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Yes – we stopped George W. Bush from doing this – but, you can trust us!
The Obama administration is moving to relax restrictions on how counterterrorism analysts may retrieve, store and search information about Americans gathered by government agencies for purposes other than national security threats.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Thursday signed new guidelines for the National Counterterrorism Center, which was created in 2004 to foster intelligence sharing and serve as a terrorism threat clearinghouse.
The guidelines will lengthen to five years — from 180 days — the amount of time the center can retain private information about Americans when there is no suspicion that they are tied to terrorism, intelligence officials said. The guidelines are also expected to result in the center making more copies of entire databases and “data mining them” using complex algorithms to search for patterns that could indicate a threat…
The changes are intended to allow analysts to more quickly identify terrorism suspects. But they also set off civil-liberties concerns among privacy advocates who invoked the “Total Information Awareness” program. That program, proposed early in the George W. Bush administration and partially shut down by Congress after an outcry, proposed fusing vast archives of electronic records — like travel records, credit card transactions, phone calls and more — and searching for patterns of a hidden terrorist cell.
But national security officials…cited safeguards to protect against abuse, including audits of searches. The same rules apply to access by other federal agencies involved in counterterrorism…Feeling safer, now?
The center has developed a priority list of databases it wants to copy entirely, but he and other officials declined to say which ones they were. “We’re all in the dark, and for all we know it could be a rerun of Total Information Awareness, which would have allowed the government to make a computerized database of everything on everybody,” said Kate Martin, the director of the Center for National Security Studies, who criticized the administration for not making the draft guidelines public for scrutiny ahead of time…
The new guidelines are intended to allow the center to hold on to information about Americans for up to five years…let’s say that, again: The new guidelines are intended to allow the center to hold on to information about Americans for up to five years — information about you that has absolutely nothing to do with national security even though that’s the excuse.
This is the government that hauls Google, Apple and Facebook before Congressional panels who swear they’re going to protect our privacy from being sold to advertisers – and couldn’t care less about protecting our privacy from government spies.
Humbug! Just as I beefed to my elected representatives when Bush the Little tried to foist Total Information Awareness upon us – I will do so, again. I don’t care which political party is in charge of spying on me. Both flavors suck!