Glenn Greenwald on the Verizon Call Records Report

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Glenn Greenwald, columnist and blogger for The Guardian, former constitutional law and civil rights litigator, and author of With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful, discusses his reporting on the National Security Agency collecting Verizon phone records.

Comments [39]

Vic from .

George Orwell, 1984. Copyright 1949.

What is the government doing with all this metadata...?
They're mapping. And we pretend not to know what this is all about, and what, potentially, is coming to US.

Piece by piece.|.|.|. Just another nail in freedom's coffin.
What are you going to do about it?!
Just try and stop these bastard control freaks, and see how hard they kick back!
("But we're Americans...")

Our governmental control agencies will act, and do as they will_!. The confounding facade of rules and regulations is there just to keep us busy.

"If voting was really effective, it would be illegal."
(from an interview with Chris Hedges)

Jun. 07 2013 09:55 AM
Dave from New Jersey

Even if the court order does not provide access to the names of telephone subscribers but only phone numbers, there are many other ways to link a number to a name. If someone called Social Security with a question, they probably provided their number. There are numerous other databases.

Jun. 06 2013 02:29 PM
The Truth from Becky

Thanks Jim, the thing I hate about this the most is, there is no way to get "off the grid" everything is tied to your social, bank account, utilities, rats even what I am writing here...*heavy sigh*

Jun. 06 2013 12:30 PM


Almost 1M people in the US have Top Secret clearance.

Jun. 06 2013 12:11 PM
The Truth from Becky

How did Greenwald get access to this TOP SECRET document? I missed that part of the conversation. I mean how secure is the rest of the top secret information held at the gov't? There is an obvious leak.

Jun. 06 2013 12:06 PM

Penultimate (& 3 year) privacy series here
(I'm surprised WSJ didn't come up w this scoop given its sources -- perhaps Murdoch's putridity overwhelms pleasant scents...

And not sure why the US media is not addressing Dubai based "terrorist app" Seecrypt:

Jun. 06 2013 11:52 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ jgarbuz from Queens

"today's wars are against terrorist ideologies" That is nonsense. Congress can authorize the use of military force against anyone it wants, i.e. declare war on anyone they want, they simply avoid the term "war" in the post-Nuremberg legal era. The war on terror is the war to preserve American hegemony in the middle east and Asia and that is why it must go on for 20 or 30 years. 9/11 was simply a pretext for refocusing the permanent war economy and maintaining the military industrial complex when the threat from the Soviet Union disappeared. Nobody admitted to the circles of the political and corporate power elite want to see america go the way of Europe.

Jun. 06 2013 11:31 AM
oscar from ny

The reason they are connected to you is so they can monitor every move you make in your phone or computer and that's how they can hurt you...they will make you listen hear feel the worst of the worst..

Jun. 06 2013 11:16 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

It's possible to declare war against individual STATES, but impossible to declare war against an ideology or theology. Could we declare war on Communism? Could we declare war on Jihadism? Some wars cannot be officially declared, because today's wars are against terrorist ideologies.

Jun. 06 2013 11:14 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ Michael from Brooklyn

Declaring war is basically illegal post WW2. It would take a book length post to explain why that is the case but suffice to say that the AUMF, which was passed after 9/11 is legally tantamount to a declaration of war as it authorizes POTUS to use military force against Al Qaeda & affiliates.

Jun. 06 2013 11:13 AM
Michael from Brooklyn

A caller said "What about the fact that we are at war?" and this incorrect statement was not commented on during the show. America is not at war; the Constitution reserves to Congress the right to declare war and they have not done so since World War II.

Other military activity has been funded by Congress without a formal declaration of war. When we loosely say "but we are at war", we threaten the gentle balance defined in the Constitution between freedom and security, and we fail our obligation to the Constitution and ourselves.

Jun. 06 2013 11:08 AM
sophia from Brooklyn

Where's the outrage about and media coverage of CISPA??

Jun. 06 2013 11:03 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

if you want total privacy, disconnect all your phones and computers, and send smoke signals like the "Indians." Even so, the government will get the right to read your smoke signals too :)

Jun. 06 2013 11:02 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

This is the beginning of Dossier compiling ala East Germany. The computing power infrastructure isn't quite there yet but soon will be. Anyone who is 20 years or older will see the end of privacy as we know it in this country.

If you have critical views of the government or tangle with the wrong corporation you had better believe this sort of digital dossier will be made available to LE and you will be targeted.

So sit down, shut up, pay your taxes and do what you're told - it's the new American Way.

Jun. 06 2013 11:00 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Being at war has nothing to do with "how many" of our people the enemy has managed to kill. We killed many, many more Japanese and German civilians in WWII than the other way around. Hardly any US civilians were killed in WWII, so does that mean we weren't at war?

Jun. 06 2013 11:00 AM
mike from astoria

We are not at war. How many people have died through terrorism? It is a TINY amount, I am sorry but if you are worried about terrorism you have something significantly wrong with your ability to deal with reality. Yes people do hate us but we are not under seige, this is a total ruse for corporations to have more complete control over our lives, Weak people who are conned by the governments use of fear to control our lives need to step back and look at the actual numbers of American's who have died due to terrorism and compare it to the traffic deaths in NYC in one year. If you are a citizen who is not concerned with this report you are either a spineless idiot or someone who will benefit from keeping the public marching within a narrow lane of preapproved behavior.

Jun. 06 2013 10:58 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

During WWII, the government opened "snail mail" too. The fact is, we are at war with Jihadists who want to spread terror and bring down the West. And it will end when they stop doing so.

Jun. 06 2013 10:58 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

If this whistleblower is exposed, I think the American People should surround his house and protect him from armed government agents who will most certainly come to take him away.

Jun. 06 2013 10:57 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

Threatened. Never trust agents of power.

Jun. 06 2013 10:55 AM
Andy T from Bronx

That is why Microsoft brought SKYPE to bring it under US control and to give th eNSA easy access to world communications. Previously it was a Latvian company and they could not do this... so seek out communications that is trunked overseas...

Tip: open an email account on a FOREIGN server like use chrome and the instant translation function to translate the sign up from russian to english ... Let's see them get your email from Russia. I don't care if Putin reads my mail but I dont want Holder reading it.... ENCRYPT as much as you can but keep your private data OFFSHORE.

BTW Terrorists are just criminals... that's all lets stop going over board on this ....

Jun. 06 2013 10:55 AM
Joe from nearby

"War is Peace" - Big Brother (1984)

Jun. 06 2013 10:54 AM
jf from reality

The government is not afraid of terrorists. Terrorists are not a danger to anyone as compared to corporations that POISON US every day and with the car you drive. The government needs to find terrorists to use for publicity to make it seem like they are dangerous. But the people funding the politicians are the real danger. The MASS murdering corporations giving YOU heart disease,LUNG CANCER, spilling oil in YOUR backyard, filling your air with carcinogens, keeping you poor, extorting you, gouging you, and making record profits!

Jun. 06 2013 10:54 AM
Joel Hubbard from Land of the Free?

We pay both parties for this service and are taxed on them and we are not even getting kissed.

Jun. 06 2013 10:53 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

First of all, there is no "right to privacy" written into the Constitution, only freedom from "unreasonable search and seizures." What is reasonable, and what is not is up to the Supreme Court to decide. As for privacy, no such thing anymore. It ended when the telephone was invented, and certainly with the advent of the digital internet. I see nothing wrong with the telephone company opening up its records for those suspected of criminal or terrorist-related activities.

Jun. 06 2013 10:53 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Yo, there's something wrong with comparing 'terrorist' bombings and bath tub accidents, and I wish it would stop. It is NOT an apt comparison. (Maybe we need a segment exploring why...)

Jun. 06 2013 10:53 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

I love the ads for The Center for Anxiety on the WNYC page. very appropriate. LOL!

Jun. 06 2013 10:53 AM
James L from NYC

This is exactly what Mr. Orwell warned of, exactly.

Shame on Mr. Obama, he is no different in action than President Bush. Disgusting!

Can't give enough kudos to Mr. Greenwald for breaking this critically important story!

Jun. 06 2013 10:52 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

So is it go time? Which state is going to declare war on the Feds first?

Jun. 06 2013 10:51 AM
thatgirl from manhattan

Sheldon - Thank you! This has been allowed under the Patriot Act from the moment it was enacted.

How is this any different than what's taken place under that act? Nothing new under the sun.

Jun. 06 2013 10:51 AM

To the woman who just called in, anything is possible at any moment in time. Should we blindly give up our privacy because of the inescapable realities of life?!

Jun. 06 2013 10:51 AM

SKYPE -- secure?

Jun. 06 2013 10:50 AM

We are not in a declared war!

Jun. 06 2013 10:49 AM
Eric from Manhattan.

Well now they don't need to ask reporters to reveal sources... they have the data to figure it out themselves.

Jun. 06 2013 10:47 AM

I’m a Verizon customer and I have noticed that when installing many apps and app updates, under the App Permissions/Hardware Controls, I’m being asked to allow the app to take photographs and videos and/or make audio recordings without the owner’s control. Am I reading this wrong or being paranoid? Why would an app ever need to take a photograph without my knowing it was taking it? Seems odd. (No, I don’t allow it or install those apps.)

Thanks for your terrific show!

Karen Baker

Jun. 06 2013 10:43 AM
Sheldon from

Well said hjs. Congress and the previous President, signed away our rights to privacy with the aptly named Patriot Act. Why is this a shocker?

Jun. 06 2013 10:43 AM

Is this new? I thought congress gave the power to the president to read everyone's email after sept 11.
Did I misunderstand the history?

Jun. 06 2013 10:38 AM
Bob from Westchester

On this morning's Takeaway broadcast on WNYC, John Hockenberry kept referring to this as the "warrantless wiretap" policy. Since the story is based on obtaining a copy of a warrant, and specifically says that there was no listening to, or recording of, or other capture of content of the communications, this labeling seems doubly incorrect. Please do what you do best on this show - focus on the actual facts (which are serious enough) and tamp down the knee-jerk hysteria being enjoyed on other shows.

Also, the Guardian and NY Times stories indicated this particular warrant covers only "Verizon Business" accounts. Could your guest explain what this means as to the extent of the action? (e.g., does it cover Verizon home phone landlines? Verizon Wireless personal cell phones? internet calls using FIOS?)

Jun. 06 2013 10:32 AM

PS -- Good job and thank you to Glenn and the Guardian!

Jun. 06 2013 10:15 AM

1. AP would have gotten this scoop but Obama was busy checking its redials.

2. With the proliferation of "secure" communications (isn't blackberry? and what about the "secure" skype and messaging services out there?) , what terrorist worth his weight in, well, whatever, is using verizon? Is their triple play that irresistible?

3. Verizon is a German hybrid ( ) -- what role if any does its status as a part foreign-owned company in a tenuous position play when it is deciding whether to stand up for customers' privacy in the face of government requests -- as Verizon competitors so often do?

4. Does this apply to all Verizon companies (cell, land, data, etc.)? What about non-Verizon companies?

5. Does Verizon's laying down for the US government strengthen or weaken the old argument that the US-based telecoms currently make that foreign companies should not be allowed to compete in the US market "for reasons of national security?" Many Americans would be eager to receive much faster, better and cheaper phone and cell and data service regardless of who provided it. If Germany can invade the market, why not China?

Jun. 06 2013 10:14 AM

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