Whitaker played a key role in a patent promotion scam company that was recently fined millions of dollars by the FTC. And, Whitaker apparently used his former job as an Assistant US Attorney to try to intimidate an unhappy “customer” of this firm away from filing a Better Business Bureau complaint. In other words, not only is Whitaker associated with a scammy patent marketing company, he also abused his former title in an effort to create a chilling effect on someone’s speech.
One of the big arguments trotted out repeatedly by surveillance state defenders concerning the NSA’s Section 215 program to collect records on all phone calls is that such a thing “would have prevented 9/11” if it had been in place at the time. Here’s former FBI boss Robert Mueller making just that argument right after the initial Snowden leaks. Here’s Dianne Feinstein making the argument that if we had that phone tracking program before September 11th, we could have stopped the attacks. And here’s former NSA top lawyer and still top NSA supporter Stewart Baker arguing that the program is necessary because the lack of such a program failed to stop 9/11.
Except, it turns out, the feds did have just such a program prior to 9/11 — run by the DEA. As you may recall, back in January it was revealed that the DEA had its own database of phone call metadata of nearly all calls from inside the US to foreign countries. Brad Heath at USA Today came out with a report yesterday that goes into much more detail on the program, showing that it dates back to at least 1992 — meaning that the feds almost certainly had the calls that Feinstein and Mueller pretended the government didn’t have prior to 9/11.
The current practices of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court are effective and don’t need to be changed, according to former FBI director Robert Mueller.
“Yes, it’s worthwhile. Metadata of telephone companies is terribly helpful,” Mueller said, speaking Tuesday morning at an American Bar Association breakfast held at the the University Club in Washington, D.C.
Mueller cited the example of the Boston Marathon bombing as evidence that bulk collection is important, saying that analysis of metadata was able to rule out potential associates of the Tsarnaev brothers. “They had additional IEDs [Improvised Explosive Devices],” Mueller said, adding that bulk collection helped prevent a second attack.
Metadata collection, he said, “is tremendously helpful in identifying contacts.”
The FISA court’s bulk metadata collection program has come under intense scrutiny in light of disclosures made by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. Congress now has until the end of May to decide whether to reauthorize Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which allows the bulk collection program.
Legislators are working on the language for a reauthorization bill, according to Mueller. “They’re tweaking it, trying to accommodate additional concerns, like privacy,” he said.
Mueller also defended current procedures, which have been criticized for not allowing those subject to surveillance to argue in front of the FISA court. “I’m not sure you need to change what’s been in effect,” he said.
Mueller also didn’t mince words when asked about a possible plea deal for Snowden.
“He’s indicted,” Mueller said of Snowden. “He should come back and face the music.”