A former FBI counterterrorism agent claims on CNN that this is the case
The real capabilities and behavior of the US surveillance
state are almost entirely unknown to the American public because, like
most things of significance done by the US government, it operates
behind an impenetrable wall of secrecy. But a seemingly spontaneous
admission this week by a former FBI counterterrorism agent provides a
rather startling acknowledgment of just how vast and invasive these
surveillance activities are.Over the past couple days, cable news
tabloid shows such as CNN’s Out Front with Erin Burnett have been
excitingly focused on the possible involvement in the Boston Marathon
attack of Katherine Russell, the 24-year-old American widow of the
deceased suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. As part of their relentless stream
of leaks uncritically disseminated by our Adversarial Press Corps, anonymous government officials are claiming
that they are now focused on telephone calls between Russell and
Tsarnaev that took place both before and after the attack to determine
if she had prior knowledge of the plot or participated in any way.
On Wednesday night, Burnett interviewed Tim Clemente,
a former FBI counterterrorism agent, about whether the FBI would be
able to discover the contents of past telephone conversations between
the two. He quite clearly insisted that they could:
BURNETT: Tim, is there any way, obviously, there is a voice mail they
can try to get the phone companies to give that up at this point. It’s
not a voice mail. It’s just a conversation. There’s no way they actually
can find out what happened, right, unless she tells them?
CLEMENTE: “No, there is a way. We certainly have ways in national
security investigations to find out exactly what was said in that
conversation. It’s not necessarily something that the FBI is going
to want to present in court, but it may help lead the investigation
and/or lead to questioning of her. We certainly can find that out.
BURNETT: “So they can actually get that? People are saying, look, that is incredible.
CLEMENTE: “No, welcome to America. All of that stuff is being captured as we speak whether we know it or like it or not.”
“All of that stuff” – meaning every telephone conversation Americans
have with one another on US soil, with or without a search warrant – “is
being captured as we speak”.
On Thursday night, Clemente again appeared on CNN, this time with
host Carol Costello, and she asked him about those remarks. He
reiterated what he said the night before but added expressly that “all
digital communications in the past” are recorded and stored:
source The Guardian