NSA listened to your calls, will now send you spam text messages.

alerttogglesThe President insisted to the unwashed masses last week that, despite what you incorrectly heard from third hand news sources, the NSA was not actually wiretapping phones and listening to your boring conversations, and at the time, he was right. The concern wasn’t so much that the NSA was wasting government’s precious time and money, that they are so stingy and efficient with elsewhere, recording how many times you sext your boyfriend on any given Tuesday as they were collecting your cell phone metadata into a massive database in the Utah desert so that they could track your whereabouts if and when you snapped and tried to blow up half of a major city with a bomb in your bra.

At least, that was the concern. Now, in closed door Congressional hearings, the NSA seems to have admitted that yes, the might not have had a warrant to do it, but they miiiiiight have listened in on a few random cellphone calls. Aaaaaaand, they don’t think they need a court to sign off on them doing it again. Aaaaaaaaand the decision to listen to your phone calls will be made by an analyst who probably drinks his coffee out of an NCIS mug. Not the department. The CBS show. Because he’s badass.

The National Security Agency has acknowledged in a new classified briefing that it does not need court authorization to listen to domestic phone calls, a participant said.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, disclosed on Thursday that during a secret briefing to members of Congress, he was told that the contents of a phone call could be accessed “simply based on an analyst deciding that.”

If the NSA wants “to listen to the phone,” an analyst’s decision is sufficient, without any other legal authorization required, Nadler said he learned. “I was rather startled,” said Nadler, an attorney and congressman who serves on the House Judiciary committee.

Not only does this disclosure shed more light on how the NSA’s formidable eavesdropping apparatus works domestically, it also suggests the Justice Department has secretly interpreted federal surveillance law to permit thousands of low-ranking analysts to eavesdrop on phone calls.

It makes you wonder if Eric Holder rehearses his day in front of a mirror before breakfast. Like, “today, you’re going to take the bull by the horns, Eric. Today, you’re gonna tap a phone. And goddamit, Eric, you’re gonna answer to no one.”

The good news is, of course, there is at least one line of defense between you and the bony claws of justice. The bad news is, that line of defense appears to be of the same caliber as Edward Snowden, who, if you recall, noted that he could pretty much wiretap any phone in the country from his Hawaiian island hideaway. Which sheds a little bit more light on how Snowden might have come into contact with the PRISM program: because we hire people like him to make the important…ahem…calls.

The bad news is, of course, that this piece of information seems to tie everything together, from the AP wiretapping to the Fox News reporter who lost his emails to his parents in a blackhole of government investigation. But fear not, America, it’s not like the government is injecting itself into your cell phones via a new mandatory emergency alert program that will spam text you whenever the government feels it needs to inform you of imminent danger or something.

Modern smartphones have the ability to display emergency alerts pushed out by government agencies. These include notifications about dangerous weather, unsafe situations or Amber Alerts for missing children and seniors. Carriers must enable the features on specific phones and until today, iPhone users on AT&T were not invited to the party.

Now, AT&T is pushing out an update that enables governmental and Amber alerts on iPhone 4S and 5 phones runing iOS 6.1 or later. When the update comes, you’ll see a notification on your iPhone’s screen that reads:

Carrier Settings Updated
New settings required for your device have been installed.

Your only option is an OK button – this is not an update you can decline.

You can, however, turn off most of the updates if you prefer not to see them. Go into Settings > Notifications and scroll to the bottom. You’ll see separate toggles for Government and Amber alerts.

Those motherf***ers.

Note: the latter part of this post is clearly conspiratorial. But at this point, nothing’s off the table. I’d even be willing to believe the new Kardashian baby is a robotic plant that will one day rise to rule the bedraggled survivors of the zombie apocalypse – those who failed to heed the government’s text message warnings, that is.

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