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  (Source: AP)
WSJ report cites sources close to agency saying holes in interception are filled by data grabs at a lower level

According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, sources close to the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) warn about a potential "blind spot" in their phone record (aka "telephony metadata") scheme that allows them to track the call records and locations of Americans on a daily basis.

I. T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless Make Spying on Americans Trickier...

The source states that T-Mobile's foreign ownership (T-Mobile is owned primarily by Germany's Deutsche Telekom AG (ETR:DTE)) and Verizon Wireless's foreign co-ownership (UK-based Vodafone Group Plc. (LON:VOD) has a 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless) made seizing phone records under the Oct. 2001 USA PATRIOT (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) Act slightly harder.  

Both companies reportedly at times refused to participate in the program, although U.S. Verizon Wireless parent company Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) did turn in information on its land lines, which it solely serves.  And reportedly the U.S. government did not challenge theirt waivering cooperation.

Obama spying
Foreign co-owned carriers have reportedly been less than enthusiastic about Bush and Obama administration spying. [Image Source: AP]

But don't worry -- says the source -- Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile customers are still able to be monitored anyways.  Most of that traffic on Verizon or T-Mobile is at some point routed through connections owned by solely-U.S.-owned telecoms like AT&T, Inc. (T) or Sprint Nextel Corp. (S).  Thanks to this wonderful routing, the source assures, approximately 99 percent of phone traffic in the U.S. is monitored by the NSA.

II. ...But When There's a Will, Big Brother Has a Way 

A pending acquisition of Sprint might seemingly shift that balance if Japan's Softbank Corp. (TYO:9984) wins in its bid for most of the U.S. carrier.  But it will likely have little effect.

T-Mobile or smaller U.S. carriers often fill in holes in their coverage by allowing customers to roam onto solely-U.S. owned networks like AT&T.  This is one spot where the NSA can intercept the phone data.

And ultimately the NSA can always monitor at an even lower level, if necessary -- the high speed telecommunications backbone that underlies both landlines and wireless networks.  And that infrastructure is solely owned by U.S. firms -- AT&T and Verizon Business Network Services Inc. (a subsidiary of Verizon Communications).  Thus regardless of who owns the cellular carriers, the NSA can (and in many cases reportedly already does) seize communications at the lowest level, eliminating pesky civil liberties complaints by foreign nations.

fiber optics
Communications can be seized at the U.S.-owned backbone that underlies wireless networks.
[Image Source: AP]

In a letter to Rep. Edward Markey (D., Mass.) Verizon Wireless admits [PDF] it did turn over records some of the time.  It says it responded to 260,000 customer data requests in 2011 (although it did not say how many customers were involved per request).  Of those half of the orders were without warrant (due proccess) while approximately half were via a court order or warrant.

According to sources, U.S. officials recognized the foreign leadership of T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless might lead them to buck the data gathering if they pushed the issue too hard.  So the feds kept their requests relatively small, knowing they could seize the information they missed further down the pipe.

Recent surveys showed approximately half of Americans are comfortable with the goverment tracking their locations (phone records).

Sources: WSJ, Verizon Wireless [PDF]

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Another Neo-con-Nazi Article
By Belard on 6/19/2013 1:16:55 PM , Rating: 1
Jason Mick, seriously - if you neo-cons were soooooo concerned about the NSA spying on Americans, why didn't you complain about this back when this was made part of the Patriot Act?

And yes, liberals did complain about it, but FOXnFriends Viewers are "merica first! Protect us from them terror folks!" - because morons like George W Bush cannot pronounce the word "Terrorist" or "Terrorism", Watch videos of Bush when he talks about the subject. The idiot always sounds like... an idiot.

PRISM and all these programs were in operation LONG before Obama. And the GOP is faking SHOCK about what is going on when they have access to this information. None of this WAS that much of a secret.

But you continue to post photos of Obama over things that are not true. Yes, he is the president; And yes- as he has stated, these programs SHOULD be more open and scaled back. And Yes, he has never addressed this before. But then again, with YOU neo-cons, it doesn't matter. If he had tried reducing the programs, YOU guys would scream about our weakened defenses! it doesn't matter what he does, you'll piss in your panties in anger.

Look at the posts on this site about the F22 fighter and the Space Shuttle Program. Or on those on Yahoo, etc. What do you see?

Posts from complete retards "Obama is killing F22/Shuttle! Costing us Jobs / military power / Space abilities / etc" When its is 100% fact that both of these were scheduled to end BEFORE the 2008 election! Obama extended the Shuttle program for a few more missions, that was it... its 1975 technology.

We have a pentagon which says "We don't need anymore Abrams tanks, we have new ones collecting dust" - but the GOP keeps ordering new ones. 1, we need more tanks and 2- it creates jobs (Hey, I thought the Govt. doesn't make jobs?) Hey, rather than spending money on making tanks that are NOT needed, how about spending OUR money on ROADS that we need to drive to work on or bridges updated / replaced / repaired so we don't have failures? Things WE really need.

Jason Mick... or are you simply looking to get a job at Fox News? Which is *NOT* Fair and balance, not American owned and has the dumbest "news" people on the air with an even dumber audience.

By superstition on 6/20/2013 11:02:22 PM , Rating: 2
It is possible that JM wasn't aggressive enough during the Bush era, but this is 2013 and wrong is still wrong.

For every political opportunist who is trying to bash Obama and the Dems for things they would or did support when done by Repubs, there are Dems who do the same thing. Now that Obama is in the White House, they have no problem with stuff they fussed about dramatically before.

The partisanship smokescreen is very effective. Divide and conquer.

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