Societal

Senator Dianne Feinstein claims eavesdropping on phone callls is not surveillance, nor is it protected under the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches.

‘No phone call, no Internet transaction, isn’t recorded by the  NSA’: Edward  Snowden fires back at U.S. government surveillance denials

  • Senator  Dianne Feinstein claimed that the NSA’s phone-tracking is  benign
  • Whistle-blower Snowden said in a statement that it is  pervasive in nature

By  Ted Thornhill

PUBLISHED: 08:49 EST, 25  October 2013 |  UPDATED: 08:56 EST, 25 October 2013

Whistle-blower Edward Snowden has hit back at  claims by a U.S. government official that collating phone records is not  ‘surveillance’.

Senator Dianne Feinstein wrote in newspaper  recently that what the NSA is gathering is not protected under the Fourth  Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches.

She wrote in USA Today on Sunday: ‘The call-records  program is not surveillance. It does not collect the content of any  communication, nor do the records include names or locations.’

Statement: Snowden has said that every phone call and internet transaction made in America is logged
Statement: Snowden insisted that every phone call and  internet transaction made in America is logged
Dianne Feinstein has said that the NSA's phone call tracking does not breach the Fourth Amendment
Dianne Feinstein has said that the NSA’s phone call  tracking does not breach the Fourth Amendment

She added: ‘The NSA only collects the  type  of information found on a telephone bill: phone numbers of calls  placed and  received, the time of the calls and duration. The Supreme  Court has held this  “metadata” is not protected under the Fourth  Amendment.’

However Snowden, although he didn’t name the  lawmaker, clearly had her comments in mind when he gave a statement to the American Civil Liberties Union about phone  tracking.

He said: ‘In the last four months, we’ve  learned a lot about our government.

‘We’ve learned that the U.S. intelligence  community secretly built a system of pervasive surveillance. Today, no telephone  in America makes a call without leaving a record with the NSA. Today, no  internet transaction enters or leaves America without passing through the NSA’s  hands. Our representatives in Congress tell us this is not surveillance. They’re  wrong.’

He made the statement in support of a  demonstration against government privacy invasion taking place in Washington D.C  on Saturday.

His comment came as tensions mount between  Europe and America over the alleged monitoring of leaders’ phone  calls.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called President Obama today to inquire about the claims (Merkel pictured in March) German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that U.S.  spying on allies has shattered trust in President Obama’s administration (Merkel  pictured in March)

 

The National Security Agency has monitored  the phone conversations of at least 35 world leaders after being given their  numbers by an official in another government department, according to a  classified document leaked by Snowden.

The confidential memo reveals that senior  officials in ‘customer’ departments such the White House and the Pentagon were  encouraged to share their ‘Rolodexes’ of contact details with the  NSA.

The agency then added the phone numbers of  the foreign politicians to their surveillance systems and started to monitor  them.

According to the leaked document handed over  to The Guardian, one unnamed official handed  over 200 numbers – including those of at least 35 world leaders – none of whom  were named.

One of the leaders the NSA bugged was  allegedly German chancellor Angela Merkel, who accused the American government  on Wednesday of tapping her mobile phone, something the White House  denies.

European leaders united in anger Thursday as  they attended a summit overshadowed by the reports of the U.S. spying on its  allies.

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