the nsa is monitoring journalists

Remember how, when the news of the NSA’s domestic spying was first really starting to break in the press several months ago, there were conspiracy theorists among us who speculated that journalists, like CNN’s Christine Amanpour, could be among those having their calls monitored? At the time – back in those carefree days when we thought that the warrentless domestic surveillance only extended so far as international calls made to the phone numbers of those with known terrorist ties — the prospect seemed a bit far-fetched. The US government, most of us thought, wouldn’t target journalists for illegal surveillance (at least not since Nixon). Well, now we hear that this is exactly what was, and apparently still is, happening.

According to ABC News, the FBI has acknowledged that the phone records of journalists are fair game. And, what’s more, it isn’t just being done in the course of trying to ferret out terrorists. Apparently, in several cases, the phone records of journalist have been used to track down confidential sources within the government, people providing information on things like the CIA’s secret prisons abroad.

In this context, one wonders just how outlandish a thought it really is that the administration had bugged the phone of Amanpour. And, if this was taking place, one wonders if those listening-in would have been privy to any strategy discussions between Amanpour’s husband, Jamie Rubin, a consultant for John Kerry, and his associates during the 2004 presidential campaign. Who knows where all of this is gong to end… By this time next week, we might all be looking at transcripts of Kerry/Rubin calls covered in the handwritten notes of Dick Cheney.

In related news, it’s being reported that Bell South, Verizon and AT&T have just been hit with a $200 Billion class action suit for violating the privacy rights of their customers. And, perhaps not so coincidentally, the internet phone service provider, Skype, has just announced that its SkypeOut service (for calls between PCs to landlines) is going to be free in North America at least until the end of 2006.

I know it’s unlikely that the phone companies will have to pay out, but, if they do, I’m giving my cut to the ACLU.

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  1. Tony Buttons Esq.
    Posted May 17, 2006 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    If I get any money back from the class action suit, I’m going to put it toward purchasing a new identity. (It’s probably good to have a spare around, just in case.)

  2. Ted Glass
    Posted May 17, 2006 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    It’s been my experience that most barbers will allow you to take handfulls of hair from their floors if you ask nicely.

  3. mark
    Posted May 17, 2006 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    You don’t say.

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