Is Your Amazon Echo a Government Spy?

CIA hackers are apparently able to bypass encryption on popular communication applications, such as WhatsApp or Signal or Confide by hacking the smartphones the apps run on and collecting the data before the encryption is applied, this according to information reportedly hacked by WikiLeaks from the CIA. Makes you feel all warm and cozy inside, doesn't it?

The question is, what can't the CIA hack? Are agents listening in on home devices like Amazon Echo or Google Home? And do Americans even care?

"At any given point, what you're doing might be wrong or they might construe it as wrong," Co-host Pat Gray said Wednesday on The Glenn Beck Program. "That's the point. Because the fact that they can do it means that if anything ever turns kind of ugly, then we're in real trouble. I mean, you're really talking about a seriously oppressive government if they can do all of this stuff. It's kind of scary. It's chilling."

Enjoy the complimentary clip above or read the transcript below for details.

PAT: All right. Jake Tapper yesterday talking about this latest report from -- about the CIA and what they're doing with their spy efforts.

VOICE: A stunning look inside the CIA's hacking capabilities. Seemingly straight out of a Jason Bourne film, WikiLeaks calls it the, quote, largest ever publication of confidential documents from the CIA, documents they claim are from the CIA center for cyber intelligence that reveal the methods the spy agency uses to gather information on targets without them knowing, among them, turning household items such as computers or smart phones or a Samsung smart TV into surveillance tools, turning your own electronics into spy devices, even when they're powered off.

The CIA hackers are apparently able to bypass encryption on popular communication applications, such as WhatsApp or Signal or Confide by hacking the smartphones the apps run on and collecting the data before the encryption is applied.

Now, CNN cannot independently verify the information contained in these 8,761 documents and files, which WikiLeaks is calling vault seven. In a statement, a CIA spokesman said, quote, we do not comment on the authenticity or content of purported intelligence documents, unquote.

PAT: Of course, if all that is true, how have we not killed every terrorist there is in the world? How is it possible?

STU: That's a great point.

JEFFY: Right.

PAT: If they're capable of all of that, then we should have no issues anymore. That's -- that's amazing stuff, unless they're just directing it toward American citizens.

STU: Right. And you would think they would have lines against Americans that they wouldn't have against terrorists. They can do kind of whatever they want. They don't have to worry about the Constitution necessarily when they're going against terrorists in Afghanistan somewhere.

That is amazing. Obviously, their answer is, A, we would need a warrant to do any of this stuff.

PAT: Easily obtainable through FISA.

STU: Yeah. Right. But, I mean -- because you're saying most of them don't get -- the overwhelming majority get approved.

PAT: Yeah.

STU: But there's a process to get to that point. I mean, they don't bring 12 million of those a year.

PAT: Right. I think it was 1689 last year. And 1688 were approved.

STU: Right. And look, if the number was actually -- if they were spying on 1688 households because they believed terrorism was involved, that actually seems pretty rational, right?

PAT: Yeah.

STU: That's probably a totally normal number. I think the conversations that have been problematic around this are the mass gathering of data of every citizen making phone calls and everything that we've learned from these past things. But just the ability -- the fact that they are able to use your smart TV to somehow monitor you is kind of I guess what's coming out of this. That's more noteworthy.

We've talked about these possibilities before. We've had experts on saying they could do these things. But I guess this would be the deepest evidence to confirm that.

And, you know, the idea that they can do it with the power off is interesting as well. They're talking about how obviously while the power of your TV might be off. It has to be on at some level because the remote knows -- like it's detecting the remote, right? If it was completely off and there's no power going to it, it would not be able to detect the remote. It's essentially in sleep mode, right?

JEFFY: And it's like Google Now and Alexa. If you approve the voice command on the TV and say, yes, I want to use it, then it's always listening. Always.

STU: I mean, it has to be able to hear what you say. Now, do you have these devices in your home, Pat? The Alexa or Google Play?

PAT: We have an Alexa. It's not currently plugged into anything though because I found it kind of worthless.

STU: Oh, really?

PAT: The Google Home seems more, you know, viable. The Alexa didn't do anything I really care about. I mean, it would give you the weather. But I can get that from my -- from my i Pad. But I do have a Samsung TV. Several Samsung TVs that they could be watching me through.

JEFFY: I have several -- but have you okayed them to use -- I think the big thing in the beginning was if you said okay to the voice command. Then they were able to listen and take the information. Because they've already used -- they've already been -- I think they were sued at one point for using information about what people were watching without their knowledge.

PAT: Yeah.

JEFFY: As -- you know, for -- they were using it obviously for our safety and, you know, to help us purchase products better for our families, of course. Yeah, right.

PAT: Uh-huh.

JEFFY: But they were -- you know, I think they were already sued for that once or twice because they were using that information without our knowledge. So why wouldn't they?

STU: Again, we talked about this yesterday. The principle of this is to elevate it to a conversation about whether these things should be allowed anyway.

PAT: Yeah. And it's also to elevate it to a point to where people care about. Because a lot of Americans think, well, I'm not doing anything wrong anyway. Why do I care if they're watching me?

Well, because you don't know what they consider wrong. At any given point, what you're doing might be wrong, or they might construe it as wrong. Or we might not always have the benevolence in the power that we have today. So you don't ever want the government to have this kind of power and use it against us. That's why, whether you're doing anything wrong or not isn't the point. It's, should they be doing this at all? That's the point. Because the fact that they can do it means that if anything ever turns kind of ugly, then we're in real trouble. I mean, you're really talking about a seriously oppressive government if they can do all of this stuff. It's kind of scary. It's chilling.

So -- an interesting report. And, again, I don't know if it's true. I don't know if they can actually do this stuff or if they are doing this stuff. And if they are, again, we -- there should be a lot more dead terrorists than there are today. Because those guys are using cell phones. And if you can get it before the encryption process, which I didn't think was possible, well, how good is the encryption if the CIA can take the data before it's encrypted? That's weird.

STU: Yeah, like, for example, those encrypted messaging apps like Confide. Confide is like -- basically like covers all your messages that you would -- so if you send a message at Confide, the person who receives it gets a message as covered. And only when they touch it can they see what's going on.

PAT: Yeah, yeah.

STU: So it's a way to -- so you can't really screenshot a message, which is a way you can get around some other messaging things. Services.

So the idea is that they're hacking it before it's encrypted. So like the way it helps if you want to send a secret message is I send a message to Pat and I'm stopping the people in between Pat and I from intercepting it on the internet, right?

The way they're talking about it with the CIA is, as I'm typing it, they're able to see it before I send it. So it's actually, you know, getting around that whole system. And, you know, I got to -- maybe terrorists are thinking, you know what, we're going to get away with this because we're going to send it through a commercially available messaging system. Are they that dumb? I mean, they probably are. I don't know. Some of them are.

But you'd think -- you're right. I go back and forth with this. And it's like watching a law and order episode.

When you watch law and order, if you're like me, you believe every attorney and every argument they make. So like it's the greatest defense of all time. You're like, this guy is so innocent. Then the prosecution comes on, this guy has got to fry. It's back and forth. And that's why it's a great show.

I'm constantly convinced. It's the same thing with this. I go back and forth with, do we have this incredible ability to monitor everything everywhere? On days like this, I feel that way, like they're coming through our TVs and they're able to do this.

PAT: Uh-huh.

STU: And then the other part of me is like, so much crap gets by them --

PAT: I know. That's the thing.

STU: So many things. So many obvious things. So many things they should have caught so many times, they have people who they have -- they talk to. The FBI brings into the room and they let go, and then they wind up doing something terrible.

PAT: We're told things like this all the time. Well, the CIA can monitor you through a Lego system. Through my Legos? What?

They're watching your child play right now! He's building a little pirate ship. Well, why did it take 11 years to get Osama bin Laden then?

JEFFY: That's their deal. Right? They say -- isn't that what the CIA guy told us on our For the Record is they get all the information. It's a matter of obviously disseminating, sifting through it. So unless someone comes to them and says, Stu Burguiere, and then they go to you and then they're able to knock on everything you're doing. The information is there. It's just that there's no way they can cover it all.

STU: I do not think that they somewhere have a hard drive or multiple hard drives, multiple hard drives with every words spoken in a room with a Samsung TV that has voice recognition on. That's not a thing.

PAT: Right.

STU: However, can they go on a specific case and say, you know what, Pat Gray, we think Pat Gray -- or, actually, better example. Jeff Fisher, we think Jeff Fisher is a criminal, and we want to listen to his Samsung to see how he's ordering --

JEFFY: That is a stupid example, Stu. Why are you using me?

STU: The point is, can they do that? That is I guess the news today. They seemingly can if you believe WikiLeaks and these documents.

JEFFY: Yeah.

STU: So that's a pretty impressive technological advancement.

PAT: Yeah.

STU: But, again, when you don't have these rules. There's nothing saying to them that they can't have the data from some terrorist who lives in Yemen. Right? Like there's no constitutional requirement necessarily of them saying, well, we have to respect the privacy rights of the people in Yemen.

PAT: Yeah, I don't think they worry about that.

STU: No. So if they can get that information and it's available -- now, I understand that there may --

PAT: You want to be able to use that. Right. That's the thing. But they have cell phones probably. You know, chances are pretty good they have smartphones. But the other chilling part of this again is if the government is ever not as benevolent as it is today, we don't have a chance if this technology exists.

JEFFY: Oh. Doomed.

PAT: You don't have a chance.

STU: You're so dependent on it.

PAT: Wow, yeah.

STU: So dependent on it. It's incredible.

PAT: Yeah, there is never a time when you're alone without the government beside you. There is never a time. Everywhere you go. Whatever you do. They know about it. They're watching you.

JEFFY: Right.

STU: I mean, they could be.

PAT: You talk about every breath you take, I'll be watching you, that was creepy enough from Sting. That's a lot creepier from the government.

STU: Though I will say, I looked in my backyard and Sting was looking in. I will say that. Sting was there. He was watching me.

PAT: Yeah, he was watching you.

JEFFY: I love Sting. I would have invited him in.

PAT: Well, that's not a surprise.


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