Dem rep: We were “astounded” by what we heard in our new classified briefing about surveillance

A simple case of a liberal trying to impress the lefty base with her innocence about the surveillance state or proof that O and the NSA really are up to more than anyone thought? Well, she’s specific in saying that there are things happening that go beyond what’s been publicly revealed. (Although maybe not for long: Remember, Glenn Greenwald’s promised further leaks.) Read Ed’s post this morning about other members of Congress sounding grim and you’ll see she’s not the only one on whom the classified briefings made an impression. Nor is she the only person lately to refer to data-mining of phone records and Internet communications as the “tip of the iceberg.” Former NSA official turned whistleblower William Binney has used that phrase too in describing what he suspects is the full scope of federal record-harvesting. I think that’s what Sanchez is probably getting at here — it’s the sheer scope of what they’re vacuuming up that would blow our minds if we knew, not necessarily that they’re using technologies we weren’t aware of. Marc Ambinder wrote the other day that it’s 50 companies that are being trawled for data by the feds, not just the big nine identified on the PRISM Powerpoint. Having that fact confirmed probably wouldn’t change the public’s opinion of NSA surveillance much, I suspect, but if some of the companies involved turned out to be, say, insurers with access to people’s medical records — hoo boy.

Here’s the clip via the Hill. Michael Hayden told TPM yesterday that the NSA probably knows by now exactly what data Snowden has in his possession and therefore what leaks are still to come. Maybe that forced the agency to reveal more than they initially wanted to in their briefings this week with Congress: If they withheld something and then the world found out thanks to Snowden,, a lot of angry senators and representatives would want to know why they were kept in the dark. Exit question: How is that we can bug virtually the entire Internet but Clapper’s going around saying things like this about our cyberdefenses?

Read more here.

NSA slapped with $20 billion class-action suit

The National Security Agency surveillance scandal could now cost the federal government and its corporate cronies a cool $20 billion or more.

The NSA, Department of Justice, President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder and the 12 companies allegedly collaborating with the government to conduct warrantless surveillance of American citizens are all named defendants in a class action lawsuit brought by former Justice Department prosecutor Larry Klayman, founder of Freedom Watch.

“Government dishonesty and tyranny against the people have reached historic proportions,” Klayman said in a statement. “The time has come for ‘We the People’ to rise up and reclaim control of our nation.”

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seeks $20 billion in damages, a “cease and desist” order, expunction of all phone and communication records collected by the government through its PRISM surveillance program and “full disclosure and complete accounting” of what the named companies have allowed the DOJ and NSA to do.

The companies named in the suit include the following: Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Skype, YouTube, Apple, PalTalk, AOL and Yahoo. Combined with Verizon, which has been named in a separate class action lawsuit, the users and subscribers of these companies reportedly comprise a majority of the U.S. citizenry, thus positioning the lawsuit to pit the American people against their government and its corporate collaborators.

“This and the Verizon class action will serve to unify all political and social persuasions in our great nation to wage a second American revolution, one that is peaceful and legal – but pursued with great resolve and force,” Klayman asserted. “If not, the government will control us, and this will mark the end of individual liberties.

Read more here.

Are Military Bloggers Losing Their Free Speech?… “Since 2009, the number of active duty troops that blogged openly plummeted. It wasn’t because we didn’t have anything to write about. It was because leaders at all levels began coming down on bloggers.”

Republican Rep. Notices IRS Agents Training with AR-15s During DHS Tour: ‘I’m Looking Into the Issue Now’

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