The Fundamentals Of US Surveillance: What Edward Snowden Never Told Us?
Former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden’s revelations rocked the world. According to his detailed reports, the US had launched massive spying programs and was scrutinizing the communications of American citizens in a manner which could only be described as extreme and intense.
The US’s reaction was swift and to the point. “Nobody is listening to your telephone calls,” President Obama said when asked about the NSA. As quoted in The Guardian, Obama went on to say that surveillance programs were “fully overseen not just by Congress but by the Fisa court, a court specially put together to evaluate classified programs to make sure that the executive branch, or government generally, is not abusing them”.
However, it appears that Snowden may have missed a pivotal part of the US surveillance program. And in stating that the “nobody” is not listening to our calls, President Obama may have been fudging quite a bit.
In fact, Great Britain maintains a “listening post” at NSA HQ. The laws restricting live wiretaps do not apply to foreign countries and thus this listening post is not subject to US law. In other words, the restrictions upon wiretaps, etc. do not apply to the British listening post. So when Great Britain hands over the recordings to the NSA, technically speaking, a law is not being broken and technically speaking, the US is not eavesdropping on our each and every call.