Congress won’t protect us from the surveillance state – they’ll enhance it

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The same Senator who warned the public about the NSA’s mass surveillance pre-Snowden said this week that the Obama administration is still keeping more spying programs aimed at Americans secret, and it seems Congress only wants to make it worse.

In a revealing interview, Ron Wyden – often the lone voice in favor of privacy rights on the Senate’s powerful Intelligence Committee – told Buzzfeed’s John Stanton that American citizens are being monitored by intelligence agencies in ways that still have not been made public more than a year and a half after the Snowden revelations and countless promises by the intelligence community to be more transparent. Stanton wrote:

Asked if intelligence agencies have domestic surveillance programs of which the public is still unaware, Wyden said simply, “Yeah, there’s plenty of stuff.”

Wyden’s warning is not the first clue about the government’s still-hidden surveillance; it’s just the latest reminder that they refuse to come clean about it. For instance, when the New York Times’ Charlie Savage and Mark Manzetti exposed a secret CIA program “collecting bulk records of international money transfers handled by companies like Western Union” into and out of the United States in 2013, they also reported that “several government officials said more than one other bulk collection program has yet to come to light.”

Since then – beyond the myriad Snowden revelations that continue to pour out – the public has learned about the Postal Service’s massive database containing photographs of the front and back of every single piece of mail that is sent in the United States. There was also the Drug Enforcement Administration’s mass phone surveillance program – wholly separate than the NSA’s – in which “phone records were retained even if there was no evidence the callers were involved in criminal activity,” according to the New York Times. And recently, the Justice Department’s “national database to track in real time the movement of vehicles around the US”, reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Read the full article here.

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