked, followed, mapped, bought, sold and targeted every second of every day—has been made possible by a global army of techno-tyrants, electronic eavesdroppers, robotic snoops and digital Peeping Toms.

The government has a veritable arsenal of surveillance tools to track our movements, monitor our spending, and sniff out all the ways in which our thoughts, actions and social circles might land us on the government’s naughty list, whether or not you’ve done anything wrong.

Rounding out the list of ways in which the Techno-Corporate State and the U.S. government are colluding to nullify the privacy rights of the individual is the Biden Administration’s latest drive to harness the power of artificial intelligence technologies while claiming to protect the citizenry from harm.

In his executive order on artificial intelligence, President Biden is calling for guidelines on how the government will use AI while simultaneously insisting that corporations protect consumer privacy.

Talk about ironic that the very government that has been covertly invading our privacy rights wants to appoint itself the guardian of those rights.

Tell me this: how do you trust a government that continuously sidesteps the Constitution and undermines our rights? You can’t.

A government that repeatedly lies, cheats, steals, spies, kills, maims, enslaves, breaks the laws, overreaches its authority, and abuses its power at almost every turn can’t be trusted.

At a minimum, you shouldn’t trust the government with your privacy, property or freedoms.

Whatever else it may be—a danger, a menace, a threat—the U.S. government is certainly not looking out for our best interests.

Remember the purpose of a good government is to protect the lives and liberties of its people.

Unfortunately, what we have been saddled with is, in almost every regard, the exact opposite of an institution dedicated to protecting the lives and liberties of its people.

Indeed, the government has a history of shamelessly exploiting national emergencies for its own nefarious purposes.

Terrorist attacks, mass shootings, civil unrest, economic instability, pandemics, natural disasters: the government has been taking advantage of such crises for years now in order to gain greater power over an unsuspecting and largely gullible populace.

That’s exactly where we find ourselves now: caught in the crosshairs of a showdown between the rights of the individual and the so-called “emergency” state.

All of those freedoms we cherish—the ones enshrined in the Constitution, the ones that affirm our right to free speech and assembly, due process, privacy, bodily integrity, the right to not have police seize our property without a warrant, or search and detain us without probable cause—amount to nothing when the government and its agents are allowed to disregard those prohibitions on government overreach at will.

This is the grim reality of life in the American police state: our so-called rights have been reduced to technicalities in the face of the government’s ongoing power grabs.

While surveillance may span a broad spectrum of methods and scenarios, the common denominator remains the same: a complete disregard for the rights of the citizenry.

With every court ruling that allows the government to operate above the rule of law, every piece of legislation that limits our freedoms, and every act of government wrongdoing that goes unpunished, we’re slowly being conditioned to a society in which the Constitution means nothing.

Any attempt by the government to encroach upon the citizenry’s privacy rights or establish a system by which the populace can be targeted, tracked, monitored and singled out must be met with extreme caution.

Dragnet surveillance in an age of pre-crime policing and overcriminalization is basically a fishing expedition carried out without a warrant, a blatant attempt to circumvent the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement and prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures.

What we need is a digital “No Trespassing” sign that protects our privacy rights and affirms our right to be left alone.

Then again, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, what we really need is a government that respects the rights of the citizenry and obeys the law.

Originally published via the Rutherford Institute
Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His book Battlefield America: The War on the American People (SelectBooks, 2015) is available online at www.amazon.com. Whitehead can be contacted at [email protected]. Nisha Whitehead is the Executive Director of The Rutherford Institute. Information about The Rutherford Institute is available at www.rutherford.org.

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niko
niko
Dec 5, 2023 8:37 AM

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niko
niko
Dec 5, 2023 8:38 AM
Reply to  niko

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niko
niko
Dec 5, 2023 8:36 AM

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niko
niko
Dec 5, 2023 8:31 AM

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Martin Usher
Martin Usher
Dec 4, 2023 9:34 PM

Its not the “White House’s” surveillance program and changing the occupant will not change anything (its likely to make matters worse).

Understanding the target is the first step towards dealing with the problem. Here a couple of things from two very different Presidents will help give us perspective. First of all, Donald Trump used to harp on about the “Deep State” — he was the sheriff that was going to ride into town (DC), guns blazing and clean the place up. We all know new that this was just empty rhetoric for the masses, something that was designed to resonate with them while in reality he was not just a willing tool of the DS but given another go will willingly co-opt it to consolidate and maintain his grip on power indefinitely. The other was Barrack Obama, who in an interview shortly after his inaurgration described how he was gently but very firmly constrained — he didn’t see anything wrong with walking a couple of hundred yards between buildings but his security vetoed it. It was the motorcade, period. (He was also issued with a Chief of Staff who kept him very much in line….but that’s another story.)

Thomas Paine
Thomas Paine
Dec 4, 2023 6:50 PM

What the fuck is the difference between AI surveillance and regular old surveillance? They can already watch and hear and read everything. Now they can watch and hear and read everything better? Huh?

underground poet
underground poet
Dec 4, 2023 10:22 PM
Reply to  Thomas Paine

Well they can now put your plate # in the database and instantly track your movements in a quick attempt to nip you in the bud should you be found in an illegal situation.

Who knows where we go from there, but under the radar is going to be ones best choice, but fleeting each and every day.

mastershock
mastershock
Dec 7, 2023 6:05 PM
Reply to  Thomas Paine

What the fuck is the difference between AI surveillance and regular old surveillance?

Regular old surveillance? needs people to do the surveillance like listen to the tapes watch the videos/camera etc. even follow people etc etc

AI surveillance doesnt need people to do the work for it.

Raz Putin
Raz Putin
Dec 4, 2023 6:47 PM

“You can’t comply your way out of tyranny”

“Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.” ~ C. S. Lewis

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” ~ Edmund Burke

“The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant.” ~ Maximilien Robespierre

“When tyranny becomes law, rebellion becomes duty.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

Sal P
Sal P
Dec 4, 2023 5:59 PM

This morning I came across an article on the Consortium News website written by Chris Hedges. He’s talking about the aid that was coming into Gaza during the recent truce.

Get a load of this:

The aid convoys, which brought in token amounts of food and medicine — the first batch was shrouds and coronavirus tests according to the director of al-Najjar hospital — have been halted.

Covid test kits???!!!??? It is beyond absurd, yet an accurate piece of the picture of the warped reality we have been dealing with for so long.

https://consortiumnews.com/2023/12/04/chris-hedges-israel-reopens-gaza-slaughterhouse/

Tom Larsen
Tom Larsen
Dec 4, 2023 6:31 PM
Reply to  Sal P

CN wants you to be outraged that Palestinians can’t get the Covid test kits…

Johnny
Johnny
Dec 4, 2023 10:47 PM
Reply to  Tom Larsen

CN, like so many ‘alternative’ media
outlets is terrified of losing their scientific credibility in the eyes of their readers, their blinkered believers.
After all, science is the most authoritarian religion on the planet.

NorgeMan
NorgeMan
Dec 4, 2023 10:56 PM
Reply to  Sal P

RIP Robert Parry. Outstanding human being.

Erik Nielsen
Erik Nielsen
Dec 4, 2023 11:33 PM
Reply to  Sal P

What about the masks?
Ohh I forgot the moslem Burqa is banned in all civilised and free countries.

And the masks dont work anyway because the spike protein are jumping and shedding over to YOU through the masks and veils anyway.

But rules are rules. Larry should be wearing his mask in Gaza notwithstanding what they say.

Rhys Jaggar
Rhys Jaggar
Dec 4, 2023 4:02 PM

Isn’t it time not to tell everyone what they already know, but to discuss openly what countermeasures should befall spies and perverts, trusties and self-serving peepers?

As long as they are constantly forgiven and not punished, they will keep on doing it.

Freecus
Freecus
Dec 4, 2023 3:37 PM

Establishing “Jurisdiction” determines which lawful or legal framework has “Standing”.
The land of America and its People have been fraudulently converted (ie. without informed consent) into the jurisdiction of International Commerce (link).

ingdur
ingdur
Dec 4, 2023 3:21 PM

Ron Paul has written some excellent essay about this

Erik Nielsen
Erik Nielsen
Dec 5, 2023 4:40 AM
Reply to  ingdur

Ron Paul is talking the talk talk talking. Donald Duck made more people walk.

TFS
TFS
Dec 4, 2023 3:18 PM

Kind of funny that Child Exploitation and Organised Crime are so big and rampant given all this spying is ‘For the Greater Good’.

It’s almost as if………………………..

Balkydj
Balkydj
Dec 5, 2023 3:09 AM
Reply to  TFS

Almost as if ….. You nailed it.

Just ask Gary Hoy & Co.
Inconceivable child abuse
& State Sanctioned.
Justice ? Never Done…

Military intelligence ‘tools’, for Leveraging Politicians . . .
Truthfully – Psychologically Sick & propagating sickness.
Like Batty Boys, as in Battenberg, Lord Louis Mountbatten.
A ‘Rumsey’ boy, being of Romsey, Hants. Would jest…
What’s Blue,White,Wet,Red,Rubbery and flew across the Atlantic @180 mph, covered in….
Come.Or.Shit…. use your imagination,
Lord Louis’ Plimsol.
A Crown Affair,
Like a Virus of
The Mind.
Balky

underground poet
underground poet
Dec 4, 2023 12:28 PM

Every individual citizen has to defend themselves against the collective gvt.

Grafter
Grafter
Dec 4, 2023 12:21 PM

Once in government the political marionettes will dance to those with real power. We can only look on as the horror show unfolds.

Balkydj
Balkydj
Dec 5, 2023 3:29 AM
Reply to  Grafter

The X Factor ?

Paul Prichard
Paul Prichard
Dec 4, 2023 11:21 AM

Your alternative update on #COVID19 for 2023-12-02. Clusters NZ jab deaths: for example 50+ ppl same day, same location, all died within months of each other (blog, gab, tweet, pic1, pic2, pic3, pic4).