Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – Now we have this revelation today. Actually, this is two days ago. The National Security Agency now has the ability — folks, I just want you to think about this for just a moment. Just ponder this. Just pretend for a moment that you’re reading this in a Tom Clancy novel, that it’s not actually happening. It’s happening in the world of fiction, in other words. You’re reading it in a Clancy novel. Or this is so technologically advanced you may be reading it in a Michael Crichton of Jurassic Park fame novel. Check out today’s transcript for the rest…
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: Initial release of documents and info last June when Snowden’s documents first started coming out, and then there was the testimony in front of Congress when Ron Wyden, the senator, asked James Clapper a direct question [mocking] “. . . whether or not you’re gathering in some way, shape or form information on the communications of millions of Americans.” Clapper said: No, not to my knowledge, we wouldn’t do that. Of course, he lied. Then afterwards we were told, [mocking] “It’s just metadata. You guys need to shut up. We’re trying to save you from madmen. Just surrender your silly little data and go on your way, peasant.” Then we were told after that, [mocking] “Well, maybe there’s some other kind of data, but there’s nothing to see here. Move along. Citizen, you will obey your federal overlord and move along.” Then we were told: Wait a minute, look at what they’re doing to foreigners. They’re eavesdropping on and cataloguing all manner of info and communications on foreigners. [mocking] “Yeah, but that doesn’t apply to you guys. That’s not happening to you, unless you just happen to be one of the people that’s on the call to a foreign country yet to be determined.”
Now we have this revelation today. Actually, this is two days ago. The National Security Agency now has the ability — folks, I just want you to think about this for just a moment. Just ponder this. Just pretend for a moment that you’re reading this in a Tom Clancy novel, that it’s not actually happening. It’s happening in the world of fiction, in other words. You’re reading it in a Clancy novel. Or this is so technologically advanced you may be reading it in a Michael Crichton of Jurassic Park fame novel. Just pretend this is fiction for a moment and you learn that the government of the United States has the capability — even though it hasn’t admitted it — to be able to intercept and then record and store every phone call that is originating from inside five countries of the world. We don’t know what five countries they are, but I can guess, and so can you, as to which five countries we are stockpiling the phone calls of.
You’re reading this in a fiction novel. What do you think about it now? That’s a pretty good setup for one of those villain plots where a guy who is a villain in a James Bond movie, one of the guys that wants to take over the world, from the Superman series, a Lex Luthor. Doesn’t it sound like something Lex Luthor would do? If we take the reality of what it is that the tinhorn dictator, wannabe tyrants that want to rule the world in Mordor on the Potomac River or from Mordor, what it is they’re doing, and we convert it into fiction, it’s entertaining if nothing else, isn’t it? I don’t even think that Lex Luthor, the famed arch villain from the Superman comic book series — of course, Lex Luthor was played by Gene Hackman in a few of the Superman films in the 1980s. In the first Superman movie that Nolan did, Lex Luthor was in that one. Do you remember who played Lex Luthor?
Eric: He was not in the first one that Nolan did. He’ll be in the second one.
Mike: I thought he was the one that did the real estate deal that was popping the islands up off the coast of Manhattan.
Eric: No, that’s no Nolan. That was the Superman before that. That was actually Kevin Spacey from House of Cards.
Mike: But he was Lex Luthor, right?
Eric: Yes, he was Lex Luthor, but the first one that Nolan did he was not in. The second one he will be in. I believe he will be played by Jesse Eisenberg.
Mike: Facebook Jesse Eisenberg?
Mike: Wait a minute, wait a minute. I’ve got a great Jesse Eisenberg moment for you: What is this? What are we doing here? Who in the hell is BM? Bill f’ing Murray. Name that movie.
Mike: There you go. Obviously you’re a fan of the genre. Do you think that Lex Luthor can concoct this plan to record the telephone conversations of five countries on Earth for 30 days at a time and then play them back at his personal leisure?
Eric: I don’t know if time travel is in Lex Luthor’s holster. That’s crazy what they can do. These five countries, maybe they’re five countries that don’t have a lot of phone calls overall, so maybe that’s why they can do every phone call.
Mike: No, no, no. I’m thinking substantial parts of Russia. Imagine who it is that our exalted and mystic rulers and leaders inside our holy and sacred city of Washington, who it is that they’re always training and pointing their guns at: Russia, China, Syria. I would imagine probably the krauts, the Germans, just so they can keep tabs on them. You’re right about North Korea. There aren’t a lot of calls there because —
Eric: I don’t even think there are any phones, are there?
Mike: They have the phones like they used to have in the old television show Green Acres. You’d climb to the top of the telephone pole like Mr. Douglas used to do and you bring your box with you and crank it up and stick the receiver up there with an alligator clip on the proper terminal so you can make the telephone connection to the operator on the other end. Folks, if you’ve gone through the exercise here and imagined the story that I just laid out for you, and you just imagined it as a work of fiction, it’s pretty magnificent, isn’t it? It’s also pretty fantastical. Now we know at least a little bit as to why that massive data center that’s being built in the middle of the Utah hinterlands, now we know a little bit more about what it is that’s going to be stored there.
I’ve laid out a couple of thought exercises for you, and I went through the same ones this morning. It’s not as though I haven’t done these things. My next stop on the thought exercise is: If Snowden has released documents saying this is being done to five particular countries and we don’t know which five they are — as a matter of fact, who broke the story? I think the Washington Post. The Post was asked by the White House to not divulge who the five countries are, to keep them guessing. The people that wrote the story at the Washington Compost know who the five countries are. If I’m Barton Gellman or Ashkan Soltani, I might want to find me a safe house somewhere.
The next part of the exercise is, we know this about your phone tapping ability, what we just talked about. Why should I not think that these Cretans are not doing this in selected areas, if not in all areas or with selected carriers, in the United States? Why wouldn’t you? It would seem to me it would probably be easier to do, not more difficult. You don’t have to cross international boundary lines. You don’t have to go transatlantic. You don’t have to beam stuff up to satellites. You don’t have to farm it out and gather it in a remote location and then retrieve the data. You would have most of it here domestically. Why would anyone think that this isn’t happening to the rest of us? Remember, we were told: No, we’re not spying on you. We’re not recording any calls. We would never do that. I believe the story is going to unfold that that is not the case.
At every turn in the saga of the National Security Agency, we find that one lie and one layer of the onion that is peeled back reveals, oh, my, there’s a whole onion that’s still under there. The question in my mind is: Just how detailed and how large is it necessary for this agency or any agency like it to become with vast extensive powers in order to fulfill, I guess, what its mission is, which is to “protect the American people”? Is there no security privacy bridge that is un-crossable to perform the task at hand? I would think that there would be. If you’re going to go to the extreme lengths that we already know they have gone to or are willing to go to and have been ordered to go to — if you read the story that Glenn Greenwald wrote about this, there are a couple instances in the story where some people that are working inside the White House defense, the president’s council of defense advisors, or whatever that group of people is called, were encouraging Obama: Maybe you ought to back off on this. Obama ignored their advice on two separate occasions.
Here’s the headline from the Washington Compost, “NSA surveillance program reaches ‘into the past’ to retrieve, replay phone calls.” Again, my question is: Is there anything left, other than maybe snail mail, Morse code, or smoke signals that these guys have not laid their greasy, greaseball little fingers on?
End Mike Church Show Transcript