Even as it continues to vigorously pursue the return of Edward Snowden to the United States to face trial and a long prison sentence, the Obama Administration is finding itself in a titanic battle to preserve funding for the National Security Agency. On July 24, the House of Representatives narrowly defeated an attempt by a coalition of Conservative Republicans and Liberal Democrats to defund the NSA's Prism program, which is capable of acquiring essentially all the information available on the internet, including private communications, and concern about the NSA's whole domestic spying effort is rising in both the House and the Senate.
The British newspaper the Guardian, has reported that a "top secret" NSA program "allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals." The report is based on material provided by Edward Snowden.
In its own release, the Administration said, "these programs are authorized to collect in bulk certain dialing, routing, addressing, and signaling information about telephone calls and electronic communications, such as telephone numbers or e-mail addresses." The numbers, addresses, times and dates of the communications are analyzed, but the Administration claims that the calls and email messages themselves are not penetrated unless there is reason to believe that terrorism might be involved.
The Administration takes the position that the program is essential to preventing terror plots within the United States. Next Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will conduct a hearing on the surveillance programs.
Whitley Strieber's searing new novel Alien Hunter concerns secrecy of a very different kind. Go to AlienHunterBook.com to find out more and listen to Whitley read Chapter 1!
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