Journalist Raymond Bonner on How Telecommunications Company Helped Government Spy On Him

Not-SpyingJournalist Raymond Bonner has good reason to doubt the government’s reassurances that only terrorists need worry about its snooping powers.

Via ProPublica:

In 2004, my telephone records as well as those of another New York Times reporter and two reporters from the Washington Post, were obtained by federal agents assigned to investigate a leak of classified information. What happened next says a lot about what happens when the government’s privacy protections collide with the day-to-day realities of global surveillance.

The story begins in 2003 when I wrote an article about the killing of two American teachers in West Papua, a remote region of Indonesia where Freeport-McMoRan operates one of the world’s largest copper and gold mines. The Indonesian government and Freeport blamed the killings on a separatist group, the Free Papua Movement, which had been fighting a low-level guerrilla war for several decades.

I opened my article with this sentence: “Bush Administration officials have determined that Indonesian soldiers carried out a deadly ambush that killed two American teachers.”

I also reported that two FBI agents had travelled to Indonesia to assist in the inquiry and quoted a “senior administration official” as saying there “was no question there was a military involvement.’’

The story prompted a leak investigation. The FBI sought to obtain my phone records and those of Jane Perlez, the Times bureau chief in Indonesia and my wife. They also went after the records of the Washington Post reporters in Indonesia who had published the first reports about the Indonesian government’s involvement in the killings.

As part of its investigation, the FBI asked for help from what is described in a subsequent government report as an “on-site communications service” provider. The report, by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General, offers only the vaguest description of this key player, calling it “Company A.’’

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  • InfvoCuernos

    So the feds us “exigent letters” to bypass warrants and subpoenas for “metadata”. If you are using a phone under the impression that it is safe, you are living in a dreamworld that probably never really existed. I’d be more worried about that note at the end that said -we didn’t tell the reporter about…-that would drive me nuts, which might have been the intention. What’s really crazy is that the original article doesn’t even seem to be anything derogatory to the US Govt, just their response to it. Looks like the reporter got a “red pill” moment.

  • BuzzCoastin

    a democratic republic that has secret laws

    is a secret democracy

    • Jin The Ninja

      or simply, a successful republic.

      • BuzzCoastin

        like the Roman Republic
        Der Homeland has fallen into a dictatorship of elites
        but with not even a hint of the magnanimity of the Antonines
        just Caligula all the way down

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