The Erosion of Liberty, Quote by Quote

Wonder what to make of all this wiretapping stuff? Here are some clues.

“The real danger is the gradual erosion of individual liberties through automation, integration, and interconnection of many small, separate record-keeping systems, each of which alone may seem innocuous, even benevolent, and wholly justifiable.” —anonymous quote from a U.S. Privacy Study Commission convened in 1977

“WikiLeaks has published a huge trove of what appear to be CIA spying secrets,” including “a range of software and exploits that if real could allow unparalleled control of computers around the world” … and “software that could allow people to take control of the most popular consumer electronics products used today.” —Independent UK, March 7, 2017

“In its final days, the Obama administration has expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections. The new rules significantly relax longstanding limits on what the N.S.A. may do with the information gathered by its most powerful surveillance operations, which are largely unregulated by American wiretapping laws.” —New York Times, January 12, 2017

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR): “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions, or hundreds of millions of Americans?” Former National Intelligence Director James Clapper: “No, sir.” Wyden: “It does not?” Clapper: “Not wittingly. There are cases where they could inadvertently, perhaps, collect, but not wittingly.” —U.S. Select Committee on Intelligence hearing, March 12, 2013

“I thought though in retrospect I was asked a ‘when are you going to stop beating your wife’ kind of question, meaning not answerable necessarily by a simple yes or no. So I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least most untruthful manner, by saying, ‘No.’” —James Clapper, June 8, 2013

“There was no wiretap against Trump Tower during the campaign conducted by any part of the National Intelligence Community … none at all … including the FBI.” —Clapper, March 6, 2017

“The Guardian has learned that the FBI applied for a warrant from the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act — FISA] court over the summer in order to monitor four members of the Trump team suspected of irregular contacts with Russian officials.” —The Guardian, January 11, 2017

“The FBI and five other law enforcement and intelligence agencies have collaborated for months in an investigation into Russian attempts to influence the November election, including whether money from the Kremlin covertly aided President-elect Donald Trump, two people familiar with the matter said.” —McClatchy, Jan. 18, 2017

“At a certain point, if compelling evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to steal the election did not materialize, the much more interesting question becomes ‘How did the government obtain all this information that has been leaked to the media to prop up the story?’” —Andrew McCarthy National Review, March 6, 2017

“Among the various techniques profiled by WikiLeaks is ‘Weeping Angel,’ developed by the CIA’s Embedded Devices Branch (EDB), which infests smart TVs, transforming them into covert microphones. After infestation, Weeping Angel places the target TV in a ‘Fake-Off’ mode, so that the owner falsely believes the TV is off when it is on. In ‘Fake-Off’ mode the TV operates as a bug, recording conversations in the room and sending them over the Internet to a covert CIA server.” —Tyler Durdin, Zero Hedge, March 7, 2016

“If the progressive media and intelligence agencies were hand-in-glove leaking damaging rumors about Trump, and if none were yet substantiated, then the issue reversed and turned instead on a new question: How were they trafficking in confidential intelligence information if not from skullduggery of some sort? No wonder that some smarter observers backtracked from the Russian-Trump collusion charges of the past six months, given that the leaks were less likely to be credible than they were criminal. The accusers have become the accused. And who would police the police?” —Victor Davis Hanson, March 7, 2017

“Snooping on a presidential candidate is serious business. The Democrats want you to think this is a crazy conspiracy theory for an unhinged tweeting president. But Obama has a rich legacy of using the federal government as a political weapon and it would be foolish to think he suddenly started restraining himself, when he was never held to account by either the media or Democrats in power. Remember, Obama’s Justice Department secretly subpoenaed the private phone records of Associated Press editors and reporters. It was pure spying. Fox News reporter James Rosen and his family were wiretapped. Former CBS news reporter Sharyl Attkisson’s computer was hacked by the government. Add to these incidents the harassment of conservative 501©(4) organizations by Obama’s IRS, and the mercenary nature of the Obama administration reveals itself.” —Tom Shattuck, Boston Herald, March 6, 2017

“He is trying to undermine the media and trying to make up his own facts. And it could be that while unemployment and the economy worsens, he could have undermined the messaging so much that he can actually control exactly what people think. And that is our job.” —MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski, February 22, 2017

“The former British spy who authored a controversial dossier on behalf of Donald Trump’s political opponents alleging ties between Trump and Russia reached an agreement with the FBI a few weeks before the election for the bureau to pay him to continue his work, according to several people familiar with the arrangement.” —Washington Post, February 28, 2017

“Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, sent a letter Monday to FBI Director James Comey, asking first if the FBI ever attempted to hire Christopher Steele. … ‘The idea that the FBI and associates of the Clinton campaign would pay Mr. Steele to investigate the Republican nominee for president in the run-up to the election raises substantial questions about the FBI’s independence from politics, as well as the Obama administration’s use of law enforcement and intelligence agencies for political ends,’ Grassley said in the letter to Comey.” —Washington Examiner, March 7, 2017

“The F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, asked the Justice Department this weekend to publicly reject President Trump’s assertion that President Barack Obama ordered the tapping of Mr. Trump’s phones, senior American officials said on Sunday. Mr. Comey has argued that the highly charged claim is false and must be corrected, they said, but the department has not released any such statement.” —New York Times, March 5, 2017

“In the last six years on record (2010-2015), the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court did not deny a single application out of the 9,400 the government submitted seeking authority ‘to conduct electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes under the terms of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, according to reports filed by the U.S. Justice Department.” —CNS News, March 7, 2017

“The election of Donald Trump was a political earthquake. More than just populism, Trump’s victory opens the door to the dismantling of a century’s worth of what has come to be known as 'the administrative state’ and returning to its rightful owners, the citizens.” —Michael A Thai, American Thinker, March 7, 2016

“A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.” —Gerald Ford

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” —John Adams

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