Habeas corpus Still Dead, NSA Records Now Assist: Obama Signs NDAA 2014

Keyhole no longer needed

As most Americans were contemplating where to put their new Christmas presents, President Obama on Thursday signed into law the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the annual federal law that provides the budget for the Department of Defense—and lately has delivered a whole lot of power to the Executive, to boot.

As reported previously, NDAA 2012 was dubbed the “Homeland Battlefield Bill,” because it defined the entire United States a “battleground” in the war on terror, and provided the president, for the first time, the power to capture and indefinitely detain any American citizen he deems a suspected “belligerent”—at his own discretion, with no evidence and no trial necessary.

Thus the end of habeas corpus.

Despite his promises to revoke his total discretionary powers of indefinite detention, President Obama has left them untouched—never know when they may come in handy—and the new and improved NDAA 2014 gives him a neat new added bonus: the ability to use, at will, the Total Information Awareness data being captured and indefinitely stored by NSA and other surveillance agencies.

Section 1071(a) of NDAA 2014, directs the Secretary of Defense to “establish a center to be known as the ‘Conflict Records Research Center,’” authorized to compile a “digital research database including translations and to facilitate research and analysis of records captured from countries, organizations and individuals, now or once hostile to the United States.”

In other words, the “Conflict Records Research Center” will share the unconstitutionally obtained information that the NSA has collected with the Department of Defense. And thanks to recent and ongoing revelations by FBI and NSA whistleblowers, Edward Snowden, and others, we now know that “Records captured” include every email, computer keystroke, phone call, piece of mail passing through the U.S. Postal Service, conversation within range of a cell phone, text message, ephoto, and more.

Since “belligerent” and “hostile” are not defined crimes, there will be no defense. Conveniently, since the president doesn’t have to bring a charge, there’s no need for a defense.

Thus, anytime it pleases him, the president (or any future president) can simply peruse the contents of the ‘Conflict Records Research Center,’ to identify those of us who may be “hostile” towards him.

Then clink, clank, throw away the key.

I confess: this makes me very belligerent and hostile, indeed. What about you?


In case anyone thinks I am engaging in hyperbole, here’s a little light reading I pulled together in a few minutes. Any 10-year old could easily find masses more:

NSA Office of Tailored Access Operations (“Tao”) directly hacks into computers and telephones, pervasively and persistently, capturing every keystroke and call.

NSA Collects ‘Word for Word’ Every Domestic Communication

PRISM enables at-will collection directly from the servers of Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook and other online companies from users’ accounts.

The National Security Agency Collects and Stores Everyone’s Email, Indefinitely

Microsoft assists NSA in breaking encryption

NSA pays computer security expert $10 million to create a “back door” for NSA to hack computers

FBI taps cell phone mic as eavesdropping tool

NSA can control your iPhone

NSA collects information covering “nearly everything a user does on the Internet.”

Internal NSA catalog reveals electronics accessed by intelligence agencies through a back door: “an NSA division called ANT has burrowed its way into nearly all the security architecture made by the major players in the industry — including American global market leader Cisco and its Chinese competitor Huawei, but also producers of mass-market goods, such as US computer-maker Dell.”

Judge upholds right of NSA to “vacuum up information about virtually every telephone call to, from or within the United States.”

FBI director admits domestic use of drones for surveillance

A real-time archive of Snowden’s original leak and subsequent updates (204 to date) is here.

Mary L. G. Theroux is Senior Vice President of the Independent Institute. Having received her A.B. in economics from Stanford University, she is Managing Director of Lightning Ventures, L.P., a San Francisco Bay Area investment firm, former Chairman of the Board of Advisors for the Salvation Army of both San Francisco and Alameda County, and Vice President of the C.S. Lewis Society of California.
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