The National Security Agency has developed the capability to record all of a country’s telephone calls and save them for as long as a month with the ability to retrieve and review them at any time, The Washington Post is reporting.
The voice interception program allows conversations to be replayed without requiring either party to be first identified for surveillance. The program is called MYSTIC, and it began in 2009 with its RETRO tool (retrospective retrieval) going to full capacity in 2011 against an undisclosed foreign nation.
According to The Post:
In the initial deployment, collection systems are recording “every single” conversation nationwide, storing billions of them in a 30-day rolling buffer that clears the oldest calls as new ones arrive, according to a classified summary.
The call buffer opens a door “into the past,” the summary says, enabling users to “retrieve audio of interest that was not tasked at the time of the original call.” Analysts listen to only a fraction of 1 percent of the calls, but the absolute numbers are high. Each month, they send millions of voice clippings, or “cuts,” for processing and long-term storage.
The program’s existence stands at odds with President Barack Obama’s Jan. 17 pledge “that the United States is not spying on ordinary people who don’t threaten our national security,” regardless of nationality, “and that we take their privacy concerns into account.” But the NSA does not filter the calls and, therefore, often acquires conversations between Americans and foreigners, violating the rights of Americans who calls are intercepted. That means Obama’s promise on this program is much like his “If you like your healthcare, you can keep it,” promise.
According to the report, it’s not just the NSA with access to the data. Other U.S. intelligence agencies also have access to RETRO and are able to listen in on telephone conversations.
If you can believe the regime, the MYSTIC program is not being used in America at this time. If you believe the regime, you believe in fairies and unicorns.
Note from the Editor: Under the Obama Administration, the NSA, the IRS, and the State and Justice departments are blatantly stepping on Americans’ privacy—and these are just the breaches we’re aware of. I’ve arranged for readers to get a free copy of The Ultimate Privacy Guide so you can be protected from any form of surveillance by anyone—government, corporate or criminal. Click here for your free copy.