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Special Reports Last Updated: Dec 16th, 2009 - 00:25:14

Warrantless electronic surveillance continues at Bush levels under Obama
By Wayne Madsen
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Dec 16, 2009, 00:19

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(WMR) -- Warrantless wiretapping of communications and other illegal electronic surveillance operations are continuing under the Obama administration at levels commensurate with those seen during the George W. Bush administration. WMR has learned from informed sources that the Eric Holder Justice Department is also pursuing a criminal indictment against at least one intelligence agency official for leaking details of the National Security Agency�s warrantless wiretapping program with the previous Top Secret code name of �STELLAR WIND.�

WMR has learned from U.S. intelligence sources that the FBI is continuing to investigate an �agency� official for leaking details of STELLAR WIND to the media. Although it is believed the agency in question is the National Security Agency (NSA), we have learned that there is also slight possibility that the agency individual in question may work at the Central Intelligence Agency. The leak occurred during the Bush administration and the investigation began while Alberto Gonzales and Michael Mukasey were attorneys general but is continuing under Obama�s attorney general, Holder.

STELLAR WIND was billed by the Justice Department as the �Terrorist Surveillance Program,� but, in fact, was not targeting terrorists but journalists, government and contractor whistleblowers and politicians of both major parties, as well as independents. All information pertaining to STELLAR WIND was Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI) and documents were marked: �White House Office-Controlled Document.� Under Obama, the program continues to exist with the only difference being that STELLAR WIND now has a different Top Secret code name since STELLAR WIND was compromised to the media.

The FBI is maintaining its investigation of the leak of details of STELLAR WIND and has, according to intelligence sources, resorted to �black bag� surreptitious �sneak and peek� breaking and entering operations, with nothing more than �National Security Letter� authorizations not approved by a court, to physically damage door locks to gain entry into homes, as well as rummage through safety deposit boxes by presenting National Security Letters to bank officers.

The lead FBI agent investigating the leak of the illegal NSA wiretapping program is Jason Lawless, who has led the charge against former Justice Department prosecutor Thomas Tamm and former NSA officer Russ Tice in determining the source of the leak of the existence of the program to the media, including The New York Times. Lawless reportedly has close ties to the Republican Party in Tennessee.

WMR has also learned that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978, implemented by NSA through United States Signals Intelligence Directive 18 (USSID 18), continues to be upended by the Obama administration, with the NSA continuing to eavesdrop on American citizens� communications regardless of the communications media or whether they are located inside the United States or abroad.

The NSA surveillance program also has the full cooperation of telecommunications and Internet service provider companies across the United States. NSA splitters have been installed at telecommunications companies� central office switches in cities and towns across the nation. The Obama administration flip-flopped on the issue of immunity protecting telecommunications firms from lawsuits by customers seeking damages for privacy violations. Earlier this year, the Obama White House backed retroactive immunity for the firms and sought to have lawsuits against the firms dismissed. The actual reason for the Obama flip-flop is that it is continuing the Bush administration�s illegal domestic wiretapping program and does not want details concerning the program being divulged in civil trials.

Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.

Copyright � 2009

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).

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