When a Democrat is demanding answers from the White House, that’s when one knows things have gone really, really awry.
Especially when that Democrat is calling out the White House for running a “dragnet” surveillance operation on virtually the entirety of the American population.
Without a warrant, of course.
Which is precisely why Democratic Senator Ron Wyden decided to send a rather pointed letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, requesting information on the so-called Hemisphere Project.
Initiated as far back as September 2013, the project enables the White House and other interested entities to purchase personal phone records of an Americans they wish to snoop into, with nary a warrant in sight.
Total violation of the Fourth Amendment, in other words, to the extent that even a Democrat is disturbed.
Indeed, Wyden characterized the project, which conveniently began during the Obama administration as a “long-running dragnet surveillance program in which the White House pays AT&T to provide all federal, state, local, and Tribal law enforcement agencies the ability to request often-warrantless searches of trillions of domestic phone records.”
Well, that’s nice.
What’s even nicer is that taxpayers are the ones paying for the government to violate their Fourth Amendment rights.
“Although the Hemisphere Project is paid for with federal funds, they are delivered to AT&T through an obscure grant program, enabling the program to skip an otherwise mandatory federal privacy review,” Wyden remarked wryly.
In other words, total absence of transparency and accountability.
“I have serious concerns about the legality of this surveillance program, and the materials provided by the DOJ contain troubling information that would justifiably outrage many Americans and other members of Congress,” Wyden continued.
Well, that’s putting it mildly. Most conservatives have “serious concerns” about the White House becoming more and more like Beijing.
Fitting, considering that Beijing was “investing” in Biden at the same time Obama was creating the “dragnet” surveillance program.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has also provided insight into the Project, observing the degree of information that the federal government can collect.
“Through the Hemisphere program, AT&T assists federal and local law enforcement in accessing and analyzing its massive database of call detail records (CDRs) – information on phone numbers dialed and received, as well as the time, date, and length of call and in some instances location information,” the EFF reported.
Apparently, upwards of four billion call details are stored in Project Hemisphere, including some records dating as far back as 1987.
It is also apparent that law enforcement has been instructed to be as un-transparent as possible when it comes to revealing how egregiously Americans’ civil liberties are being violated.
“Law enforcement has taken pains to ensure that Hemisphere evades public scrutiny. In fact, as government presentations on the program have made clear, investigators regularly take steps – in the name of ‘protecting the program’ – to ‘keep the program under the radar.’ Most critically, program officials instruct law enforcement to ‘never refer to Hemisphere in any official document,’” the EFF added.
Unfortunately for Project Hemisphere, a Democrat has now referred to the surveillance program in an official document, directed straight at the US attorney general.
The only question is whether or not Biden will disregard the “dragnet” the same way he’s disregarded bank records regarding his illegal business dealings abroad.
Author: Ofelia Thornton