There are two issues here. First, did the Brits tap the Russian Ambassador and pick up Flynn’s side of the conversation? Who knows, but the reaction to Judge Napolitano’s assertion by the Brits is a lie.
In a startling segment on the Fox News program The First 100 Days, Judge Andrew Napolitano told viewers that there will be no paper trail linking President Obama to any surveillance of telephone calls in Trump Tower during the presidential transition period. (President Obama called it “wiretapping” even though no wires were involved.) The reason is that British intelligence had access to NSA surveillance data – which captures every phone call in the United States – and were able to provide such intelligence to President Obama without a FISA court warrant or any other paper trail that would expose an American intelligence agency that used the same NSA data.
Of course, the Brits deny this. As any intelligence agency would. Unfortunately for them, there was this guy named Snowden. And Snowden proved them all liars. Communications are digital and can be hacked and stored. In fact, the revelation that the Brits were doing it did not escape the Brits.
British intelligence services acted unlawfully in accessing millions of people’s personal communications collected by the NSA, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal ruled today. The decision marks the first time that the Tribunal, the only UK court empowered to oversee GHCQ, MI5 and MI6, has ever ruled against the intelligence and security services in its 15 year history.
The Tribunal declared that intelligence sharing between the United States and the United Kingdom was unlawful prior to December 2014, because the rules governing the UK’s access to the NSA’s PRISM and UPSTREAM programmes were secret. It was only due to revelations made during the course of this case, which relied almost entirely on documents disclosed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, that the intelligence sharing relationship became subject to public scrutiny.
The claimants in the case are Privacy International, Bytes for All, Liberty, and Amnesty International.
In a previous December 2014 ruling, the IPT held that GCHQ’s access to NSA data was lawful from that time onward because certain of the secret policies governing the US-UK intelligence relationship were made public during Privacy International’s case against the security services. Yet that belated disclosure could not remedy the lack of transparency regarding the UK-US sharing prior to December 2014, meaning that all UK access to NSA intelligence material was unlawful before the Court’s judgement.
In light of today’s ruling, Privacy International and Bytes for All will now ask the court to confirm whether their communications were unlawfully collected prior to December 2014 and, if so, demand their immediate deletion.
While we welcome today’s decision, Privacy International and Bytes for All disagree with the tribunal’s earlier conclusion that the forced disclosure of a limited subset of rules governing intelligence-sharing and mass surveillance is sufficient to make GCHQ’s activities lawful as of December 2014. Both organisations will shortly lodge an application with the European Court of Human Rights challenging the tribunal’s December 2014 decision.
The people, and they are just people, who are collecting this data are not monsters. They are doing their job. It is the guy working with them, or above them, that has access to that data and no moral compass or has political agendas that makes the collection of the data dangerous.
My very intelligent former detective partner had a local take on how data can be misused. He created a case about a high end burglary that occurred at 1am in our city. To catch the burglar we gathered all the cell traffic metadata in a one mile square around the crime scene. We throw out all the residents, all the people just traveling through. What is left we run background on and find one is a high end burglar. Through that we run down the stolen property he fenced and he gets to go to jail. Good solid police work.
Unfortunately, we have all that raw data, so what do we do? Do we keep it? In a criminal case we have to, discovery and appeals and such. My friend points out a possible local problem. He offers a scenario. What if a sergeant on the team looks through the data and finds that the current mayor’s cellphone was in the area and pinged off an address belonging to his secretary. The mayor is married. Worse, the sergeant’s brother in law is running against the mayor in the upcoming election. Do you think the information about the mayor and his secretary will remain confidential? Hardly.
But in an intel collection effort, what do they do with it? Do they keep it? The answer is yes, because even if they are good guys, they are lazy guys. And having all that data on hand and not have to go and find it when they are putting together a case is easier.
What they are doing is lazy policing. They are making cases in almost an opposite of the Tom Cruz’s movie “Minority Report” about pre-crime. They are using the data to make cases on post crime. Say a bad guy commits a crime. Instead of making the effort to stop it (Hello travel bans and the FBI being compromised by CAIR, thus preventing FBI agents from stopping events like the Boston bombing), the government is great on post crime gathering of already seized (illegally) data by intelligence agency. Once the bad guy does something they can track his PAST movements and contacts through the metadata. Not who is he talking to, but rather who DID he talk to.
In the case of the local sergeant using data to undermine a political opponent, Obama’s people did the same thing. IF there is a transcript, and not an all out lie pushed into the papers by never Trumpers and Obama acolytes, that means somebody illegally obtained the raw data and disseminated it.
Either way, it’s a trick bag they are now trying to get out of by rewriting history.
Good luck on that. They should check the papers- Trump won.