The National Security Agency (NSA) under Barack Obama has, unlike his predecessor, targeted American citizens exclusively while ignoring the Islamic Jihadist threat overseas, as reported by Forbes magazine on June 5, 2013 and also from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on June 7, 2013.
In 2005, President George W. Bush in accordance with US law, authorized the monitoring of phone calls and e-mails originating overseas from al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations into the United States.
At the time it was announced by the NSA that their program is narrowly focused, aimed only at international calls and targeted at al-Qaeda and related groups.
It is widely believed that under the Bush Administration, communications that were scrutinized by the intelligence gathering organization were initiated from terrorist hot spots around the globe such as Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan and possibly from active terrorist cells in various European and African nations.
However, under Obama’s watch, the NSA has demanded that the electronic communications giant Verizon Business Network Services’ turn over all metadata for phone records originating within the United States for the three months beginning in late April and ending on the 19th of July of last year.
The metadata demanded by the FBI on behalf of the NSA includes all so-called “non-content” data for tens of millions of American customers phone calls.
Information such as the subscriber data, recipients, locations, times and how long each call lasted for every call made during that period has been siezed by the Federal Government.
As the copy of the Obama Administration order (in part) against Verizon was published by Forbes:
It is hereby ordered that [Verizon] Custodian of Records shall produce to the National Security Agency…all call detail records or ‘telephony metadata’ created by Verizon for communications (i) between the United States and abroad; or (ii) wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls.
This Order does not require Verizon to include telephony metadata for communications wholly originating and terminating in foreign countries.
What many civil libertarians, such as the American Civil Liberties Union find troubling is that the overall extent of the NSA’s surveillance shows that it has focused specifically on Americans within America.
Despite the media bashing President Bush took for a narrowly focused wiretapping of communications from terrorists overseas into the United States, many in the American media remain mute to the NSA’a degree of its data gathering that it has explicitly excluded those outside the United States.