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Top Secret: We're Wiretapping You
March 5, 2007 10:19 AM   Subscribe

Top Secret: We're Wiretapping You It could be a scene from Kafka or Brazil. Imagine a government agency, in a bureaucratic foul-up, accidentally gives you a copy of a document marked "top secret." And it contains a log of some of your private phone calls. You read it and ponder it and wonder what it all means. Then, two months later, the FBI shows up at your door, demands the document back and orders you to forget you ever saw it.
posted by Postroad (29 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
i'm wiretapping the white house in retaliation
posted by phaedon at 10:43 AM on March 5, 2007


What's that about the Washington Post reporter who got a copy of this call log, but never wrote a story? Boy, they've come a long way since Watergate.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 10:56 AM on March 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


i_am_joe's_spleen: i thought the same thing
posted by rbs at 11:01 AM on March 5, 2007


What's that about the Washington Post reporter who got a copy of this call log, but never wrote a story? Boy, they've come a long way since Watergate.

Well this was before it was known they were doing it without a warrant. The Post guy might have thought it was legit.

Also, I remember reading a couple years ago about an Arab guy who was confronted about some text messages his brother sent on a cell phone in his name to an American friend. The message was about a rock concert, with a band called "Blitzkreeg" I wonder if that was the result of this sweep up or if they had a valid warrant.
posted by delmoi at 11:08 AM on March 5, 2007


Christ, what a fucking embarrassment. Every time I read stuff like this I want to send a bill demanding a refund to the powers that be. All that nonsense because they were too fucking lazy or arrogant to submit to FISA, one of the biggest warrant rubber stamps ever to exist in our country. What's this ongoing boondoggle going to cost me?
posted by phearlez at 11:09 AM on March 5, 2007


My guess as to how this turns out: The government just pays these guys off and asks for a gag order.
posted by delmoi at 11:10 AM on March 5, 2007


I bet they just went and told the scientists working on the erase memory ray to hurry the hell up and finish it.

And then they'll be deploying the things like stop lights.
posted by fenriq at 11:48 AM on March 5, 2007


My guess as to how this turns out: The government just pays these guys off and asks for a gag order.


I'm surprised they haven't been literally gagged already.
posted by inconsequentialist at 11:49 AM on March 5, 2007


What bleeding cunts.
posted by beerbajay at 12:03 PM on March 5, 2007


I'm certainly gagging.
posted by unSane at 12:04 PM on March 5, 2007


Even the lawyers who filed the document with the court are no longer allowed to see it; instead, they've been permitted to file declarations, under seal, based on their memory of its contents.

I wonder how much "memory" is involved. It wouldn't take a rocket scientist to foresee the government seizing this document the second it was submitted and to therefor take steps to retain a greppable copy.
posted by Mitheral at 12:54 PM on March 5, 2007


Memo to cortex:
"Springtime for Hitler and Germany" is a hit from "The Producers".
Is there comedy gold in this government bungle; maybe a song about wiretapping in a musical called "The Traducers".
posted by Cranberry at 2:23 PM on March 5, 2007


Left out a "?"
posted by Cranberry at 2:23 PM on March 5, 2007


What's that about the Washington Post reporter who got a copy of this call log, but never wrote a story? Boy, they've come a long way since Watergate.

Sheesh, yeah.

Can someone explain to me why the media is so quiet about... everything? Do the major news outlets really just reprint press statements from the White House nowadays? Why am I reading about this on Wired?

I know it's an obvious question, but I'm not sure I have a good answer anymore. After six years of deception and misinformation--and everyone sort of knowing about said deception and misinformation--it's time to shit or get off the pot.
posted by roll truck roll at 2:26 PM on March 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


Remember, in the halls of justice the only justice is in the halls. - Lenny Bruce
posted by ahimsakid at 2:45 PM on March 5, 2007


Well...

[/tinfoil hat on]They've been wiretapping for years, whoever they think is a "terrorist" and all their contacts, so they probably have a pretty good dossier on pretty much everyone they need to intimidate. I don't know about y'all, but I probably have said a few things over the phone that would lead to major embarassment were they made totally public, so this could explain the timidity of Congress, government employees, news media management types, and investigative reporters.
[/tinfoil had off]
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:55 PM on March 5, 2007


"Can someone explain to me why the media is so quiet about... everything? Do the major news outlets really just reprint press statements from the White House nowadays? Why am I reading about this on Wired?"

Because the people that want them quiet are good friends with the people that sign their paychecks?
posted by stenseng at 3:35 PM on March 5, 2007


I bet they just went and told the scientists working on the erase memory ray to hurry the hell up and finish it.

Burns: I've said too much. Smithers, use the amnesia ray.
Smithers: You mean the revolver, sir?
Burns: Precisely, be sure to wipe your own memory clear when you've finished.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 3:41 PM on March 5, 2007


“Top Secret: We're Wiretapping You”

*yakovfilter* In Soviet Russia the....oh, no, wait, same thing, right.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:45 PM on March 5, 2007 [3 favorites]


"Can someone explain to me why the media is so quiet about... everything? Do the major news outlets really just reprint press statements from the White House nowadays? Why am I reading about this on Wired?"

Because people are far more interested in what Brittany's cooter looks like poor woman, I hope she gets some help, or who is going to get custody of Anna Nichole Smith's bodygod rest her soul\babyetc.?
posted by !Jim at 4:14 PM on March 5, 2007


It certainly is a comfort to know, whatever our individual feelings about the act of spying on American citizens, that at least it's being done to the same (cough) exacting high standards as most other federal-level police work.
posted by Western Infidels at 6:13 PM on March 5, 2007



The media is so quiet because they won't buy or air stories that don't fit their "conventional wisdom" which is that all everyone wants is stories about Britney or Anna Nicole and 2 seconds of Iraq.

It used to be 70/30 fluff to serious-- now it's 95/5 and the 5% is devoted to the war and to political coverage of the "who's up and who's down" variety. When you can get them to pay attention to anything else, it has to fit their version of the truth or it won't run or you will be shouted down. very slowly, you can push change in the "conventional wisdom" on a particular subject, but it takes decades.

sigh--

one frustrated freelancer...
posted by Maias at 7:19 PM on March 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


It wouldn't take a rocket scientist to foresee the government seizing this document the second it was submitted and to therefor take steps to retain a greppable copy.

Seems precisely what Publius (pdf), Freenet, and others have sought to do for some years now.

Although I suppose a hosted ftp server on, say, Sealand ought to do nearly as well.
posted by adoarns at 7:30 PM on March 5, 2007


Two FBI Whistleblowers Confirm Illegal Wiretapping of Government Officials and Misuse of FISA
posted by amberglow at 9:21 PM on March 5, 2007


The really depressing thing is if the media tomorrow decided to take this deadly seriously, they could really whip up some public concern. But the reverse won't happen. People are hooked on some kind of laughtrack for life, and if you don't tell them when they're supposed to be outraged, they won't be.

The devil you deserve, I guess.
posted by dreamsign at 5:53 AM on March 6, 2007


"Can someone explain to me why the media is so quiet about... everything? Do the major news outlets really just reprint press statements from the White House nowadays? Why am I reading about this on Wired?"

Because the people that want them quiet are good friends with the people that sign their paychecks?


I don't remember who said it, but one columnist I read in the last five years commented that the discussion of liberal or conservative bias in media is nonsense and that the actual bias we should be terrified of is a statist bias, meaning these big corporate-run institutions have an interest in the status-quo and very small, predictable changes.

Maybe it reveals my position as a leftish-centrist but I am far more worried by corporate collusion than I am any left/right type battle.
posted by phearlez at 9:10 AM on March 6, 2007


Whistle-blower Had to Fight NSA, LA Times to Tell Story
posted by homunculus at 4:41 PM on March 6, 2007


FBI Misuses, Underreports Patriot Act Power: Audit
posted by homunculus at 1:18 PM on March 9, 2007


The FBI's lawbreaking is tied directly to President Bush
posted by homunculus at 10:19 PM on March 9, 2007


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