(Update: Audio recordings of the Cass County Commission meetings are available through the County Clerk’s office.)
A FB friend posted a link to the column in the UK Guardian about Verizon being ordered to send customer call data to the NSA. I saw a copy of what was purported to be the court order last night. It was four pages and was, to the best of my memory, identical to the one all communication carriers received around 2003 after the Patriot Act was passed.
The order we received back then was a preparatory order to allow the carriers time to put in place methods to retrieve Call Detail Records (CDRs) when requested by the FedGov. My area of the company created CDRs for specialty call centers used to help the deaf and hard-of-hearing communicate with hearing folks. The call centers were used for mundane things such as ordering pizza, making appointments, etc.
The processes we added were basically search engines. When we were given a telephone number and other criteria, such as receiving an international call or making one, making a call to, receiving a call from a specific number, we would extract the CDR for those calls and send them on to our legal department who interacted with the appropriate FedGov department.
In the following years, I can remember being requested to provide CDRs twice. In both cases, I was told, one of the parties were being investigated for some criminal act. I never really knew the details.
The bottom line is that we were never ordered to send Call Detail Records en mass, without some filtering, and then only for specific numbers. The supposed court order I read last night seemed to be worded the same as the one I read back around 2003.
That call detail records for specific numbers are being sent to the FedGov under court order is a fact. It’s governed by FISA, as amended in 2008. However, in this era of pseudo-journalism, is this “new” report, a change? That’s the real question.
We see so many reports today on Facebook and other social media sites, from various news websites and many stretch credibility. Many, very many, are subsequently proven to be false, complete fiction. However, the initial report frequently becomes viral, spreading throughout the internet. Everyone sees it. Few, however, never see the followup that proves the initial report false. Many who read the first report and pass it on, unfortunately, never send the correction—nor care, if it is contrary to their ideology.
When I see reports such as these, I try to perform my own due diligence. I read several reports on the subject, read, if possible, the original source documents and do my best to evaluate the validity of the report. I often find the initial report to be true. Just as often, unfortunately, I find the original report to be questionable or false.
This particular report about Verizon, has not, yet, passed my smell test. Without further confirmation, it stinks a bit. Why? The supposed order I read on the internet (link to it above,) has no date other than an expiration date in the body of the text. It appears to be a photo-copy. It has no classification stamps as I would expect and the document itself declares.
When I still had access to classified documents, every page was stamped, not just the cover-sheet. Classified documents had a specific form and format. If the copy being shown on the internet is a true photocopy, I would expect to see classification stamps on every page. That, and some other indicators, make me doubt its authenticity. It may be incomplete, or have been altered. I don’t know.
You, however, must decide on your own. Me? I’m waiting for more information. What I’ve seen so far, is lacking credibility.