Senior Obama administration officials have secretly authorized the interception
of communications carried on portions of networks operated by AT&T
and other Internet service providers, a practice that might otherwise
be illegal under federal wiretapping laws.
The secret legal authorization from the Justice Department originally applied
to a cybersecurity pilot project in which the military monitored defense
contractors' Internet links. Since then, however, the program has
been expanded by President Obama to cover all critical infrastructure
sectors including energy, healthcare, and finance starting June 12.
EPIC obtained the documents though an FOIA lawsuit.
The documents concern a collaboration between the Defense Department, the
Department of Homeland Security, and private companies to allow government
monitoring of private Internet networks. Though the program initially
only applied to defense contractors, an Executive Order issued by the
Obama administration earlier this year expanded it to include other "critical
infrastructure" industries. The documents obtained by EPIC also cited
NSPD 54 as one source of authority for the program. NSPD 54 is a presidential
directive issued under President Bush that EPIC is pursuing in separate
Big brother is at it again. As a citizen concerned for safety, I understand
the government's desire to snoop. However, as a
criminal defense lawyer, I see the government overstepping its bounds on a regular basis.
At this point, the
Kansas attorney in me is more concerned about what the government is doing. The Fourth
Amendment of the Constitution really should mean something.