For The Record exposes the terrifying surveillance state

If you didn’t catch tonight’s can’t miss premiere of For The Record, watch it on-demand HERE. Not a subscriber to TheBlaze TV? Start your 14 day free trial HERE.

Who is listening? Who is reading your emails? Who is watching you?

We all have a basic idea of how much access the government has to our personal information. But what are they using it for and, more importantly, what are they capable of? Since September 11, 2001, the National Security Agency (NSA) has turned America into a surveillance state, and tonight’s premiere of For The Record, TheBlaze’s new news magazine series, takes a deeper look into just what the government is doing with all that information.

“There is little information today the NSA cannot acquire if it wants to,” said American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attorney Alexander Abdo. Using the firsthand accounts of four NSA whistleblowers, For The Record exposes the truth behind the government agency that is invading American’s privacy under the guise of national security.

“I took all the narration out of the episode because these people are whistleblowers, and I have to let them tell their story,” Joe Weasel , senior producer of TheBlaze documentary team, said about the episode. “I asked all the whistleblowers the exact same questions, so I could see if the stories were consistent, and then I got out of the way. 

Thomas Drake, a former NSA senior director, was one of the whistleblowers highlighted in the episode. Drake spent his life fighting for his country and the Constitution. He worked at the Central Intelligence Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency before joining the NSA – a decision one of his friends called “a suicide mission.”

Coincidently, Drake’s first day of work at the NSA was September 11, 2001, and he explains the historical culture of the NSA, which dates back to the Truman Administration, and the way it changed in the aftermath of 9/11.

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In addition to Drake, former NSA senior analyst Kirk Wiebe, former NSA senior technical director Bill Binney, and former staff member of the House Intelligence Committee Diane Roark share their stories. 

“The key was to humanize all of them. At the end of the day, you have to understand that they had nothing to gain – there was no book deal, no movie, no nothing. So it was very important to establish their credibility,” Weasel said about the interviewing process. “We wanted to make them look like real people because that’s what they were. They are mid-westerners, but they were also spies. They were raided by the FBI and almost went to jail.”

All four of the whistleblowers were well respected and had enjoyed promotions over the years, but everything changed on December 18, 2005, when the New York Times published a blockbuster article exposing the government’s warrantless wiretapping program. While Drake, Wiebe, Binney, and Roark had not spoken to the New York Times or any other news organization at that point, the federal government began a criminal leak investigation that focused on the four of them.

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While none of the whistleblowers were convicted, their lives and careers were ruined. Their stories serve as a cautionary tale of what the government is capable of doing to its own employees – let alone its citizens.

“I thought you needed to humanize those people before we could get you to, ‘This is what your government is capable of doing,’” Weasel said about production. “I think you have to get a feel of what your government can do to you.”

It has become clear that even in light of the American people learning more about government surveillance programs, the tactics are here to stay. A massive NSA facility is currently under construction and scheduled to go open soon in the little town of Bluffdale, Utah. That compound is staggering in its size – about 100,000 square feet – and many experts feel that it will be used to store immense amounts of data gathered online about Americans like you.

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Ultimately, this is a Constitutional issue that deals directly with the Fourth Amendment – put in place to protect Americans from warrantless search and seizure – but the government doesn’t seem to be too concered.

“We know how to find bad guys in data and protect the privacy rights of Americans. We know how to do it,” Wiebe said. “The government doesn’t want to do it that way. The question is why? They want the ability to look at Americans when they feel like it. And that is the threat we now live with.”

If you didn’t catch tonight’s can’t miss premiere of For The Record, learn about how to watch it on-demand HERE. Not a subscriber? Start your 14 day free trial HERE.

  • ThorsteinVeblen2012

    Amy Goodman at Democracy Now! was covering this a year ago:

    http://www.democracynow.org/2012/3/21/in_unprecedented_obama_admin_crackdown_nsa

  • Recynd

    I was sorry to see that CCTV cameras and FireWire were not discussed in this piece.  That technology impacts each American directly, in his own town.  High-tech facial recognition software is used for free on Facebook, so imagine the technology the government has access to.  Anyone who has used LexusNexus software understands the vast diagramming technology readily available, making all of our personal information understandable and useable. 

    God bless these brave whistle-blowers.  The time is coming in which we will all have to choose a side, come what may.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-B-Southwick/100003297530525 Steven B. Southwick

    It’s true that some of the best recent work has been done by the ACLU. However, their historic record is clearly one of subversive activity. Now thatthey have their guys running the Admin and Senate, they can see that it is worse than they ever imagined – average Americans being targetted for nothing, in a myriad of ways, not just PCs. The road back out of this swamp is unclear since the Tea Party has not gained adequate traction.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/WKSHM6BNKMZ5GNOOCRUKK2AVX4 Johnny M

    Thanks for standing up Mr Drake and others. Much appreciated.

    If something doesn’t change the US government will mass murder all opposition just like Bill Ayers/Weather underground suggested in the 60′s.

    We are surrounded by psychos who should be hung for treason.

  • Draxx

    I don’t know about other places but here in Oregon, many Police Departments have Two Cameras in Patrol Cars that Scan License Plates in Parking Lots (Grocery Stores, Department Stores, Malls, Businesses, Colleges, Schools, etc…) Without Warrants.  But if a flagged plate is identified, they call in Backup In Unmarked Cars/SUV’s and wait for the unsuspecting person to appear and then rush in and arrest them (sometimes pretty damn physically), many times without warrants for things like too many unpaid parking tickets.  Or they will drive through a Bar/Tavern Parking Lot, scan plates and come back a couple hours later to look for people who have not left yet.  They will target those that have been there longer first, because they are more likely to be drunk drivers (but they do this on only suspicion not facts).  I have a friend that plays Pool in a Bar League in the evenings, and goes to work for a Graveyard Shift, because he has to go to work he will drink sodas/coffee only!  Well the Police scanned his plates and saw he was in the Tavern for over three hours, so they decided to intercept him on the road.  Well the road has no shoulders that he had to travel on, so when the Police Flashers Came On He Decided To Drive To The Next Parking Lot For Safety (which is supposed to be legal in Oregon).  Well the Police Automatically Assumed it was “Evasion” so they Slammed an SUV Into His Car and Forced Him Off The Road Over a Curb.  Immediately they yanked him out of the car and shoved his face into the dirt with four or five cops on his back and very forcefully handcuffed him and caused a fracture on his left wrist!  After more Police showed up, they waited for a Search Warrant to Inspect his car because he was not drunk or drinking at a bar he must have been a Drug Dealer!  Finally after being locked up in a squad car for over four hours, and the Police Not Finding Anything They Unhandcuffed Him and Released him on the road with no shoulder or sidewalk.  They towed away his Totalled Car, and Refused to take him to the Hospital even though he complained about severe pain in his wrist.  He tried to sue the Police that assaulted him without warant, but could not afford a lawyer for a Civil Lawsuit.  The Police Chief had the city write him a check for $25,000 if he agreed to drop any rights to a Lawsuit, unfortunately my friend took the money so that he could buy a new car…

    My question, is this just the Start of such Police Activities -or- do you think this was an isolated case that was mishandled?  (Personally I think it is the tip of the Iceburg!)

  • ThorsteinVeblen2012

    Define subversive activity?

    The Constitution doesn’t just represent the wealthy and politically connected.

    If subversion is a challenge to the people who continue to take our rights to privacy, free speech and due process, call me a subversive.

    Eric Holder is no champion of the average American, Black, White, Brown. Neither is Barack Obama and neither is Glenn Beck.

    Look at Beck’s lavish sets and production. He’s not some guy committed to a belief. He suckles the teet of the wealthy he speaks for.

  • Bonnie Somer

    treason obama has committed it over and over yet impeachment w/h reid is not happening, we know that, WE THE PEOPE ARE STILL HERE AND REMEMBER Y THE CONSTITUTION EXISTS AND WHAT OUR FOUNDERS WARNED OF THAT OBAMAS AGENDA TO RID US OF REPUBLICANS IN 2014 AND SHOVE HIS COMMUNIST AGENDA DOWN OUR THROATS IS WHAT HIS GAME IS NOT TO GOVERN BUT TO RID US OF WHAT AMERICA IS OUR MILITARY, NUKES, NAT RESOURCES, SOVEREIGNTY, PROPERTY WEALTH GUNS AND ON AND ON THIS MAN AND HIS ADMIN ARE THE DANGER TO US ALL

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeshelby Jason E Shelby

    This is why more cops are dying these days to, people are fed up with crooks in uniforms. Cops lying and falsifying documents and the crony system of justice. Youtube is full of stories just like this. There isn’t a government small or large in the world that isn’t ran by a mafia type mindset. We are plowed with patriotic shows, music, rhetoric,…brainwashed to believe we are God fearing, protectors of the innocent, yaddy yaddy.. but our government was founded by crooks and swindlers and will stay that way. Our constitution says “We the People”, and that “The People” can take back the government and redo it if it becomes to corrupt. Try marching on Washington…. just sitting on the sidewalk protesting will get you arrested, a beat down, and on a terror watch list. There is no more “We the People”, now it’s one person at a time.

  • Zooropa Fly

    I expect you enjoyed them pepper-spraying the Occupy lot whilst in the yoga position though !!     (That’s the occupy lot in the yoga position btw :-)

  • Zooropa Fly

    Manning, Assange… anyone ?
    O’bomber can’t take the rap for all of this, been going on for a long time now. Look at what Mr Bush contributed during his tenure.

    The US isn’t the only country this is happening to. So what does that tell you ? 

  • landofaahs

    And some of you think a Ghandi approach will keep Hitlerian type people from droning you.  

  • ThorsteinVeblen2012

    And some of you think you can adopt Hitlerian types of behavior without becoming Hitlerian.

    Is that what is meant by “American Exceptionalism?” Does the measure of behavior not apply because God gives us a pass?

  • http://www.facebook.com/russ.passmore.52 Russ Passmore

    Just the tip. Check out this Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/groups/FreeAntonioBuehler/

  • Anonymous

    You make a lot of assumptions based on….?

  • Anonymous

    This was common knowledge among the informed long before the DemNow coverage, Thor.  By the way, what does ‘scoped’ mean in the context of your last sentence?

  • Anonymous

    “Providing healthcare for the nation should be a national priority like safe highways.”
    Show me the Constitutional justification for that Nanny State freeloader’s wish.

  • Draxx

    Zooropa Fly, I don’t mean to be rude but I Do Not Understand What Point You Are Trying To Make… 

    I don’t enjoy watching anyone get hurt by the police!  I would be glad to know when someone as bad as Charles Manson is killed, but even then I don’t want to see it!

  • Draxx

    For some reason if One Person Tries It, it is considered an act of Terrorism.  But, if a Massive Group does it, that somehow makes it Liberation/Revolution!

    So I guess what I am saying is We Need to Make It, “We The People…”!!!

  • landofaahs

    Can you explain what Hitlerian types of behavior you are talking about because it makes no sense to me. I don’t believe America is exceptional now because we are a nanny state. We were once exceptional though and I believe we should strive to achieve it.
    God does not give me a pass but he does give me forgiveness through the innocent blood of Christ shed for me on the cross. We are guilty as Americans for allowing abortion, allowing govt. to steal from others in order to spread wealth to gain power for themselves and for many other socialist sins.

  • ThorsteinVeblen2012

    If it were common knowledge, why is Beck “exposing” it now?

    Where is your source?

    Are you part of the schoolmarm state?

  • landofaahs

    I disagree.  You pay for highways when you purchase gasoline for your car in the gas tax.  User pay.  If you don’t drive on the roads, you don’t pay for it except in the shipping costs of the products you buy.  In the same manner, pay for your own health care.  That is the Tea Party way.
    I woke up this morning actually giddy with joy.  I refuse to live in the liberal world of constant misery.  I never met a joyous liberal.  Like the Apostle Paul, I have learned the secret of being content with much or with little.  God has blessed me with much and I refuse to let the “accusers” of the world to rain on my joy.  Have a great day. 

  • landofaahs

    Obama is the current occupant in the Whitehouse and can stop it any time.  He has increased it.  He has sole responsibility for it now.  He is guilty and at fault.  Him alone.

  • landofaahs

    You don’t have a right to block other people’s way either. Go do your yogi bear in a temple if you can’t move your fat rear when your in someone’s way.  Life is good and I think I’ll enjoy a ribeye steak with buttered corn on the cobb.  Maybe 2 good micro-brews for good measure.  Yum Yum Yum instead of humhumhum. LOL

  • Zooropa Fly

    Absolutely agreed.  But nothing will change within the current governance ‘systems’ though. Full blown revolution and smashing the globalist (you refer to it as socialist) agenda is required.

    A GOP government under the current system would, I believe, only accelerate the iron grip of snooping and heavy-handed policing that’s tightening around the erroneously termed ‘civilised’ world. And further extreme catastrophic foreign policy of course.

    I’m waiting to be droned anytime soon for the occasional dribble I drool from the corner of my mouth here…  (now there’s an opportunity for ya.) 

  • Zooropa Fly

    Ok Mr Draxx, but I did say “I expect”. Most of the regulars here from memory were more than happy about the described event. You clearly weren’t one of them so I appologise for suggesting it.

  • Zooropa Fly

    I think I’ll have a couple of big-brews after that !

  • http://youtu.be/0iRCvDwF26Q Sam Fisher

    Yah because Hitler so was for freedom asks the Jews oh wait a minute. Do you even read the moronic stuff you liberals type before you post? So because I want the freedom to do want I want in my own life is equal to Hitlerism. So that means Gay marriage = Hitlerism as well in the liberal book of stupidity. Ladies and gentlemen liberal logic accept us the way we are but when you want to live your own life not being molested by the government you’re no better than Hitler. Hypocrisy much!

  • http://youtu.be/0iRCvDwF26Q Sam Fisher

    You have to understand the liberal meaning of Hitlerian is different from ours. We think that anyone acting like Hitler in any shape or form is Hitlerism but liberals on the other hand think that freedom is Hitlerian point of view. I wonder if numb nuts can see the big contradiction.

  • Anonymous

    Beck has addressed this in shows over the years.  Some of this stuff, I had seen on his show already. He has admitted he was wrong about the Patriot Act many times.  Take it as vindication and be thankful for open minds.  As for Democracy Now scopping anyone http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/09/thomas-drake-nsa-whistleblower_n_873740.html

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BGC7U7QUFEWSSV3H4IFHLAFK54 mudslide

    anyone for a 20 ounce soda? 

  • Anonymous

    That is beyond rude and oversteps every American’s rights.

  • Draxx

    Thanks for the apology, but I don’t recall very many of us happy about the Occupy Wallstreet (or Occupy America Events).  The only ones that seemed to like it was the ones in the streets doing the bad things!  I know many people involved Were Not Doing Bad Things, but there were way too many that were…

    Question: Did you actually sit down in the streets whether it was yoga or not to Disrupt Business and People’s Lives?

  • Draxx

    I know, but the Police are Emboldened By This Administrations Policies (Notice how close Police and Policies really are!).  They believe that because they are already in the drivers seat that it is okay to proceed recklessly…

  • Draxx

    Jason, I forgot to mention to you earlier that a few of us had to Convince Him Not To Run His Dad’s Old Truck Into The Police Station Doors When He Was Angry At Them.  That would have only given him Real Citations on a Felony Level…
     
    Because of this posting I decided to give him a call and see how he is doing, and it wasn’t the best conversation because he is still pissed off.  He also mentioned that him and his girlfriend had broken up a month ago because he just couldn’t let it go…  I am not so sure that the story is over just yet!

  • Anonymous

    If everything about everyone can be found out, then WHERE is the info about Benghazi, and WHERE is the true info about Obama?  Is there no one brave enough to come forth with the truth?

  • Zooropa Fly

    I’m Scots btw. I did attend Occupy London Stock Exchange on it’s first day, as a photographer not protester. (other revolutionary credential was placing myself in the south of egypt the week mubarak fell (told to step go by Ob & Killery of course) but that’s another story..). OLSX became ‘Occupy St Pauls’ within a couple of hours of course after no stomach for a fight to get into Paternoster Sq. I make no secret of at least sympathising with the movement, but akin to Egypt it was apparent it wasn’t going anywhere fast. The press here as there ignored for as long as possible, then when they had to face it put a negative spin on everything. The ‘story’ and cover shot from the first day in London was of the wedding at St Pauls that struggled to escape the church! As good snappers know it’s usually an unexpected side story that grabs the front page.

    The reality here is we’re too doped up on Booze TV & Sport, too many people with too many toys to risk losing them by revolting. The critical mass of dissent isn’t prevalent yet. It could arrive with one big economic bump somewhere anytime though..

    Anyway to put some perspective on it, our protesters weren’t really doing bad things. Bad thing are happening in Syria.

    As I’ve said before I see much common ground the likes of here and Occupy. I think the real enemy is a common enemy, and a much bigger one..

    And I f***king hate Yoga !

  • mspatdev

    Then you wonder why so many people are killed with guns, etc. is because of the buddy system of police. They are union people and the unions are always right. They aren’t.

  • Anonymous
  • ThorsteinVeblen2012

    All the sites cited are left leaning.

    You are only backing up the point that liberals are better informed.

  • Anonymous

    Note to self: avoid Oregon at all costs.

  • Anonymous

    Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    American exceptionalism refers to the special character of the United States as a uniquely free nation based on democratic ideals and personal liberty.   The actual term “American exceptionalism” was originally coined by German Marxists who wished to explain why the US seemed to have by-passed the rise of socialism and Marxism.  It’s easy to see why the term intimidates leftist mediocrities, like the current regime and it’s indolent cheerleaders.

  • ThorsteinVeblen2012

    If you actually read these items you would know they don’t make your point at all.

    They are either right wing partisan attacks or apologia. There is nothing like the coverage like the “liberal” media has made against both Republican and Democratic administrations.

  • Anonymous

    No enemies on the left, eh Thor?

  • Anonymous

    Sure they do. They point out that, contrary to left wing opinion, domestic spying has been part of the landscape for years and vigorously opposed by our side. You guys are simply late to the party and selectively outraged, as usual.

  • http://www.facebook.com/richard.borders1 Richard Borders

     Sounds like a severe management problem to me. How high up the chain do they have to go before they get to an elected official to hold responsible?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/DOTGOHUFJ6ZVXJRPPWNIRZQJ6A martinw

    You know people, America is overdue for a second “American Revolution”. The powers at be know this as well. This is why you see what is going on right now in our country. WE THE PEOPLE need to band together toward the same goal, for the same reasons the founders did. Should we do this, they have but one hole card. To pit other nations against us. Please do not  ever forget the actual goal of those in power. It is to retain that power/control and increase it to the point that all but a handful are serfs/slaves to them. Also remember there is no static ground in the fight for liberty. People are either with us-or against us. I don’t remember who said that either we stand together or we will surely fall separately, just know that it’s true. I would also ask everyone to remember the words of the 16th century English Lord; Byron Acton: Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Lastly, the cops on all levels are no more than guard dogs for the extremely wealthy and powerful.     

  • Anonymous

    President obama who have a God-king complex way of thinking  or any President  to have a God like power of (all knowing ) though government surveillance  is very dangerous to our citizens and their  freedoms and rights !!  We opening up our shelves with more government knowing every aspect of what you do &  say  for government to pass judgement on you ,you saying the wrong thing it’s not in lockstep with obama policy,you went to grocery store three times in one week you burn too much gasoline !!!!! Then government will dictate every thing you do and when per obama nanny police state!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://palinsdirtylittlesecret.blogspot.com/ CovertWarOnAmericansLeakedHere

     This illegal police state dictatorship began with the election of Obama. There’s a massive cover up taking place and leaked in my profile.

  • Anonymous

    And I used to feel the police were my friends.  And taught my children that.  Not anymore.  I look at them on the road and wonder if they’re decent or not.

  • ThorsteinVeblen2012

    Watch the interview on Democracy Now! of Glenn Greenwald who broke the NSA story for the Guardian:

    http://www.democracynow.org/2013/6/7/a_massive_surveillance_state_glenn_greenwald

  • Timothy Fowle

    All this bull with our government is seriously making my balls hurt. 

  • Anonymous

    All of Congress were briefed and not a single one came forward to expose this ? OK we knew something like this was going on but not on this scale this is why people like Bradley Manning are needed

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    No one in Kenya is brave enough.

  • Anonymous

    Too bad it’s no longer true.

  • Anonymous

    Fuck are you talking about?

  • Anonymous

    Republican idea, Republican sponsor, Republican author, Republican justice department approval, Republican Congress passed it, Republican president signed it.
    Case closed.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah I saw that movie too.

  • Anonymous

    Highway construction does not come from any gasoline taxes.

  • Anonymous

    “Promote the general welfare”

  • http://facebook.com/metalchick007 Lisa Renee’ Jones

    It is absolutely amazing how The Blaze is ALWAYS ahead of the curve.  Great job.  The Blaze is becoming easier and easier to promote, because it’s all truth.  Thank you!

  • bucketnutz

    You can tell the people who have something to hide by the way they talk about the whistle blowers who expose the warts of Government.

  • Anonymous

    Question on the GPS in your car ,can it be disable easily ??? so you won’t be track even if system not in use ??? Or is it  design in a way where you cannot turn it off completely  ???    ook up in my car manual for fuses instead a separate fuse for GPS you have a fuse for the whole console you lose radio etc !!! Maybe if you have aerial you can unscrew   ,which they recommend for car wash ,may help some ?? or disengage the SD card or just back it off in the slot ???  We should demand on electronic devices a  law a  printed warning of spying device  of listening and viewing on any electronic device !! On our ,TV ,computer, even your clock radio beside a listening monitor  & may have a hidden camera if true was on coast to coast radio show last night signal would be pick up by your WY-f connection for portable operation use of your computer  (if what I heard is true) ??? Any electronic device we have in our homes  should be a law have to have a switch or easy pull fuse on monitor section of this device( to completely break circuit powering this monitoring section ) that invade the privacy of our home by listening and viewing what going on in our private home !!! Not talking about monitor what you watch on TV ,or time or where you go on internet that a another problem !!! If the electronic device contain a hidden camera  must clearly state it on manual ,even there is switch to cut circuit to monitor section what going on in the home ,should state where the lens of this camera is on the device so if don’t trust the company cut off switch or pulling fuse will not completely disable this device  of peeping tom viewing inside  of your home ,you can physical block the lens by putting tin foil over lens held by a small piece of duct tape or small piece of foam over the listening monitor !!!!    IF congress is working for WE THE PEOPLE  and for protecting our privacy then they should pass laws on all electronic devices 1.)Be label in big print if device contains a listening or visual monitor device that invades what you are doing in your home !!! 2.) If device does contain a monitor device that invade your home privacy it should have a easy accessible switch or fuse which completely cut power to monitor section of this device if company make false claim that it does then they be liable for suit !!! 3.) For assurance of privacy clearly state where camera lens are located or portholes for the listening monitor and so they can be physical block without a major visual eye sore on equipment !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden True American Heroes 

  • Pamela Peltonen

    My daughter and son in law are both police officers here in Texas. Believe me, the police and sheriffs are on our side. I’m not sure what it’s like in other states, but the police here are good.