A former FBI counterterrorism agent acknowledged this week on CNN that every telephone conversation that takes place on American soil “is being captured as we speak.”
Tim Clemente’s spontaneous admission was made on the CNN show “Erin Burnett OutFront” on Wednesday in a discussion about phone calls between Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his 24-year-old wife, Katherine Russell.
The revelation came when Burnett asked whether investigators could gain access to the calls in the event Russell refuses to talk about them.
Here is the exchange between Clemente and Burnett:
BURNETT: Tim, is there any way, obviously, there is a voice mail they can try to get the phone companies to give that up at this point. It’s not a voice mail. It’s just a conversation. There’s no way they actually can find out what happened, right, unless she tells them?
CLEMENTE: “No, there is a way. We certainly have ways in national security investigations to find out exactly what was said in that conversation.
BURNETT: “So they can actually get that? People are saying, look, that is incredible.
CLEMENTE: “No, welcome to America. All of that stuff is being captured as we speak whether we know it or like it or not”
As civil rights lawyer and national security writer Glenn Greenwald commented in The Guardian on Saturday, by “All of that stuff,” Clemente means that “every telephone conversation Americans have with one another on US soil, with or without a search warrant ‘is being captured as we speak.’ ”
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