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Are all telephone calls recorded and accessible to the US government?

A former FBI counterterrorism agent claims on CNN that this is the case

Glenn Greenwald
Saturday 4 May 2013


The real capabilities and behavior of the US surveillance state are almost entirely unknown to the American public because, like most things of significance done by the US government, it operates behind an impenetrable wall of secrecy. But a seemingly spontaneous admission this week by a former FBI counterterrorism agent provides a rather startling acknowledgment of just how vast and invasive these surveillance activities are.

Over the past couple days, cable news tabloid shows such as CNN's Out Front with Erin Burnett have been excitingly focused on the possible involvement in the Boston Marathon attack of Katherine Russell, the 24-year-old American widow of the deceased suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. As part of their relentless stream of leaks uncritically disseminated by our Adversarial Press Corps, anonymous government officials are claiming that they are now focused on telephone calls between Russell and Tsarnaev that took place both before and after the attack to determine if she had prior knowledge of the plot or participated in any way.

On Wednesday night, Burnett interviewed Tim Clemente, a former FBI counterterrorism agent, about whether the FBI would be able to discover the contents of past telephone conversations between the two. He quite clearly insisted that they could:

BURNETT: Tim, is there any way, obviously, there is a voice mail they can try to get the phone companies to give that up at this point. It's not a voice mail. It's just a conversation. There's no way they actually can find out what happened, right, unless she tells them?

CLEMENTE: "No, there is a way. We certainly have ways in national security investigations to find out exactly what was said in that conversation. It's not necessarily something that the FBI is going to want to present in court, but it may help lead the investigation and/or lead to questioning of her. We certainly can find that out.

BURNETT: "So they can actually get that? People are saying, look, that is incredible.

CLEMENTE: "No, welcome to America. All of that stuff is being captured as we speak whether we know it or like it or not."

"All of that stuff" - meaning every telephone conversation Americans have with one another on US soil, with or without a search warrant - "is being captured as we speak".

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Let me expand this convedrsation a little bit

Jim Stone use to be in the NSA and he had a security clearance that was equal to the president. His area of training was electronic warfare. He could be given a "black box" with parts made in Russia, China or wherever and he could look at it and determine what it was and know how to repair it.

He told me once that the government also has the capability to follow your conversation through a crowd of people using voice recognition, GPS and whoever's cell phones that happens to be nearby in people's pockets as you walk by. It doesn't matter whether the cell phones in other people's pockets are turned "off", your conversation could be followed continuously as you walk through a crowd of people.

Now, Here's something else you may want to think about from Jim Stone's web site:



While not an easy job to

While not an easy job to create, this is entirely feasible from a technical standpoint. All the individual technical elements have already been invented. All they would need is software and systems to tie all the pieces together.


My point is, you could see

My point is, you could see those systems if they were there by opening your phone. I dont disagree it's possible but I do disagree that it's currently standard on cell phones.

If you know him, he's so

If you know him, he's so great, have him take your phone apart and show you the circuitry that is responsible for this tracking capability and then post it. Otherwise, it's all BS. Other people have taken the phones apart and posted about it.... no one ever mentioned a secret tracking chip that can power your mic, radio and GPS even when the phone is off.

Don't underestimate the ability of the Government

to have cell phone companies integrate a back door in what otherwise appears to be normal circuitry. We know that telecom companies have cooperated illegally with the government on spying on Americans until they were granted "retroactive" immunity in 2008. We can't know what kind of secret deals are happening between the cell phone manufacturers and government. Any such circuitry in a cell phone is not going to be made obvious to anyone taking apart a cell phone. Jim Stone has credibility based on the vantage point of his unique skills and experience. I put this out here as something that needs to be thought about. Certainly I'd like to see more research into this but at the same time I hold that neither the government nor the cell phone manufacturers involved would be willing to prove to you how this is possible.


There is no way to make

There is no way to make secret circuitry look like regular circuitry. I'm not trying to be rude, but you're believing this because you don't understand electronics.

The electrons have to follow a wire to do anything... you can also follow that wire to see what it does.

If the phone's operating system is not powered on, there has to be a ROM chip with software on it which can not only power your mic, radio and GPS, but send instructions and interpret the response. This chip will need to be wired to the battery, CPU, memory, radio, GPS and mic.

If that's the case, you can open your phone and see it.... and people have opened their phone and not seen it.

All your circumstantial evidence is meaningless... This isn't about trust... it's about electrons. If you're friend is so good, he'll see it. It wont be hard to find. Phones aren't that big, not many places to hide covert electronics.

Also, to my knowledge, Apple is the only USA manufacture of phones... so if anything, check your iPhone. (The telecoms who were busted were busted on the transport side because they're carriers, not the device side since they don't make the hardware.)


oops.. double post

NCMarc's picture

Everything is captured and

Everything is captured and then they simply get a court order to go back and get the information. They don't have to "tap" anything. This has been well known for years.

They love text messages too, because those are easy to store, and small. Now if you use Apple's iMessage, those are encrypted between the 2 parties and they have to break the encryption and they aren't happy about it.

VoIP calls are now being recorded too. They introduced legislation to make them so they aren't encrypted in the form they can't get at them.

A great empire, like a great cake, is most easily diminished at the edges. - Ben Franklin

more Alex Jones blanket paranoid crap!

...that will, once again, HURT the movement as a whole!!!

I talked to a 29-year police veteran about to retire; I hope to do it on camera once he retires....he spoke to THIS "everything is recorded" crap....which logically means...there are ZERO good people in law enforcement, period!

This is the reputation we have as we "witness for the Ron Paul inspired Liberty Movement" in our neighborhoods, like I am doing! This, and Alex Jones' garbage is why people IGNORE US, consider us politically irrelevant...once again...it's getting top billing on this forum!


I really doubt the NSA FBI

I really doubt the NSA FBI and DHS really keep each and every local LEO up to date with the current technology they use. I don't think anyone said local cops are doing this, this is Federal eavesdropping.

Your local cop buddy !=

Your local cop buddy != FBI/NSA/CIA agent

Simple Facts and Plain Arguments
A common sense take on politics and current events.


Your cop friend is not any more reliable just

because he is a cop.

When we hear about new technological abilities, chances are that it is ten years or older. I do know that they record every conversation where certain "red flag" words are used. And if that is the case then they have the ability to monitor every conversation. And if that is the case then they have the ability to record every conversation. And if they have the ability to record every conversation then they ARE recording every conversation.

It is the same with video monitoring. Not only is every city corner monitored and recorded but they can monitor and record an entire city from above by satellite, drone or any surveillance craft. This is amazing and scary but just think how much further they are than what we know. And if they can do it then they ARE doing it.

How can you deny what is in your face obvious?

I'm not STUPID...

I get the abuses and technology like Judge Napolitano gets it....I even get that gay marriage is "equal protection under the law" because the government usurped God's authority over the institution that He established...I'm not stupid....

So, again, what's the SOLUTION? Tell people as anonymous bloggers on the internet? Tell people to listen to Alex Jones? Go to work and say "I hate the effin' government!"?
Buy the books that list all these abuses in great verifiable detail? Make the author wealthy beyond his dreams so he can buy silver? Tell your co-workers and family the government is recording me, tracking your website visits by your corporate owned ISP?

Here, this thread has 2 dozen up votes, and the comments are "I knew this long ago"...it's a big yawn.....the biggest upvotes are those telling me to shut up and wake up, as though I'm in denial.

TwelveOhOne's picture

Bile and ignorance

Please stop spreading your bile and ignorance on these forums.

People talk about those things closest to their hearts. Why you seem to have a closet homosexuality fetish I have no idea, but you keep talking about it incessantly. Please, see someone about this, you can be cured.

I love you. I'm sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.
http://fija.org - Fully Informed Jury Association
http://jsjinc.net - Jin Shin Jyutsu (energy healing)

tell me what I'm ignorant about?

...I'm waiting...

Nice drive-by insult....

TwelveOhOne's picture

When people ignore the beauty of others,

they tend to be called "ignorant".

You are taking a specific difference in others' behavior that does not affect you in the slightest, and are acting like a victim about it, in public.

This is shameful behavior, yet you seem to not be ashamed.

I love you. I'm sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.
http://fija.org - Fully Informed Jury Association
http://jsjinc.net - Jin Shin Jyutsu (energy healing)

Whoa! Whoa! What are you talking about?

You are addressing issues that I have made no comment on. I challenge you to find a thread where I have ever said that I listen to Alex Jones. I didn't even read the article. I was responding to your apparent denial that we are being monitored and/or recorded. I have my own observations and conclusions from almost 50 years of living in this mess and I don't need to rest my beliefs on someone else shoulders like so many do here. I back my own argument. And what the heck does the deviant marriage debate have to do with the constant surveillance state we live in.?

It is a fact that we are being monitored more and more, and more than we know. It is a fact that they have the ability to do these things. And the "Patriotic" and/or false "Christian" duty to country is all many people need to IGNORANTLY go along with anything their accepted authority figures tell them. So they are not lacking in technology and not lacking in man power to "secure" our "Great Nation" against all "enemies" foreign or "domestic". And they use those assets to their fullest.

Now you say your "cop friend" says that is all BS. Do you believe him because you think that every cop is "in the know" or is it because you believe this is a Christian nation that would never misuse the information that they are recording? Are you in denial or are you are you angry that people accuse you of being in denial or what? How about some clarity?

Don't be dense

Do your homework.

Seriously guy: knee jerk dismissing anything that does not fall into your preconceived notions is willful ignorance.

Labeling anything that bursts your personal bubble of possibility by automatically filing it under "looney nutjob conspiracy theory Alex Jones crap" ...

And NOT doing the research to justify your own dismissal of evidence what you are saying is hard-headed narrow mindedness, and possibly evidence of sheer stupidity on your part.

That is what is hurting *everyone*. The superficial, dense, oblivious nature of the population is hurting all America. Not just the 'liberty movement'

Use your head. Think critically.

These are highly placed reputable people that are TELLING US STRAIGHT OUT. Senators. NSA and FBI whistleblowers. The historical record of legislation in Congress and public record DARPA programs. A multimillion dollar data center in Utah that was built SPECIFICALLY FOR THIS PURPOSE.

And there are piles of evidence backing them up.

Don't react. THINK.

my 29-year veteran cop friend DOES NOT....

...TRUST the government...he wouldn't disarm a law abiding citizen because it's "his job...to follow orders"; shall I find the Daily Paul 300 more uniformed cops with two-dozen years experience???

"... All of that stuff is being captured as we speak whether we know it or like it or not."

Don't tell me to "think"...tell this propagandist to choose his words better!!!

When he speaks like this, "to the resistance"; I suspect he'll be killed for it next week and it will be called a suicide!!!

Words MEAN things, or, maybe they don't???

They're reading my stuff here, MY NAME IS PUBLIC.....should I fear them?????

how far back in Congressman Ron Paul's career does this go? He could do nothing. To run on this as a campaign platform is likewise as absurd as running on 9/11 truth. For the DP community to pull an "OMG, everything is recorded!!!" just today, seems like....well...we're going to plug his upcoming book and get him on the Alex Jones show next week. What is the 'fruit'? Waking people up?

This stuff is repetitive, and, we're chasing our tails....meanwhile....this, that, and the other is also going on at the White House and in Congress, and at the Pentagon....what are.we doing? Fueling outrage? John Stossel has also been doing that for 30+ years....

This leads to voter apathy; it is in the "communist" plans to "destroy faith in government"....

I'm very much thinking...very much so...the people want SOLUTIONS from us, not more tattling.

Perhaps your hysterical rants will blow up their system.

Voila! A solution.

should I FEAR????

Should I FEAR ALL my phone calls are being recorded when I get in shouting matches with my neo-con buddy who loved Michael Medved's slam on us Thursday?

Should I FEAR these words I write on this forum will be read back to me at a human rights tribunal, or some kangaroo court before I get sent to a FEMA residential center??

Should I FEAR???

Just be aware and exercise caution.

That may mean different things to different people, but I don't know what to tell you beyond that...besides get a grip.

your "get a grip" dig...

...implies the founders were duped by religion, or, used religion to dupe the people....

Maybe you should get a grip on truth, and not be so arrogant that you're beyond being deceived....hmmmm?

Get a grip...as in get hold of yourself, man.

I was simply referring to your emotionally charged rambling and freaking out. I just hope you're not driving again while you're doing it.

Btw, I said absolutely nothing about religion. Not sure how you even remotely read that into my comments to you here.

I have no idea what you're rambling on about

This thread is specifically about total digital surveillance of the American public, 24/7/365.

The evidence is clear, compelling, and uncontroversial at this point.

It's only 'controversial' to the extent that the complete LACK of coverage of this by the mainstream press is only more evidence that at the highest levels - they are complicit in censoring, misdirecting, and marginalizing it the way they are with just about everything else that matters.

Only one question matters: Do you care about the truth?

Or are you more concerned with 'appearances' and how some ill defined general public of superficial, oblivious, and dense American's are going to react when confronted with it?

Ron Paul sure never held back much. Would it make any difference if Dr Paul himself were to come forward with a comprehensive statement about this (if he hasn't already)?

Do you need his rubberstamp on something to consider it plausible?

That's pretty sad. That means that you are following a cult of personality, rather than following his lead, thinking for yourself, and standing up for Truth against Tyranny no matter where it leads you.

It means you missed the entire point imo.

The rest of your post is incomprehensible to me.

Jefferson's picture


it's from Glenn Greenwald who is a pretty well respected journalist. Judge Napolitano was just talking about this subject the other day on Fox as well.

I hope you enjoyed your break.

what about our public image(Medved's slam on us)...

...and ZERO good guys(Oathkeepers etc.) in law enforcement, the FBI, CIA, NSA etc.?

These kind of things feed an attitude; a distrustful hatred....which...leads to "pre-emptive war" against us as a movement.

If we keep this up...blanket like, using words like "ALL and NEVER"...you can turn a young, new, green, immature college student who loves Dr. Paul's message (and is already being brainwashed with Godless propaganda at the universities), economically speaking(they don't want to be hopelessly broke, have their fruits of their labors stolen, rendered worthless - even the police who get paychecks in FRN's) into a violent cynic...

That is my concern....
[family out for a bit, yes, I'm tossing in my two cents...thanks for talking me out of ...]

govt is good that is why they can't tell you what they do to you

sounds like a fucking serial killer hoarding children in their basement...

sick society.. gross. ew. disgusting.. I need to spit, then go run into the woods and never come out.

A true flower can not blossom without sunlight and a true man can not live without love.

"All of that stuff is captured as we speak"

Of course it is. ALL of it.

Including everything that we type. Everything we click on. Everything we buy that is not payed for in cash.

Including this.